WEATHER: Blizzard on the wayThe main thrust of Blizzard Coyote, forecast to hit the region today, will go to the south and east of Grand Forks, said Dan Riddle, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
The main thrust of Blizzard Coyote, forecast to hit the region today, will go to the south and east of Grand Forks, said Dan Riddle, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
But the entire region will feel the effects of the blizzard from late this morning until about midnight, Riddle said late Monday night.
The best computer models late Monday were showing that Grand Forks will be on the north and west edge of the blizzard action today, said Riddle, a meteorologist in the weather service office on UND’s campus.
Things were bad enough Monday before the blizzard, with 2 to 7 inches of snow falling and blowing around, causing some road closings and officials to advise no travel across much of the greater Red River Valley. Many events were canceled, and many schools canceled all classes and activities for today.
Snow totals Monday ranged from very little northwest of Grand Forks to 2.4 inches at UND, 7.5 inches reported by a weather service volunteer near Red Lake Falls, Minn., 7 inches between Crookston and Fertile, Minn., and about 6 inches near Mayville, N.D.
Once the blizzard starts firing up late this morning, the main band of snow is expected to run from about Lisbon, N.D., southeast of Fargo, through Fargo, Fosston, Minn., Red Lake Falls and Bemidji, Riddle said. The snowfall today in that band could be 8 to 12 inches.
A line farther north and west, running from about Cooperstown, N.D., through Finley, N.D., Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, more likely will drop something more along the lines of 2 to 4 inches, — significantly less than in Mayville and Fargo, Riddle said.
North and west of Grand Forks, into the Devils Lake basin and north, might get very little snow today, he said.
But winds of 25 to 35 mph out of the north will sweep across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, combining with temperatures never above zero today and well below zero tonight, making travel conditions dangerous.
Travel wasn’t good Monday across much of the region. About 7 p.m. Monday, the North Dakota Highway Patrol closed Interstate 94 from Fargo to Jamestown, N.D. Travel was not advised Monday night on I-29 from Fargo to Buxton, N.D. Travel was not advised on many roads in the region as well.
A Traill County dispatcher in Hillsboro, N.D., said Monday night few people were braving the difficult driving conditions.
About 7 p.m. Monday, the weather service reported that a narrow band of moderate to heavy snow would continue for several hours from Hillsboro and Mayville in North Dakota to Crookston, Red Lake Falls and Baudette in Minnesota; as much as 7 inches of snow accumulated in some areas, only to increase today when the real blizzard hits.
The heaviest snow is expected along and south of a line from Lisbon, N.D., southeast of Fargo, to Fosston, Minn., and Baudette, up to Lake of the Woods, where a full foot of snow is expected to fall, in addition to what fell Monday.
Strong north winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts even higher, will develop by late morning today and continue into the evening, making travel very difficult and dangerous, if not impossible, the weather service said this evening.
The blizzard conditions are expected to remain across the region until about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Temperatures will fall to about 10 below zero tonight with wind chills dropping to 30 to 40 below. Travel is expected to be a bad idea today after midmorning, as north winds of 25 to 35 mph will blow around the snow falling and the snow that fell Monday, making driving dangerous across the Red River Valley.
Many events and activities in the region, including Grand Forks Public Schools classes and after-school activities, have been canceled for today. Schools in Hillsboro, N.D., and Manvel, N.D., also will be closed. Grand Forks City Hall will be closed, including no garbage pickup, but buses and snowplows will run as long as possible.
Conditions will begin improving early Wednesday as the snow stops, winds quiet down and temperatures get above zero. By the weekend, temperatures will be near the thawing point, Riddle said.
To see the National Weather Service’s map showing the blizzard warning area, log on to www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_
Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.