Water is water: October snow is welcome moisture for farmersThe meteorologists call snow this early in October an oddity. Farmers are calling it welcome moisture. Daryl Ritchison, meteorologist for WDAY, anticipates Jamestown and the area to its northeast could receive up to 4 inches of snow by the end of today.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
By Keith Norman
The Jamestown Sun
The meteorologists call snow this early in October an oddity. Farmers are calling it welcome moisture.
Daryl Ritchison, meteorologist for WDAY, anticipates Jamestown and the area to its northeast could receive up to 4 inches of snow by the end of today.
“This is not completely unprecedented but it’s rare,” he said. “It would be a once every 30- to 50-year event to see measurable snow this early in the year.”
According to the forecast issued by the National Weather Service, a strong storm system could bring rain and snow across much of the Dakotas. Ritchison said the amount of snow would vary widely across the region depending on the air temperature at the time of the precipitation. Warm temperatures mean more of the moisture falls as rain rather than snow.
“Just a degree or two in temperature will make a big difference in snow accumulations,” he said. “But I think we could see 2 to 4 inches of snow total.”
Ritchison anticipates the snow and rain combined will amount to as much as 1 inch of total moisture from the storm system.
“The moisture’s the good thing,” said Joel Lemer, Foster County extension agent. “It will stop harvest for a few days but everyone is so far ahead of schedule that shouldn’t hurt anyone too bad.”
Lemer said harvest started early and had continued without a weather problem up until this point.
“This will give them a break,” he said. “Some have been hitting it hard for a lot of days.”
Ritchison said forecasts indicate dry and cold weather after this system passes.
“We don’t see a moisture source like this in the near future,” he said. “Temperatures in the 30s Thursday would be about 30 degrees below average for this time of year.”
Al Ulmer, LaMoure County extension agent, anticipated the cold, dry weather would allow farmers to get back to harvest work in a few days.
“Farmers could wrap up harvest next week if there are no other big weather delays,” he said.
The possible snow could also impact travel in North Dakota, Ritchison said.
“Winds of 20 to 35 mph,” he said. “The snow will be so heavy there won’t be any ground drifting but visibility could be reduced.”
Ritchison said the early snow may pose a particular hazard to trees that still have leaves. Any heavy wet snow caught on the leaves could weigh down the branches and cause limbs to break.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org