Snow, cold and wind in holiday forecast
North Dakota travelers could see a couple of weather problems during the week before the Christmas holiday, according to Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.
“On Wednesday, all of North Dakota gets some snow with enough wind to cause some headaches,” he said.
That snow will be followed by cold, according to Bill Abeling, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
“For the heart of the holidays there’s not much in the forecast for snow but really darned cold,” he said. “Wind chills could be a factor by the weekend.”
Abeling said snow is expected to develop from west to east starting Tuesday night and into Wednesday. The northern part of North Dakota is expected to see the greatest accumulations.
‘You could see 1 to 3 inches of snow in the northern part of the James River valley,” he said. “The southern part could get nothing.”
Ritchison said it was hard to forecast the path of the storm but anticipated much of North Dakota would see 2 to 5 inches of snow and possibly some wind. The NWS forecast for Wednesday includes wind gusts to 28 mph.
While the weather system bringing the snow on Wednesday will last about one day, the cold weather that follows is here for the longer term.
“It has holding power,” Ritchison said. “We could see a solid two weeks of pretty cold weather. We’re getting a good old-fashioned arctic blast.”
Abeling said the average high for Jamestown in the last weeks of December is 22 degrees with lows of 5 degrees at night. Overnight lows well below zero are possible.
“What we’re looking at is 10 to 15 degrees below normal,” he said. “Cold outbreaks like this can come with wind so blowing snow and wind chills are a concern.”
Ritchison said the actual temperatures will depend on variables like the amount of cloud cover overnight and how much snow is on the ground.
“It’s hard to forecast but there is a lot of potential for really cold weather,” he said. “But a benefit of cold weather is no ice storms like last year.”
A Christmas ice storm in 2016 left hundreds without electricity for several days as power company crews made repairs in the James River valley area.