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Published February 19, 2013, 05:58 AM

Alerus Center Opened As Emergency Storm Shelter

More than 200 people found refuge at the Alerus Center Monday night as a result of a blizzard that stranded motorists in Grand Forks.

The City of Grand Forks opened the Alerus Center at 9 p.m. on Monday, February 18, 2013 after I-29 was closed north to the Canadian border, Highway 2 was closed east to Crookston, MN and travel became impossible.

The American Red Cross provided cots, blankets and meals for 226 people, who were housed in the arena locker rooms on the west side of the building. Monday was both an American and a Canadian holiday, so most local hotels were already fully booked.

“Everyone worked together to make this happen on very short notice,” said Grand Forks

Mayor Michael Brown. “This is a perfect example of partnerships in action. We had a need – and thanks to the efforts of the Grand Forks Police Department, the 911 Center, the Emergency Operations Center, the Alerus Center, the Public Works Department and the American Red Cross – we responded effectively and efficiently.”

The stranded travelers included many aboard a tour bus and also a plane that was able to land last night at the Grand Forks airport.

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