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North Dakota coping with heat emergency

Jan. 29, 2014 at 6:50 AM

BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he lifted restrictions on retail distribution of heating fuel to address regional hardships.

Dalrymple said drivers of commercial vehicles used to deliver heating fuel, including propane, can stay on the road longer to help address fuel distribution issues.

"A shortage of propane and recent price spikes are creating a serious hardship on North Dakota residents when they need reliable supplies the most," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Last weekend, Xcel Energy, one of the region's top utility service providers, called on residents to turn down the heat in their homes to cope with the shortage of natural gas supplies following a pipeline explosion in Manitoba, Canada.

Dalrymple said Sunday the state was "fully committed" to keep North Dakota residents safe during the heat emergency.

The governor declared a state of emergency Jan. 7 because of a shortage of heating fuel.

Heavy snowfall and high winds prompted state officials to close parts of the North Dakota highway system. Accuweather.com reported January temperatures in Bismark ranging from a low of minus-1 Fahrenheit to the low 40s. Wednesday's high is 25 degrees, though Thursday's temperature should dip into the single digits.

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