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Worst of winter storm misses Grand Forks

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Worst of winter storm misses Grand Forks
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

GRAND FORKS - Mother Nature brought heavy snow to much of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota Tuesday, but Grand Forks missed the worst of it.

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The city only received about 1 inch of snow with a moisture content of 0.08 inches during the day. Another 1 inch was expected overnight.

Dave Kellenbenz, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, said several areas in the southern Red River Valley saw more than a foot of snowfall from the system. Wahpeton, N.D., reported 18 inches, and just across the river, Breckinridge, Minn., reported 20 inches of snow.

Fargo's heavy snowfall had a moisture equivalent of almost 1 inch, with 10.3 inches of snow by this evening. "That is a lot more than normal," he said.

The precipitation in Fargo possibly set a record for the date, Kellenbenz said, and the city has broken its March snowfall and precipitation records. Exact totals are not yet available.

Cities in north central Minnesota also had a lot of new snow to shovel. Wadena and Frazee both recorded 14 inches, and 1 foot of snow fell north of Park Rapids.

Week ahead

The Grand Forks region was in a winter-weather advisory Tuesday night. Kellenbenz said the heaviest band of snow shifted into the Devils Lake region, where as much as 3 inches is expected today.

Heavier bands also are predicted to impact areas in a northeast line from Valley City, N.D., to Hallock, Minn. Between 1 and 3 inches of snow was expected by today in these areas.

Winds over 20 mph would usually lead to low visibility because of blowing snow, but that won't be as much of a worry this week. "The snow is so heavy and wet it's not blowing around too much," he said.

But as temperatures drop below freezing at night, much of the region could become dangerously icy.

Forecasters had been concerned about another storm system that was on track to get to the region by this weekend, but Kellenbenz said that system is going to move south. For now, the Red River Valley doesn't have any expected major storms in the near future.

The storm that produced heavy precipitation this week should move out of the region by tonight. Some "leftover flurries" could still happen in isolated areas during the night.

Today, the high will near the freezing point in Grand Forks before cooling down to 21 degrees at night. Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a high of 33 degrees and a low near 18 degrees.

Friday is expected to be slightly warmer, and by Saturday the city could break 40 degrees. Even if the temperatures are colder than average for this time of year, Kellenbenz said highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s at night are "ideal melt conditions" because it doesn't thaw the snowpack too quickly.

"That's always good for the flood fighting and other potential rises that may occur," he said.

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