Storm hits much of ND and nation, avoids DickinsonDickinson has yet to get an inch of precipitation this year
Western North Dakota missed out on snowfall Monday evening that caused traffic problems across the eastern portion of the state and beyond.
Snowfall that hit the Red River Valley on Monday was expected to rival the largest accumulation of the year, but it shouldn’t affect the spring flood forecast, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in Dickinson hit the lower 40s Monday and no precipitation fell. The temperature is expected to top out at about 40 degrees today. T
Total precipitation for Dickinson in 2012 is .12 inches, according to AccuWeather.
Jim Kaiser, a meteorologist at the agency’s Grand Forks office, said the forecast was for 3 to 5 inches across the valley from early Monday afternoon to this morning.
That would come close to the highest 24-hour accumulation so far this winter, which occurred Dec. 30 when Grand Forks had 4.5 inches of snow.
By 4 p.m. Monday, the weather service reported 2 inches had fallen in Grand Forks.
Kaiser said some areas could receive as much as 6 to 7 inches, but depending on the temperature, it may not have a big impact on road conditions.
“It should be pretty heavy and wet,” Kaiser said. “If we can keep temperatures around 34 (degrees), it may stick to the grass, but not the street, which would help travel. It depends on the snowfall intensity.”
Grand Fork area temperatures, which were in the low- to mid-30s Monday, were expected to dip into the high 20s overnight, Kaiser said.
A day after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow on a handful of southern states, crews worked Monday to restore power to tens of thousands of customers as police responded to dozens of accidents on slippery roads.
The storm brought as much as 9 inches of snow to some areas on Sunday as it powered its way from Kentucky and Tennessee to West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The storm system pushed off the coast early Monday.
Kaiser said the snow shouldn’t have a big effect on the flood forecast for the Red River Valley this spring — in part because of dry conditions earlier in the winter and also the lack of increased precipitation in the long-term forecast.
“This should be about a quarter to a half-inch of water across the valley,” Kaiser said. “This isn’t the beginning of a trend of snow system after snow system. Given the very dry fall, there’s storage available this spring that hasn’t been available for the last couple of years.”
The weather service forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of snow Wednesday and more snow is possible next week, but Kaiser said the expected accumulation isn’t out of the ordinary.
“There’s nothing signaling to us that it’s going to be an extremely wet spring,” Kaiser said. “We do see a little more of an active stream, but what we’ve had is abnormal. What we’re seeing is a normal spring pattern here.”
Kaiser also said winds weren’t expected to be too strong, which would mean minimal blowing snow and better visibility for motorists.
Up until Monday morning, Grand Forks was experiencing its second-lowest snowfall total over a winter since 1941, according to measurements at the Grand Forks International Airport.
The weather service recorded just 9.6 inches of snow at the airport by Monday morning and 12.3 inches at its Grand Forks office near the UND campus. More wind at the airport caused the discrepancy, Kaiser said.
The snowiest stretch of the winter so far occurred between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when the area received 6 to 8 inches.
But the expected snowfall between Monday morning and today would bump Grand Forks out of the 10 least snowy winters since 1941.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that despite clearing on major roads and reduced traffic flow because of Presidents Day weekend, state police responded to dozens of accidents Monday morning, including a crash involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 64.
Officials warned that icy spots remained a hazard on bridges, overpasses and ramps. The Richmond area received 2 to 5 inches of snow.
In North Carolina, cars were sliding off the road in the Raleigh area on Monday morning, according to The News & Observer. In one fender-bender, a car slid and struck the cruiser of a police officer who was investigating another accident. The State Highway Patrol reported more than two dozen morning collisions in Wake County alone.
By Chris Bieri, Grand Fork Herald, and The Associated Press.