Heavy snow and howling winds
FARGO – Forecasters are confident we’ll see two things today: heavy snow and howling winds.
A major storm is predicted to sock the Red River Valley, bringing 10 to 20 inches of snow and 30 to 40 mph winds, with gusts over 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
Meteorologist Jim Kaiser said the Fargo-Moorhead area could initially see rain late Sunday and early today. “But you should quickly transition to snow mid-morning,” he said.
The heaviest flakes, possibly 1 to 2 inches per hour, could start falling in the late morning or early afternoon, and the snowfall could persist into the night.
“If the warm air hangs on and it rains more, then you’ll see less snow, obviously,” Kaiser said. “But it looks like the warm air is going to be farther south of Fargo.”
As the snow starts to fall, northerly winds will likely become more potent and create blizzard conditions that will make traveling dangerous. Air temperatures today will be in the 20s, and the wind chill could dip below zero by this evening, according to the weather service.
“This will be a high impact storm, and has the potential for road closures and life threatening conditions if stranded,” the weather service said in a statement.
As of Sunday evening, blizzard warnings had been issued for a swath of North Dakota that stretched from the southwest corner to the northeast, including Cass County. In Minnesota, such warnings were in effect for all of Clay, Norman and Kittson counties and the western halves of Polk and Marshall counties.
Forecasters said that from Valley City, N.D., to Bemidji, Minn., and points north should see only snow from this storm. To the south, snowfall totals will depend on when the rain switches to snow. Five to 10 inches are likely in southeast North Dakota, along with lower accumulations in west-central Minnesota, the weather service said.
To avoid losses of animals, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture urged ranchers to move their livestock into sheltered areas with sufficient food and water.
“This is a particularly difficult time for producers with calving well underway,” state veterinarian Susan Keller said. “Making sure these animals – especially the calves – are sheltered is an absolute priority.”