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Safe from winter storm this weekend, Grand Forks region could get smacked next week

WDAY says next week's potential storm "certainly presents a chance of significant moisture." Meanwhile, Grand Forks' streak of days without hitting 40 degrees continues.

National Weather Service graphic from March 31.JPG
A graphic distributed on March 31, 2023, by the National Weather Service shows the potential for a major winter storm the first week of April.
National Weather Service

GRAND FORKS โ€” As portions of South Dakota, Minnesota and extreme southeast North Dakota get yet another winter storm on Friday and into the weekend, the Grand Forks region probably will escape the wintry mess.

For now.

Next week, residents of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota might not be so lucky.

The winter that just won't quit is showing it still has a pulse in the northern Plains, prompting a blizzard warning on Friday for a number of South Dakota and Minnesota counties, as well as lesser weather warnings and advisories in southern North Dakota and central Minnesota. While some places in South Dakota and Minnesota could get as much as 10 inches from the system, it appears the system will miss northeast North Dakota.

By midweek, however, more snow is likely for Grand Forks and the northern Red River Valley. That depressing outlook came late in the week from meteorologists at the National Weather Service and WDAY.

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Tuesday, there is a 40% chance of snow during the daylight hours, with "snow likely" Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Wednesday, there is a 50% chance of snow.

The NWS outlook seems like a word-for-word repeat of forecasts so many residents around here have heard a number of times already this winter season.

"The snow could be heavy at times," the NWS predicts. "Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 2 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 24. Blustery, with a north-northeast wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%."

And WDAY said this on Thursday evening: "Another storm, presently out in the Pacific Ocean, is poised to threaten our area with snow and wind again next week around the Tuesday to Wednesday time frame. The only forecast possible with this storm as of now is from computer models, which are certain to look differently when the storm actually arrives. The path of the low and the structure, including the possibility of dry air reducing precipitation for some areas within the storm, cannot be known for a few more days."

WDAY points out more potential bad news.

"This storm certainly presents a chance of significant moisture," the station's meteorologists noted in a blog post on Forum Communications Co. websites. "A very heavy snowfall or heavy rain would surely make our flood situation worse, so this second storm bears watching."

Grand Forks this winter has received more than 66 inches of snow, making it the eighth snowiest winter on record. Four of the last five winters in Grand Forks โ€” including this winter โ€” brought at least 66 inches of snow.

The last five years of snowfall are: 2018-19 (80.3 inches), 2019-20 (71.9 inches), 2020-21 (17.1 inches), 2021-22 (77.5 inches) and 2022-23 (66-plus).

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And the number of days below 40 degrees continues to climb, as reported by the Herald and WDAY. Friday marked the 125th consecutive day Grand Forks hasn't surpassed 39 degrees. The last time the immediate region saw 40 was Nov. 26, when it was 41.

The Grand Forks record for consecutive days under 40 is 155, set in 1979.

Saturday's high temperature likely will be around 28, according to the National Weather Service, while Sunday might rise to around 36. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, however, highs are likely only to reach into the 20s.

Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

Over time, he has been a board member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.

As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.

In the past, Wenzel was sports editor for 14 years at The Daily Republic of Mitchell, S.D., before becoming editor and, eventually, publisher.

Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103.
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