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La Niña could fuel colder than normal temperatures this winter in ND

We may only be a few days into October, but parts of western North Dakota have already had snowfall this fall. April Cooper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said areas of western North Dakota, including Beach and th...

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iStock photo

We may only be a few days into October, but parts of western North Dakota have already had snowfall this fall.

April Cooper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said areas of western North Dakota, including Beach and the Watford City area, received a light dusting of snow on Tuesday morning.

“It was just a slight dusting, not even something that was measurable,” Cooper said.

While a couple of cold fronts will be moving through this weekend, giving North Dakota another slight chance of flurries, Cooper said she does not see any major snowstorms making their way through the state in the foreseeable future. However, low temperatures across the state will remain around freezing.

“As we get into next week we’ll be fairly chilly for most of western and central North Dakota, particularly on Monday,” Cooper said.

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While they cannot predict how much snow North Dakota will end up getting this coming winter, Cooper said it appears the state will be in a La Niña pattern, which means it will be colder than normal.

“They don’t typically give us a very good indicate on how much snow we’ll get,” she said. “So the snowfall doesn’t really correlate with a La Niña, but typically we are a little bit colder.”

Changes to watches, warnings, advisories The National Weather Service is also trying to simplify its winter weather messaging this year.

Starting this winter, the National Weather Service will issue shorter messages which will follow a standard format that will address the “what, where and when” of winter hazards.

The NWS Hazard Simplification initiative, launched on Oct. 2, eliminates five previous watches, advisories and warnings and incorporated them in the existing winter storm watch, winter weather advisory and winter storm warning.

Those eliminated included were the lake-effect snow watches, advisories and warnings (in some offices), as well as blizzard watches and freezing rain advisories.

While the five consolidated products noted will no longer be issued, the service will still be provided. Instead of issuing products specifically catered to lake effect snow, freezing rain, and blizzard watches, the information will be provided in the "what" section of existing notifications, the NWS said.

The notifications will be consolidated as follows:

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  • A Lake Effect Snow Advisory and Freezing Rain Advisory will be consolidated into a Winter Weather Advisory
  • A Lake Effect Snow Watch and Blizzard Watch will be consolidated into Winter Storm Watch
  • A Lake Effect Snow Warning will be consolidated into Winter Storm Warning in selected sites.

The NWS plans to survey on similar changes to the notifications for other hazards, including flooding, wind and extreme temperature hazards.

Related Topics: WEATHER
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