The ND State Capitol is barely visible as the latest winter storm wallops most the state.

Bismarck — Governor Doug Burgum announced today that North Dakota is officially closed due to the winter storm impacting the state. The storm could drop anywhere from a trace to 72 inches of snow, prompting emergency officials to ask the Governor to close the entire state.

“We want everyone to stay home, stay safe, and stay warm so North Dakota is closed for business today. We shut everything down,” says Governor Burgum. “Our only exception to that is public schools. Schools and buses will be 1-hour late throughout the state. Our young people are the future and we can’t afford for them to miss a single day, no matter the weather.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler says her office is monitoring the weather and will notify the public of any school weather notices.

“Typically our policy is, if you can get to your mailbox, you can get your child to school,” says Baesler. “We are monitoring the situation and if it does get bad enough outside, we may have a two-hour delay tomorrow. But our two-hour delay policy is typically reserved for tornado warnings and earthquakes, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Area schools remained open despite the winter storm.

Many residents took to social media voicing their opinion over the school closure policy.

“It’s not right. The forecast says if you go outside, you’ll probably die. If that’s not an indicator that schools should be closed, I don’t know what is,” says area woman Jennifer Flakes.

However, some locals agreed with the decision.

“Not only did I walk uphill both ways to school with 36 inches of snow on the ground, I also carried my siblings on my back,” says John Klutz. “Kids these days are too soft.”

Flickertail Times Chief Meterologist Al Porker says the snowstorm has been unpredictable and difficult to track.

“Latest storm forecasts show anything from a trace to 72 inches of snow and the European Model shows up to 90 inches,” says Porker. “It’s probably for the best if we just keep the state closed until next week.”

Latest forecast models indicate a strong chance of snow for much of North Dakota. Some areas could receive heavier amounts than others.

As the storm approached North Dakota, many people stocked up on supplies. Store shelves were emptied across the state prompting a few stores to close.

“It’s like people here have never seen a snowflake,” says area grocery store manager Jared Danners. “The police were called in yesterday after three people got into a fist fight over a loaf of bread. Making matters worse, we ran out of milk an hour after opening on Sunday, so we’ve got some cows hooked up to pumps in the back replenishing our stock.”

Conditions are expected to rapidly deteriorate as the storm continues. All flights, inbound and out, have been canceled in North Dakota while road conditions remain hazardous.

“If you’re here, you’re not leaving,” says State Tourism Winter Storm Observer Michael Frost. “And even if you want to leave, we’re not letting you. These blizzards are always a boost to our economy and population. So we’ve shut down all flights and we’re looking at closing all major roads and highways. So since you’re here, you may as well get comfortable and maybe even think about applying for a job – we’ve got thousands to choose from.”

Frost says those who are stuck inside should download the latest copy of the North Dakota Cabin Fever Guidebook, which offers dozens of tips on what to do during the state’s long winter months and frequent winter storms.

“There’s a lot a person can do inside, like games, puzzles, movies, baking — you name it. Our tip guide has it all,” says Frost. “But we would like to remind everyone that we did see a dip in our population last year, so if you’re really bored while you and your significant other are stuck indoors, now is a great time to think about boosting those population numbers up. We could use a few more kids in our state and with the blizzard here, opportunity is knocking.”

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