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First winter storm of season heading for southwest North Dakota

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A slow-moving weather system moving out of the Rockies could dump up to 10 inches of snow on the southwest corner of North Dakota, the National Weather Service said.

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The large upper-level system is slowly moving north-east out of the central Rockies, carrying a lot of cold air and moisture, said Rich Leblang, meteorologist at the weather service in Bismarck.

Seven counties in southwest North Dakota - Stark, Billings, Bowman, Adams, Golden Valley, Hettinger and Slope - are in a winter storm watch. Snow could hit the area as early as just after midnight, Leblang said.

"They could get anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of snow," he said, adding that because the ground is still warm, "it may not pile up quite that deep."

The state's pheasant hunting season opens Saturday. The counties in the winter storm watch are among the state's most popular destinations for hunters.

If the storm materializes, the snowfall isn't expected to extend east of Bismarck, he said. Central and eastern North Dakota will probably see rain from the system.

The Red River Valley has a "real good chance" of rain during the day Friday through Sunday, he said.

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