UPDATE:

FARGO — The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning that will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb., 12, when a winter storm will sweep across the Red River Valley with plunging temperatures and wind gusts as high as 45 mph.

"Travel should be restricted to emergencies only," the weather service advised on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Those in southeast North Dakota and west-central Minnesota should plan on slippery road conditions and widespread blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility.

In an earlier update Tuesday, the weather service forecast:

  • Blizzard conditions are possible.
  • Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches.
  • Winds could gust as high as 50 mph.
  • Wind chills could dip to as low as 40 below zero.
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ORIGINAL STORY:

FARGO — A strong arctic air front will descend upon the Red River Valley late Tuesday night, Feb. 11, causing temperatures to plunge below zero and bringing wind gusts possibly as high as 45 mph, with blizzard conditions possible.

Snow from the storm will be light, with 1 to 2 inches possible, but the snow will be driven by powerful gusts that will hamper visibility and make travel difficult in open country, forecasters said Monday, Feb. 10.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the Red River Valley from Wednesday morning through Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 12.

"Travel conditions are going to be impacted, especially during the morning," with conditions worse in open country, said Andrew Moore, a weather service meteorologist. "If you're in town, it may not be too bad out."

Most of the snow should fall from around midnight until noon on Wednesday, with flurries possible later in the day, he said. The worst period of poor visibility should last from one to two hours.

"The wind chills are just going to plummet down to minus 30, minus 35," Moore said.

Snow accumulations from the storm will be minor, although drifting could occur on the edges of town and in open country, especially if the storm persists and "scours" the old snow, which is about 1 1/2 feet deep, said John Wheeler, WDAY chief meteorologist. "If that happens, the drifting on the edge of town will get really awful," he said.

Mostly, he said, "It's going to be about blowing snow."

Blizzard conditions are possible, the National Weather Service warned, noting that widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce the visibility.

"The hazardous conditions could impact the morning and evening commutes," the weather service said in its winter storm watch advisory. "The dangerously cold wind chills as low as 35 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes."

People should keep a close eye on weather forecasts and monitor driving conditions Wednesday morning, Moore said.