Double-punch storms expected to bring near blizzard conditions to Fargo later this week
Near blizzard-like conditions are expected later this week across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota as a double dose of winter storms move into the region.
The double punch of winter will bring significant snowfall, with 4 to 6 inches falling Thursday in Fargo, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
After a brief respite Friday morning, a second round of snow is expected to arrive Friday afternoon.
Geoffrey Grochocinski, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the second storm also will bring a significant snow accumulation but totals are difficult to predict until the storm draws closer to the region.
Both storms will bring "near blizzard-like conditions," with snow and winds between 20 to 35 mph, he said.
"This is going to create a lot of trouble for people who were expecting to travel New Year's Eve," Grochocinski said.
One concern forecasters have now is the lull between the storms, expected Friday morning, may leave people, especially travelers, believing the storm has passed, he said.
The second major storm is expected to move into the region Friday and extend into New Year's Day.
The national weather service predicts snow to begin in the Devils Lake basin on Wednesday night, spreading east on Thursday.
"Some freezing rain may mix in with the snow in the southern Red River Valley into west central Minnesota on Thursday," the weather service said in a statement on its website.
The second storm also will bring much colder air, with wind chills dropping to minus-35 across the Red River Valley.
Currently, the weather service has issued a winter storm watch, but Grochocinski said forecasters are monitoring conditions closely to determine whether to issue a winter storm warning.
So far this year, Fargo has received 17.2 inches of snow this December, 17.6 inches in November and 1 inch in October.
The snowfall totals for November and December place within the top 10 totals on record for Fargo.
The November total of 17.6 inches places eighth all-time and marks the most since 1996, when Fargo received 26.4 inches of snow.
The city's total for December places 10th on the all-time list, marking the fourth consecutive year Fargo's snowfall for the month has made it into the top 10.