Dangerous mix: Vehicles face risk of sliding into waterlogged ditches as snowstorm threatens flooded areas
FARGO - Snow-covered roads and poor visibility combined with flooded roadside ditches could create hazardous driving conditions during today's expected storm, WDAY-TV chief meteorologist John Wheeler said.
Wheeler predicted the storm would dump 1 to 4 inches of snow on Fargo and up to 8 inches or more on areas just west of the Red River Valley.
"Cars could slide off the road into floodwater," he said. "Personally, I would not travel during these conditions because of the danger."
The National Weather Service warned of another danger from the storm: wind speeds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph or higher that could whip up waves and erode levees holding back floodwaters.
"It's a pretty wound-up type storm," weather service meteorologist Bill Barrett said.
Most of the precipitation is expected to fall as snow, Wheeler said. Dry, easterly winds will act as a cold front, producing heavy snow west of the valley and a sharp cutoff to the east where snowfall will be delayed and limited, he said, predicting light snow amounts east of Moorhead.
If Fargo receives more than 5.4 inches of snow, it would make this the second-snowiest season on record. As of Thursday, the city had received 83.7 inches this season, the third-highest total on record behind 89.1 inches in 1993-94 and 117 inches in 1996-97.
A winter weather advisory for snowfall was in effect from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. today for Cass, Griggs, Richland and Steele counties in North Dakota. Snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches are possible, the weather service said.
Where there's no overland flooding, travel conditions shouldn't be bad except for slushy spots in roads, Wheeler said.
With highs forecast around 40 degrees this weekend, the wet snow will probably stick around for only a day in light snowfall areas and two to three days in heavy snowfall areas, Barrett said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528