3 to 6 inches of snow possible ahead of ‘bitterly cold wind chills’ for Christmas
A weather system could bring 3 to 6 inches of snow to eastern North Dakota Wednesday, but heavier amounts are expected to stay in the central and northwest parts of the state, meteorologists said.
The periods of snow forecast to hit the region Wednesday morning and evening could make travel difficult in most of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, according to a special weather statement issued Tuesday by the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. That area is under a winter weather advisory until 6 a.m. Thursday.
“The most likely area for this band is centered around a line from Devils Lake through the central Red River Valley east-southeast to Park Rapids (Minn.), or generally between U.S. Highway 2 and Interstate 94,” the weather statement said.
Snow should hit Devils Lake by 6 a.m. Wednesday and most of the Red River Valley, including Grand Forks, by noon, meteorologists said.
Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Fargo could see 4 to 6 inches, according to the forecast. Thief River Falls, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, Bemidji and Park Rapids, Minn., could see 3 to 4 inches.
Snowfall weakens toward the Canadian border near Cavalier, N.D. -- forecast to see 2 to 3 inches -- and Roseau, Minn., which could receive 1 to 2 inches. Some areas in western North Dakota -- particularly near Williston, Minot and New Town, could see 6 to 8 inches.
It is possible more snow than predicted for the Red River Valley could fall, said Ryan Knutsvig, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Forks. Winds should linger around 20 mph, according to the weather service.
“Winds do not appear to be a big issue with this event, but there may be some light blowing snow in some parts of North Dakota,” Knutsvig wrote in an statement to media.
The weather service warned drivers to check road conditions and take precautions when driving.
The system should clear off by Thursday, which should have a high of 6 degrees. More snow could fall Friday afternoon, but the chance for that is low, according to the forecast.
As previously predicted, temperatures are expected to fall rapidly across the region as the weekend approaches. That trend could continue into next week.
“We've had above-normal temperatures lately, but we are expected to swing the other way toward very cold temperatures for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” Knutsvig said. “Highs below zero and lows in the teens to 20s below are possible along with bitterly cold wind chills.”
Grand Forks could have a high of 15 degrees on Friday, but that will drop to about 7 degrees on Saturday and 2 below zero on Sunday, according to the weather service. The lows for Friday, Saturday and Sunday could hit negative 2, negative 11 and negative 17, respectively, according to the forecast.
Wind chills could make the weather feel much colder, the weather service said. It could feel close to 36 below zero on Christmas in Grand Forks with the wind chill factor, according to meteorologist.
There is a high chance the rest of December into next year will be colder than normal, according to the weather service.