FARGO — The relatively nice weather the region is experiencing this week is forecast to change Thursday night when an Alberta Clipper is expected to bring strong winds and potential snow accumulations to the Red River Valley.
Because the storm's arrival is several days away, potential snow totals are difficult to pin down, but strong winds — possibly 45-50 mph — are likely to start Thursday night, Jan. 14, and linger through Friday, according to John Wheeler, chief meteorologist for WDAY-TV.
Near term, the weather outlook for the Fargo-Moorhead area looks like this, according to Wheeler:
Wednesday will likely see high temperatures in the lower 40s during the day, with a shot of light rain arriving Wednesday night.
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Thursday is expected to be mild as well, with a cold front — the Alberta Clipper — moving into the area Thursday night.
"The wind will pick up and it will develop into what I suspect will be a pretty good chance of a ground blizzard by Thursday night that will linger through some or all of Friday," Wheeler said.
"The wind looks a little stronger to our west and to our south, the snow looks heavier to our north and to our east. So, it's not likely going to be the worst blizzard we've ever had," Wheeler added.
Wheeler said snow totals from 1-4 inches are possible with the clipper, though he said his gut feeling is that snowfall in the Fargo-Moorhead area will be in the low end of that range, perhaps an inch or two.
"If I'm wrong on the low side and we only get a quarter-inch of snow, it's not going to be a very bad storm, it's just going to be a very windy day," Wheeler said.
"If we end up getting 3 or 4 inches (of snow), that would make it much more severe of a blizzard," he added.
The air that will follow the Alberta Clipper will not be Arctic air, so the coming weekend is not expected to be terribly cold, Wheeler said.