Storm could dump several inches of snow on western ND
As the saying goes, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."
Janine Vining, with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said forecasts, as of late Friday afternoon, are predicting freezing drizzle and heavy snow for the first weekend in March, with the Dickinson area potentially getting 8 to 12 inches of snow through Tuesday.
The storm may start off with freezing drizzle or light snow on Sunday morning, Vining said.
Vining said it appears the drizzle could then turn into snow by Sunday afternoon in the western half of the state, while the central and eastern portions of the state may just receive rain on Sunday.
By Sunday night, Vining said the weather in the Dickinson-area will change to primarily snow, with increased wind speeds.
"We're thinking that the snowfall totals probably will be the greatest in the western and north-central parts of the state," Vining said.
Vining said the Dickinson-area could get 8 to 12 inches of snow with the storm.
"Especially at first it'll be the heavy, wet snow the kind that's tough to shovel," she said. "As time goes on into Monday, Monday is when the winds really pick up and the cold air starts to filter in, so the snow type might become more of the fluffier stuff that we're normally used to in the middle of winter."
On Monday, western and most areas of central North Dakota may see more snow. Northerly winds will also be gusty on Monday, especially in southwest North Dakota, with sustained northwest winds expected to reach 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service forecast discussion as of late Friday afternoon. Snow is not expected to start tapering off until Tuesday, Vining said.
"It's starting out a little bit later, everything's slowing up," she said.
Vining said the heavy snow, with the potential for blowing and drifting snow, will likely make for very dangerous driving conditions.
"If you have to travel, hopefully you're going to do that on Saturday," she said. "Expect that you might have to stay put until later than you wanted to. I know there are a lot of tournaments going on and things like that this weekend. ... By the time people are getting done with a tournament, say on Sunday, the worst conditions might be coming true at that time."
Vining said travelers should be careful and should check the forecasts and road maps before considering hitting the road.
"Make sure you have alternate plans, whether it's staying in a hotel longer than you thought or anything like that," she said, adding that it's "not out of the realm of possibilities" that the winter storm could shut down roads.
Vining also recommended that people keep their winter survival kits in their vehicles.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation recommends the following items to be in a winter survival kit:
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Warm clothing such as extra coats, boots, socks, mittens, hats and ski masks
• A source of heat, such as a multiple wick candle can heater. It is best to also have matches to light your candle, because some lighters won't work in extreme cold.
• A radio and flashlight with extra batteries
• Extra food
• Something to read to help keep you awake
• Bright red or orange cloth and whistle to signal help
• Nylon rope
If a person should become stranded, the NDDoT recommends:
• Stay with your vehicle.
• Run the engine sparingly, start with 15 minutes every hour and adjust if needed.
• Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow.
• Keep your feet off the floor if the heater is not on.
• Never go to sleep with the engine running.
• Position car so it faces into the wind.
• Tie a colorful banner on the car antenna.
• Move all your emergency supplies from the trunk to the interior of the car as soon as you realize you will be staying for a while.
Rob Rayhorn, with the NDDOT Dickinson District, said crews will be ready to go for the storm and added that people can stay up-to-date with the latest road conditions by visiting the NDDoT's travel information map at www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2/ or by calling 511.