A coating of snow: Saturday’s accumulation won’t lastSaturday’s dusting of the area appears to be just that, say regional weather predictors, as Old Man Winter won’t be home here for at least the next week.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Saturday’s dusting of the area appears to be just that, say regional weather predictors, as Old Man Winter won’t be home here for at least the next week.
The official tally for Saturday’s snow in Jamestown was 1 inch, according to the North Dakota State Hospital, which measures snow totals.
“Cold air over the top of us, warm air over riding on top, energy in the upper atmosphere, it’s pretty easy to get quick inch or two of snow,” said Todd Hamilton, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
Hamilton said Jamestown was hit with a narrow band of snow that stretched from Jamestown to Duluth, Minn., but was only 20 to 30 miles wide.
“What we are in is a northwest flow pattern,” he said. “So we have cold, low pressure over southern Canada into the Northern Plains and cold air at the surface and we get impulses in the upper atmosphere moving across the cold air and with that cold air in places it’s pretty efficient in developing snow.”
Bismarck received a minimal amount of snow and totals in Fargo varied from half an inch in the southern metro area to 4 inches in Harwood, N.D., said Daryl Ritchison, WDAY meteorologist.
“Last night’s system probably only hit 10 to 20 percent of the area,” Ritchison said Sunday. “Most folks didn’t get any snow yesterday because it’s a narrow band. It should melt off quickly.”
Temperatures are forecasted to rise to into the 50s today through Thursday.
Saturday’s weather event also is no indication of what’s to come for the winter season, as both meteorologists said the season predictions are up in the air.
“This one event is not going to tell you anything about what the winter is going to bring,” Hamilton said.
While Jamestown only got an inch of snow, weather on the East Coast could be disastrous in the coming days, Ritchison said.
Hurricane Sandy has been dubbed the Frakenstorm by many meteorologists, but the potential impact had the Fargo-based meteorologist ignoring the new moniker.
The storm has a potential 700 mile radius and could cause floods and/or snow storms up and down the East Coast, he said.
“This storm to me has so much serious potential that I haven’t been a big fan of that term because I think it downplays the potential,” Ritchison said of the storm.
Sandy was trending on Twitter nationally Sunday.
Tidal waves could impact Manhattan, New Jersey and the Atlantic City Boardwalk could be wiped out, he said. The last storm with this type of potential was Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which caused more than 1,000 fatalities in Haiti and more than a $1 billion in damage to Canada alone.
“Other hurricanes have come through this area, but this time of year, this strength — it’s been a generation,” Ritchison said.
The Appalachian Mountains could see 2 to 3 feet of snow with 50 mph winds, he said. Skyscrapers in New York have never seen winds as strong as Sandy could deliver.
Heavy winds also knock down trees, which in turn knock out power. Ritchison said millions could be without electricity if Sandy hits a population center.
“You could see how this could easily have damage over a billion dollars and millions of people in turn don’t have power,” he said.
So while this area had some snow on the ground this weekend, things could be much worse for people on the East Coast.
“It’s pretty trivial in comparison,” Ritchison said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com