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Snowstorm breaks records, threatens travelers

UND student Kristin Hane clears away snow from her car during Wednesday's storm in Grand Forks. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
A UND student tries to keep dry on campus as steady wet snow continues to fall Wednesday. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

Some areas of eastern North Dakota saw over 19 inches of snow during Wednesday’s storm. National Weather Service meteorologists said on-and-off snowfall finished Thursday morning, but cold temperatures remain.

Meteorologist Andrew Moore said the Grand Forks area expected to see temperatures just below freezing most of Thursday, with a high around 34 degrees. Moore said roads were a little slick Thursday morning and it’s possible they could become icy, depending upon how they’re treated.

Grand Forks Streets and Facilities Manager Mark Aubol said crews were plowing roads and working to remove any ice buildup Thursday morning. He said they continued to salt and sand roadways throughout the day.

“The biggest thing is to slow down and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going,” Moore said.

Grand Forks saw about 6 inches of snow, nearly doubling the day’s record-high snowfall amount. Moore said in 1921 it snowed 3 inches on Oct. 10, but yesterday’s measurement initially sat around 5.7 inches. The amount has also placed this year in third place for snowiest overall October.

At Grand Forks Air Force Base, the snow totals continued to climb, and reports showed about 19.2 inches. A belt of snowfall formed just west of Grand Forks and remained in place for most of the day, dumping heavy snowfall in the area, Moore said.

Snowfall reported near Finley, N.D., reached about 17 inches, Moore said. Between Larimore and Valley City records showed 14.2 inches, and Moore said there were about 12.5 inches in Larimore.

Devils lake only saw an inch of snow and Fargo received 1.6 inches, reports said.

“It’s kind of unbelievable that this happened in October,” Moore said.

Moore said Thursday’s wind was expected to be calmer also, with gusts between 10 and 15 mph. Aubol said there were a few tree branches downed by the storm, but no major damage.

Moore said the weekend is expected to be warmer, with most of the area reaching the high 30s and the southeast corner of North Dakota possibly reaching the low 40s. He said precipitation is expected Saturday night and into Sunday, but it will likely be just rain because of the higher temperatures. Areas near the Canadian border may accumulate some snow, however.

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