Fargo mulling sandbag delivery on eve of winter weather threatIt looks like all those sandbags might just have to wait awhile longer. Officials in Fargo and Moorhead have been eager to distribute the bags so property owners can stack them to hold back the Red River when the spring flood comes.
By: By Patrick Springer , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — It looks like all those sandbags might just have to wait awhile longer.
Officials in Fargo and Moorhead have been eager to distribute the bags so property owners can stack them to hold back the Red River when the spring flood comes.
But Mother Nature has had other ideas, and the lingering cold weather and feisty precipitation pattern have delayed the rollout several times.
Fargo officials planned to start today, but will huddle this morning to decide whether it’s a go after all.
Today’s forecast predicts snow and rain is likely, with an accumulation of less than half an inch of slushy snow possible.
But Mother Nature’s big potential curveball is what happens this weekend. Forecasters are watching a storm system that could bring snow to the area Sunday.
The National Weather Service said snow accumulations could be significant, although the storm appears likely to deliver less moisture than the March 22-23 storm, which dropped 8.1 inches of snow in Fargo-Moorhead.
“We’re a little bit concerned about delivering sandbag pallets,” Bruce Grubb, enterprise director for the city of Fargo, said Wednesday.
Sandbags are stacked curbside for staging — and that could be a major headache if enough snow falls Sunday to require plows to clear streets, he said.
Also, sandbags can’t be allowed to freeze before they are put in place, and more snow likely would bring more chilly temperatures for a couple of days.
In Moorhead, where the plan had been to start delivery Friday, city officials will be in contact with neighborhood residents to decide when to deploy sandbags.
Although Friday and Saturday look very favorable, the uncertainty about Sunday’s forecast leaves Moorhead officials hoping the weekend weather picture will be made clearer today, said City Manager Michael Redlinger.
Forecasters caution that it is too early to make specific predictions about Sunday’s weather.
“There’s a great deal of uncertainty,” said John Wheeler, WDAY’s chief meteorologist. “I think there’s the potential we could get several inches of wet snow.”
Then again, he added, the storm could miss the area. “It’s not setting up like the last storm,” Wheeler said.
Brad Hopkins, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said forecasters will be closely watching as the storm system develops. Spring storms are especially difficult to predict.
“It’s just a matter of amounts,” Hopkins said. “The potential is there based on the storm track.”
Temperatures are likely to drop after the Sunday system moves through, which will slow the melt, giving officials more time to deploy sandbags.
“They’re at the mercy of the weather,” Wheeler said. “But they’re going to have time.”
Dave Olson contributed to this report.
Patrick Springer is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.