FARGO — Local residents should prepare for the possibility of blizzard conditions that could accompany 2 to 6 inches of snow later this week in the Red River Valley.
A strong storm expected to move up Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17 and 18, from the southwest into the northern Great Lakes area will likely hit west-central Minnesota the hardest, said Peter Speicher, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Forks. The heaviest snow is expected to fall Saturday, he said.
In Minnesota, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities could see 7 to 10 inches, while Alexandria and Grand Rapids could get 6 to 9 inches, the weather service said. Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls are along a line of the storm that could receive 5 to 8 inches.
The Red River Valley is on the edge of the storm, and snow amounts will depend on the track the storm takes, Speicher said. Eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota likely won't see as much snow as west-central Minnesota, but it will be enough to cause problems, meteorologists said.
Any snow the region receives likely will be blown around by blistering winds, setting up the potential for blizzard conditions and poor travel conditions in the Red River Valley and other parts of eastern North Dakota, according to forecasts.
"It will be a measurable snow, and it looks like more than what we got here last night," WDAY meteorologist Jared Piepenburg said.
Piepenburg was referring to the snow that fell Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Between 2 and 6 inches of snow was reported across southeast North Dakota, according to the weather service. Fargo received a little more than 3 inches of snow, and Moorhead saw 1.3 inches, the weather service said.
A weather service map released Thursday morning indicated Fargo could see 4 to 6 inches of snow.
Forecasts are showing blustery winds that could impact travel across the region beginning Friday, Piepenburg said. Loose snow has the potential to blow around, causing trouble for travelers in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, Speicher said. Blizzard conditions are expected for the region Friday evening into Saturday, the weather service said.
For now, clear skies, fresh snow and no wind are helping arctic air stay in the area. Meteorologists expect a high near negative 6 Thursday and a low of negative 9.
A windchill advisory is in effect for the Red River Valley until 3 p.m. Thursday, as meteorologists expect winds to cause the weather to feel like it's as low as negative 40.
Friday will bring a brief warmup, with air temperature highs in the low 20s, according to the WDAY forecast. Saturday’s high likely will hover near 10 degrees, meteorologists said.
Colder weather is forecast to return Sunday and Monday, with temperatures In Minnesota,
below zero. Lows could fall into the negative teens and even negative 20s, WDAY said.
The good news? Models show warmer days beginning Tuesday, with highs in the teens and lows in the single digits, WDAY said.