NWS: Storm bringing freezing rain expected to reach area Saturday afternoon
Freezing rain could start this afternoon and change to snow in southwest North Dakota, the National Weather Service said Friday.
Meteorologist Patrick Ayd with the NWS in Bismarck said the area should expect precipitation to begin late afternoon or early evening today.
It is anticipated that the storm will continue through Sunday and into early Monday morning, with parts of the area receiving anywhere from 3 inches to a foot of snow.
"It is all expected to start off as rain in the southwestern part of the state before it begins to mix with sleet and freezing rain, and eventually changes over to all snow overnight Saturday," Ayd said. "The snow is expected to continue all day Sunday and go into Monday, before tapering off sometime on Monday."
The pending storm is not predicted to produce blizzard-like conditions, but Ayd said wind speeds could increase to between 20 and 30 mph, which may cause some issues with blowing and drifting snow.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol advises residents to pay attention to forecasts and road conditions and to plan accordingly, Lt. Norman Ruud said from his Bismarck office.
"If you don't have to be out there, don't," he said. "If you do have to travel and have to be to a destination, it would probably be in your best interest to try to plan and travel ahead of this storm. The less people that we have out on the roadways during this storm basically creates a safer environment for the motoring public."
In order to prepare for an event like this weekend's predicted storm, the highway patrol will ask any off-duty officers to be on call and will prep all four-wheel-drive vehicles to make sure they're ready, Ruud said.
Once the weather hits, the Highway Patrol works in conjunction with the North Dakota Department of Transportation to issue any travel advisories, including making the decision to close roads, he said.
The Dickinson area is expected to receive between 6 and 10 inches of snow before the storm heads out of the vicinity Monday, Ayd added.
Less precipitation is expected south of Interstate 94 while more is predicted for north of the interstate.
"This kind of storm is not uncommon for North Dakota to see this time of year," he said. "We usually get one last snowstorm in April or May, which means there is still time for storms to come in, especially since there is still cold air in the north that can come down and change any rain we receive to snow. This isn't out of the norm for us, it's not strange, but it's certainly not something we like to see."
It will help if people prepare early and stock up on necessities, Denise Brew, Dunn County emergency manager advises.
"Everyone has gotten to the point they don't think it will happen, but every time I listen into the forecast, they add a couple inches," she said. "I can't stress enough that people need to be safe and be careful."