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Hunters Saved as Snowstorm Kills 5, Strands Hundreds

November 10, 1986|From Associated Press

Road crews worked to clear highways and searchers rescued missing deer hunters Sunday after the northern Plains' first major snowstorm of the season stranded hundreds of travelers and killed at least five people.

The storm moved into Canada after spreading wind-blown snow and low temperatures from the northern Rockies to the Great Lakes.

A stretch of Interstate 29 south of Drayton, N.D., remained closed, and a state highway near Eagle Butte, S.D., was still blocked by drifts.

Parts of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior had up to four inches of snow. Gusts of snow made driving difficult and formed foot-deep drifts a day after Michigan basked in unseasonably warm temperatures in the 60s.

25 Inches in N. Dakota

The heaviest snow was in North Dakota, with 25 inches at Devils Lake. Bismarck got 18 inches, a record for any November storm but short of the 22-inch single-storm record set in March, 1966. Earlier, Red Lodge, Mont., got 21 inches.

November snowstorms are not unusual in North Dakota, "but this is a bit much," said National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Van Ess.

Wind gusted to 65 m.p.h. at Grand Forks, N.D., and police in Minot reported snowdrifts up to five feet high.

A gust to 66 m.p.h. was recorded at Minneapolis-St. Paul, and trees and utility poles toppled, cutting power to more than 6,000 customers around the cities. About 1,500 remained without power late Sunday afternoon, Northern States Power Co. spokesman Sam Macalus said.

It was also the first weekend of deer hunting season in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

On Sunday, rescuers set out in search of four hunters reported missing during the storm in northeastern Minnesota and found them all, said Sgt. Tom Pearson of the St. Louis County sheriff's office. Five others were found earlier.

Teen-Ager Found

The last one found was a 15-year-old boy reported missing 15 miles north of Duluth, he said.

"Once he knew he was lost, he apparently gathered up some pine boughs and covered up and waited for the duration," Pearson said. The boy was uninjured.

Three hunters were rescued Saturday night and Sunday in northwest Minnesota, the Marshall County sheriff's office said.

Temperatures dropped to 14 degrees overnight in the Duluth area, with a wind chill of 25 to 35 degrees below zero.

Hundreds of people were stranded in cars on Interstates 94 and 29 in North Dakota, but most got rides to shelter, said Lyle Gallagher, director of state radio communications.

Two Minot deer hunters stranded for 38 hours in their vehicle 13 miles north of Towner were rescued.

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