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Storm could make travel 'difficult to impossible' this weekend; up to 12 inches possible

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GRAND FORKS - Travel conditions could be "difficult to impossible" this weekend in the Red River Valley, with the forecast calling for a major winter storm to bring a mixture sleet, freezing rain and 6 to 12 inches of snow starting Friday night, the National Weather Service says.

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The mixture will develop Friday night in eastern North Dakota and spread over western Minnesota by Saturday morning. Ice accumulations of up to a quarter-inch are possible.

"We're not sure how far north the freezing precipitation will go," said John Hoppes, meteorologist at the weather service in Grand Forks.

The precipitation is expected to change to snow by Saturday afternoon.

"There's potential to get up to a foot here at Grand Forks and Fargo," he said.

Northerly winds are expected to increase from 15 to 20 mph on Saturday to 20 to 25 mph on Sunday, potentially creating near-blizzard conditions and reducing visibility to zero in open areas, Hoppes said.

The weather service predicts the snow will taper off Sunday night.

"Hopefully things will keep tracking south and we'll dodge a lot of this," Hoppes said.

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