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Blizzard fills moisture deficit: Storm was needed for “normal precipitation” in Grand Forks area

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

GRAND FORKS — Blizzard Gigi may have made for an unusually wintery March 31, but the storm was just what last month needed for “normal” precipitation, if not temperatures.

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Like the rest of this winter, last month was much colder than normal, and Blizzard Gigi didn’t help with that, said Bill Barrett, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.

March was, on average, “about 7 to 8 degrees colder than normal,” he said. “We would consider that to be unusually cold.”

But March had been much drier than normal before Blizzard Gigi dropped nearly a foot of snow in Grand Forks on Monday, Barrett said.

“For any given day, the blizzard was obviously an unusual event,” Barrett said, “but in this case, it just so happened (that the whole month) evened out in one day.”

With Blizzard Gigi’s help, March’s total precipitation — measured in rain and melted snow — came to 1.11 inches.

“That’s right around normal,” Barrett said. “Without (Blizzard Gigi) it would have been very dry.”

March’s total snowfall was 13.5 inches, 11.5 of which came from Gigi.

The weather is probably going to stay cold for the next couple of days, Barrett said. Tuesday afternoon, he said the weather service would be watching for record-breaking low temperatures of about minus 6 degrees over the midnight shift between Tuesday night and early this morning.

“In April you usually don’t get many (nights below zero) if any,” he said.

There will be a storm system similar to Monday’s blizzard, but weaker, in southern North Dakota on Thursday, but it will likely miss Grand Forks, Barrett said.

The weather could warm up this weekend and early next week, with temperatures forecast to reach the 40s by Saturday.

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Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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