First day of spring brings cold snap, high winds
Winds of up to 45 mph are expected to blow fresh snow on Thursday, March 19, resulting in reduced visibility.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect from 1 p.m. Thursday, March 19, until 10 p.m. Light snow is expected to continue throughout the day, with additional accumulation of under an inch possible in the Grand Forks area. Wind chill temperatures as low as 25 below zero are expected tonight.
With a fresh 4.7 inches of snow on the ground Thursday morning, winds of up to 45 mph during the afternoon are expected to cause blowing and drifting snow in northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. The blowing snow is expected to greatly reduce visibility, resulting in hazardous travel conditions.
Grand Forks National Weather Service technician Bill Barrett said Grand Forks appears to be in the middle of a band of snow extending east to west. The most snow in the region was recorded in Michigan, N.D., with 5 inches of fresh snow. To the south in Fargo, the Red River Valley received a drizzle of rain instead of snow, Barrett said.
Looking ahead, he said winter weather won't persist.
"This cold weather, it's just a day or two, today and tomorrow," he said. "Then we should be back up closer to normal. Maybe not quite by Saturday, but we'll be in the 30s by Sunday, and then next week, the average high now is in the mid 30s. It's going up pretty rapidly. So we're not too far from being an average high of 40."
Drivers are asked to use caution while traveling, especially in open areas. Reduce speeds, be aware of icy roads and reduced visibility of up to a half-mile, and keep an emergency kit in vehicles at all times.
Road conditions can be found for North Dakota at dot.nd.gov/travel and for Minnesota at 511mn.org , or by calling 511 in either state.