Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Winter whooshes in: Blizzard closes schools, delays flights and slickens roads

A pedestrian crosses 12th Avenue North during a winter storm Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 5
Cole LeDoux pulls carts to Menards during a winter storm Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in West Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 5
Sloppy wet snow started falling in downtown Fargo shortly before noon Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, driving some pedestrians to the skyway system. The Red River Valley was expected to get 4 to 6 inches of snow Monday evening and night, with high winds that created blizzard conditions. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum3 / 5
Sloppy wet snow started falling in Fargo shortly before noon Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. The Red River Valley was expected to get 4 to 6 inches of snow Monday evening and night, with high winds that created blizzard conditions. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum4 / 5
Debbie Tight of north Fargo walks north on Broadway just before noon Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, on her way to a local coffeeshop. Snow was starting to fall and winds were picking up as a storm expected to drop 4 to 6 inches of snow with winds in the 50-mph range blew into the Red River Valley. "It's overdue, probably," Tight said. "This is part of Fargo. Enjoy it. And stay warm inside." Helmut Schmidt / The Forum5 / 5

FARGO — A blizzard that blew through the Fargo-Moorhead area Monday, Dec. 4, didn't dump as much snow here as expected, but fierce winds and worries about white-out conditions on rural roads closed many schools early, canceled or delayed flights at Hector International Airport, and greased up roads and highways for the evening rush hour.

"It was a blizzard," WDAY-TV Chief Meteorologist John Wheeler said Monday evening.

He said the F-M area had received 1.4 inches of snow by 10 p.m., short of the 3 to 6 inches many forecasters had expected.

The heavy snow for North Dakota was in the Jamestown area northeast to Grand Forks, which had a number of sites record 3 to 6 inches, Wheeler said. Most of the southern Red River Valley got an inch or two of snow.

"This one was a really tough one to forecast," Wheeler said.

A blizzard is defined as snow or blowing snow with sustained wind speeds of 35 mph or frequent gusts higher than 35 mph and visibility of less than a quarter mile for at least three hours.

While Tuesday will be sunnier, it will be colder and remain windy for much of the day, the National Weather Service forecasts.

The F-M area should have partly sunny skies, with brisk 24- to 32-mph winds gusting up to 46 mph. The high temperature should be about 18 degrees and a low around 10 degrees.

Wednesday's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high near 19 and an overnight low dipping to 2 degrees.

Snow heavier to north

A band of snow chugged through the F-M metro area at the peak of the evening rush hour, said NWS meteorologist Brad Hopkins, and winds gusted up to 49 mph in some areas, causing whiteout conditions.

The Moorhead and West Fargo school districts and Park Christian School sent students home early Monday. The Fargo School District, Oak Grove Lutheran School, and the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network all continued classes through the normal school day. But all metro schools cancelled evening events and activities.

Grand Forks had 4.7 inches of snow by 4 p.m. Monday, the NWS reported. Elsewhere in North Dakota, Hope had 5.9 inches of snow by early evening, Sharon about 4 inches, and Cavalier about 2 inches.

Areas of northwestern Minnesota saw heavy snow by Monday evening. Holt in Marshall County reported 9 inches and Skime near the Roseau County line had 10 inches, with snow still falling, said NWS Meteorologist Vince Godon. Fisher and a station south of Baudette accumulated 5 inches by late afternoon.

Godon said the strong winds would slowly diminish Tuesday.

At Fargo's Hector International Airport, several flights to and from Chicago were cancelled Monday, while a couple flights to Las Vegas and Minneapolis were listed as delayed on the airport's website.

Roads throughout the Red River Valley were slick Monday morning, primed with freezing rain in spots before the snow arrived

Monday afternoon, a westbound semi tractor-trailer rig ended up in the ditch on Interstate 94 just west of the intersection with Interstate 29. The semi remained upright, but broke one of the supports for a large directional road sign.

A North Dakota Highway Patrol dispatcher said nine crashes had been recorded in Cass County through mid-afternoon Monday.

Sgt Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol said the Minnesota side of the Red River didn't see a large number of crashes, and many drivers who had spun out into medians and ditches were able to drive out.

Grabow urged drivers to follow road and weather reports.

"Don't put your personal schedule ahead of safety," Grabow said. "Be prepared. Have a good cold weather kit in the car. Warm clothing."

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

(701) 241-5583
Advertisement
randomness