Grand Forks saw snow begin to fall just before 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, with a few car accidents being reported by the Grand Forks Police Department. As of later afternoon, however, the situation had not deteriorated into an actual blizzard.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks slightly revised its forecast on Saturday from a previously projected snow accumulation of 6 to 14 inches, to 6 to 11 inches. Despite the slight reduction, eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota remain under a winter storm warning until noon on Sunday, Dec. 1.
“Our forecast hasn’t changed significantly at this point, so that’s a little lower than it was yesterday. … So we backed off a little bit, but that’s the latest thinking,” said Brittany Peterson of the National Weather Service.
As of noon Saturday, Peterson said the National Weather Service had measured snowfall at half an inch at its Grand Forks location, with further measurements to be taken later in the day. It was falling fast by mid-afternoon.
Peterson said she expected the snow accumulation to increase later Saturday afternoon and evening, as the National Weather Service was monitoring heavier bands”of snow between Fargo and Grand Forks. Those bands were moving north.
Sgt. Kevin Kallinen with the Grand Forks Police Department said slick road conditions resulted in a few car accidents.
“The road conditions are very poor and they are very slippery out there right now,” he said Saturday afternoon. “In that last hour or so, we’ve had about three accidents to start out with. But I’m expecting more.”
Wind was measured at Grand Forks International Airport at 15-25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, though Peterson said they were “isolated instances.” She said the area was looking at reduced visibility with the heavy snow alone, even without the wind.
“In terms of a true blizzard, with widespread quarter-mile or less visibility for an extended period of time, we’re not looking at that type of situation,” she said.
According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation, I-29 from Grand Forks south to the South Dakota border was either snow covered or had scattered snow or drifts. Highway 2 east from Grand Forks to Niagara was much the same. At the time of reporting, both roads were open to motorists.
Peterson said she expected conditions to improve by mid-morning Sunday.
“With winds being lighter than we might have expected earlier in the week, the impact should begin to taper off pretty quickly after that,” she said.