Rain and snow in forecast
Most of the region is going to get some moisture Monday and Tuesday, according to Patrick Ayd, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
The question is what form it falls in.
“The precipitation is pretty certain,” he said. “The question is when it changes from rain to snow.”
Overall, the system is estimated to bring between 1 inch and 1.5 inches of moisture starting as rain Sunday afternoon. Sometime around sunrise Monday, temperatures are anticipated to fall to the point that rain will change to heavy snow resulting in a winter storm, Ayd said.
“Then it keeps snowing until Tuesday morning,” he said. “We’re looking at 8 to 11 inches, all depending on when it turns from rain to snow.”
The anticipated snow amounts Monday and Tuesday would be the biggest of a year that so far has only produced 20 inches of snow this winter as measured at the North Dakota State Hospital.
Temperatures during the snow event are expected to remain in the 20s even overnight. Winds are forecast to gust up to 25 mph in the James River Valley, and blowing and drifting snow is expected.
Blizzard warnings have been issued for western North Dakota where winds of more than 30 mph are expected.
Ayd said the storm poses a couple of particular hazards.
Calving season has begun and wet snow can be dangerous to young livestock.
“And with the temperatures in the upper 20s, this will be wet and heavy stuff,” Ayd said, referring to the moisture content of the snow the area will receive. “It is going to be difficult to move. Take frequent breaks and don’t over exert if you have to shovel.”
At this point, Ayd said the extended forecast looks good.
“There’s nothing major after this,” he said. “But then March is our snowiest month so you never know.”