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Almost foot of snow already reported in parts of ND

MINOT, N.D.--Most of North Dakota except the eastern side is under a winter storm warning as heavy snow and winds are bearing down on the area. The system responsible for the first major snowfall of the winter is stuck smack dab over much of Nort...

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An inflatable snow man sits outside of a house in Dickinson, N.D., during a winter storm on Monday. (Forum News Service photo by Kalsey Stults)

MINOT, N.D.-Most of North Dakota except the eastern side is under a winter storm warning as heavy snow and winds are bearing down on the area.

The system responsible for the first major snowfall of the winter is stuck smack dab over much of North Dakota.

"This storm is going to hang around for another day or so and then start moving east, probably around the Great Lakes area Wednesday," said Janine Vining, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. "It's a very large storm with large amounts of precipitation around it."

While some areas, such as Fargo and Jamestown, were experiencing rain most of Sunday night and Monday, there was substantial snow falling elsewhere in the state. By noon Monday or shortly thereafter, Bismarck reported 7.5 inches of snow and it was still falling.

Bismarck was expecting a foot of snow by Wednesday.

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New Town and Stanton in west central North Dakota were almost there already by midday Wednesday with 11 inches reported. Dickinson had 10 inches by late afternoon.

By 12:50 p.m. Monday Minot had officially recorded 6.3 inches, putting the daily record of 8 inches well within reach. It has already broken the record for the day set in 1905 of 4 inches.

"We are expecting 10-12 inches of snow in the Minot area when all is said and done," said Vining at mid-afternoon Monday.

Meteorologist Bill Barrett of the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said only flurries were forecast in the Grand Forks-Fargo region through Wednesday.

Travel conditions were slick throughout the rest of North Dakota as a travel alert was in effect.

The storm began with a freezing rain before turning to snow in parts of western and central North Dakota, making for slippery road conditions.

"The wind condition is not indicative of blizzard conditions, so that's probably the better part of this," Barrett said. "The bad part is with a lot of snow, whenever you're driving, you have to keep in touch with what the road conditions might be."

Barrett advised travelers to find updates on road conditions through the North Dakota Department of Transportation, either through its website or by calling 511.

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"Temperatures are decent but it is heavy, wet snow. We are not expecting any Arctic air coming down," said Vining.

While some like the snow, some don't, farmers in the region seem happy.

Kurt Froelich, North Dakota State University extension service agent, said that the snow the area has been receiving will be a positive for people in the agriculture community.

"Generally for our population out here, the ag produces, moisture is always a welcome sign," he said.

Froelich said the cattle feed lots, which have been dusty from lack of moisture, will also benefit from the amount of snow and the wetness of it.

"The moisture is melting underneath," he said. "The ground temp, we just haven't really been cold enough to freeze things yet. This moisture is going to go down. This snow is going to go down."

The livestock will also be able to bear the grunt of the elements, Froelich said.

"These cows, if they are out there winter grazing on some winter crops, some stubble corn stalks, whatever it might be, they forage pretty good," he said. "This stuff out here is pretty loose, light, there is moisture in it, and those cows will get through it."

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The storm is a huge one, a "Colorado low" that is producing rain as far south as Texas and even spawned a tornado in Nebraska

The storm was also hitting western South Dakota with winds of up to 50 mph in some areas. The northern Black Hills was expect 5 inches of snow.

Conditions behind the storm will generally be mostly cloudy skies with daytime temperatures in the upper 20s in central and western North Dakota.

The Minot Daily News, Grand Forks Herald, Dickinson Press and Bismarck Tribune contributed to this report

Related Topics: WEATHER
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