Impending snow not expected to threaten dikes, but wind might

A major snowstorm today and Tuesday in the southern Red River Valley isn't expected to threaten Fargo's dikes, but the wind coming with the storm might.

A major snowstorm today and Tuesday in the southern Red River Valley isn't expected to threaten Fargo's dikes, but the wind coming with the storm might.

The winter storm will hamper flood-fighting efforts, making travel and working outside difficult.

Southeastern North Dakota and most of central Minnesota was put under a winter storm warning late Sunday, which will begin today and continue until Wednesday morning, said Pete Speicher, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

Grand Forks and Traill counties will be in a winter weather advisory for the same period.

From 8 to 14 inches of snow, or more, will fall south of Fargo to the South Dakota border, with similar amounts across much of central and southern Minnesota.


Blizzard conditions may develop in southeastern North Dakota and much of Minnesota, making travel difficult and hazardous.

Less snow will fall north of Fargo.

From 5 to 7 inches of snow is expected in Grand Forks from this afternoon to Wednesday morning. Less snow will fall north of Grand Forks, with the Devils Lake basin getting 1 to 2 inches or less. Winds will get as high as 45 mph in south-central North Dakota.

Whatever falls won't melt much until the weekend, said Al Voelker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. So, it really shouldn't make the rivers rise.

"Cold is our friend right now," Voelker said.

But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is "engineering on the fly" to protect hastily built emergency levees from wave action caused by winds predicted to be 20 to 25 mph in Fargo, the Corps said in a news release.

Heavy waves could wreck sandbag levees and lead to major flooding.

The fix is to bring in rolls of "poly" a plastic material to protect levees from saturation, help them hold form and control seepage. The added poly would be laid over the levees and weighted down by sandbags. This will minimize the impact of wave action on the levees.


Bismarck could get as much as 8 inches of snow today and Tuesday, accompanied by wind gusts up to 40 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist John Paul Martin said. Along the South Dakota border, communities could get a foot or more of new snow, he said.

"We are looking at a full-blown blizzard," Martin said. "It is a dangerous situation."

Sunday night, authorities closed Interstate 94 from the Montana border to Mandan, N.D., and advised no travel on roads south of the interstate.

More problems for central North Dakota could come later in the week, Martin said.

As the temperature rises into the 40s, the newly fallen snow will melt more quickly, he said. In Bismarck, he expects it will put as much as

¾-inch of water on top of mostly frozen ground and ice-clogged rivers and creeks.

"The melting will be rapid -- and so that's our concern -- that rivers and streams that are receding across the area will start to come back up again," Martin said.

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