WINTER STORM: Snow amounts continue to come in
WDAY's StormTRACKER meteorologists are watching the storm; check back for updates.
Updated Wednesday, March 1st at 1:30 p.m.: Preliminary snowfall reports are starting to come in. If you have a snow report, send it to our email - email@example.com.
Updated Wednesday, March 1st at 12:30 p.m.: Snow will continue to slowly taper off as the afternoon goes on. Still quite heavy snow falling in Wahpeton and portions of the southern valley, but most other areas look to be done with the heaviest snow as the forcing mechanism needed for "bands" of snow has weakened considerably. A few flurries will likely last until the mid-afternoon hours.
The wind is quite strong in spots, especially in the south. It doesn't take much of a breeze to blow this very light and fluffy snow, so there are still many, many travel impacts. The wind will be calming as the day goes on and the system moves to the east. Expect it to take most of the afternoon for crews to get roads open again.
The wind is not only blowing the light fluff around, but it's also dropping temperatures significantly. Most of the area is in the single digits and still falling. Temperatures will drop below 0° for nearly everyone tonight.
Updated Wednesday, March 1st at 8:00 a.m.: Snow continues to fall in heavy bands for areas south of highway 2. A heavy band set up over Fargo around 2:00am and is just now coming to an end at 8:00am. That's six hours of heavy snow!! Here at WDAY, we measured 10.5" at 7:30am. Wow!
This snow is very airy, making it pile up and blow around easily. Visibility is under a half mile in many spots for the morning commute, with several highways and portions of interstates closed. The wind has been gusting upwards of 40 mph all morning, not only causing blowing snow and poor visibility, but drifting snow too. Drifts are measuring in feet.
Snow will get lighter and taper off across the region by midday. The wind takes longer to settle; not dying down until about sunset tonight. Roads are plugged with snow and the wind will continue to cause travel problems all day. Late tonight, the clouds will clear out, the wind will go light, and temperatures will fall below zero.
Updated Wednesday, March 1st at 5:00 a.m.: Bands of heavy snow have moved right through the Fargo Moorhead metro overnight. There will be vast differences in snow reports over short distances because of these heavy snow bands. Winds are gusting to 40 mph this morning, causing blowing & drifting snow paired with poor visibility on top of snow covered roads. The morning commute is going to be a mess!
The snowfall reports you're seeing here are from around 4:00am and it was still snowing at the time of measurement. The final snow total will be higher. We measured 7.5" at the WDAY studio at 4:00am.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 9:30 p.m.: One final thought: Those snowflakes tonight are huge! The temperature and humidity at cloud level is causing a near-perfect dendritic snow crystal formation in the clouds tonight. This will result in big snowflakes which will accumulate rapidly because of all the air in between the large crystals. This kind of snow is light and airy and can result in deeper accumulations because of all the air in the settled snow. It will be easier to shovel but it will blow and drift easily.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 9:00 p.m.: The first band of heavy snow has reached the Fargo area. It has been snowing heavily west of Fargo for several hours now. I-94 has been shut down Jamestown to Bismarck and is going to close Fargo to Jamestown at 9:30 p.m.. U.S. 281 is closed between Carrington and the South Dakota border. U.S. 52 is closed Jamestown to Harvey. N.D. 36 is closed. These closures are due to very heavy snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile. Expect the area of impassible roads to expand by morning. We have made a modest adjustment to the snow forecast map.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 3:22 p.m.: This will be a difficult snow forecast. The snow is expected to set up overnight in very heavy bands, causing large differences in snow amounts over very short distances. We are anticipating an area of 5-10" accumulation somewhere in southeastern North Dakota, with potentially more than a foot of snow in some of this region. Keep in mind that these contours are an estimate. We won't know exactly where the heaviest snow will set up until it actually does. We will continue to monitor this situation tonight and will adjust the forecast as the snow develops.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 1:30 p.m.: Scattered bands of mostly light snow will begin this afternoon with the main snow arriving this evening, and continue to move northeastward through the night, filling in the gaps as it does so.
The heaviest snow and the strongest wind will occur overnight tonight into early Wednesday morning, making for a very messy morning commute. With wind gusts as high as 40mph and plenty of fresh snow to blow around, there will be brief whiteouts in open country. Heaviest snow still looks to fall along I-94 and HWY 10, the forecast hasn't changed since earlier in the day. Stay tuned to the StormTRACKER app, our news tonight, and this blog for the latest updates.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 9:15am: There has been a noticeable shift northward in this system this morning. The snow accumulation map has been slightly adjusted to adjust for this shift. We will continue to monitor the latest trends in the models as the day goes on, updating the forecast as needed. The timing of the still looks to be mostly on track, with snow starting to fall in the early evening hours to the west, filling in eastward as time goes on. Wind is still looking to be a factor overnight tonight into tomorrow morning, causing brief whiteouts with the new accumulation of snow. Stay tuned to the StormTRACKER team for updates.
FARGO — Updated Tuesday, February 28th at 4:30am: Winter alerts were issued in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 28. The I-94 corridor down to the ND/SD border is under a Winter Storm Warning, which includes places such as Fargo, Wahpeton, Valley City, Jamestown, Oakes, Lisbon, Enderlin and points west. Outlining that warning are counties in a Winter Weather Advisory. This includes places such as Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Park Rapids, Wadena, Cooperstown, Mayville and Hillsboro. The alerts go into effect at 3:00pm this afternoon and last until 3:00pm Wednesday.
A narrow band of heavy snow is expected to develop throughout the afternoon hours today. The snow will spread across the region Tuesday evening and last into Wednesday morning; it will get lighter and come to an end throughout the first half of Wednesday, March 1st. Winds will increase out of the northeast later tonight gusting around 25 mph. This will lead to areas of blowing snow and poor visibility along with snow covered roads tonight into tomorrow morning.
Winds will pick up on Wednesday, gusting near 35 to 40 mph out of the north, even as the snow wraps up. Expect blowing and drifting snow to continue to make an impact on travel throughout Wednesday.
The wind settles late Wednesday, the sky clears, and then cold air sets in. We will wake up in the single digits below zero on Thursday morning.