FARGO — A storm carrying heavy, wet snow and high winds hit the Fargo-Moorhead area just before noon Thursday, April 11, and it was expected to drop up to 1.5 inches an hour before abating sometime Thursday night or early Friday, April 12.
Even before its arrival in the Fargo area the storm was causing issues for travelers Thursday morning on roadways like Interstates 29 and 94 in the southern Red River Valley.
The National Weather Service urged no travel Thursday for points south of Fargo-Moorhead as conditions were expected to worsen throughout the day and into Thursday night.
The storm's heavy, wet snow was forecast to pile up at the rate of 1 to 1.5 inches per hour well into the evening, said Tom Grafenauer, a weather service meteorologist.
He said snow removal crews will have a difficult time keeping up, even on interstates, and he said it's likely some roads will have to be closed in the region.
While the snow is expected to taper off Thursday night, Grafenauer said impacts will linger well into Friday because of the heavy, wet nature of the snow that is falling.
He said the situation will be made worse by strong winds gusting to 35-40 mph.
Total snowfall in the Fargo-Moorhead area is expected to be at least 6-8 inches, according to Grafenauer, though he said it could be much higher than that elsewhere around the Red River Valley into west central Minnesota.
The Minnesota State Patrol was discouraging travel in southern and central Minnesota Thursday morning and there were reports of traffic crashes on I-94 and other highways in the St. Cloud area as ice and snow made driving hazardous.
Highway officials in Minnesota and North Dakota are stressing to travelers that the winter storm, combined with flooding conditions, will make travel dangerous in many areas around the region.
If you do travel, turn off the cruise control, turn on your lights, and drive slow, officials advise.