Snow in forecast leading up to Christmas
While Tuesday night and Wednesday may bring snow and wind, the holiday weather forecast calls for a mostly brown Christmas.
For the most part, meteorologists are still anticipating a brown Christmas for the Jamestown area.
"Right now, everybody has a shot at about an inch of snow," said Todd Hamilton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, talking about the forecast for the middle of the week. "With the wind, a lot of it will blow into the ditches. Might even blow dirt over the snow. Maybe it will be an off-white Christmas."
Statistically, there is snow on the ground about three-fourths of the Christmas holidays.
Temperatures for the past days have been mostly higher than the average high of 22 degrees and the average low of 4 degrees over the past weeks but short of the record book. The record high for Dec. 21, for example, is 50 degrees with a record low of 39 degrees below zero.
The warm and dry conditions have made for mostly good travel conditions as we approach the Christmas holiday.
In fact, the combination of the snow and wind forecast for Tuesday night poses the greatest risk for holiday travelers. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for late Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon for Dickey, LaMoure and Stutsman counties. Snow, lower temperatures and winds of up to 60 mph are part of the watch.
"We are anticipating the higher impact on travel on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning," Hamilton said. "During that time, strong winds and snow will make travel difficult, then the snow tapers off."
Travel difficulties could continue even after the snow ends with ground drifting and icy road conditions continuing most of Wednesday.
Temperatures Tuesday night could drop to about 6 degrees with wind chills approaching 20 degrees below zero. Wednesday's high is forecast at about 13 degrees while the Wednesday night low could drop to 6 degrees below zero with wind chills of 30 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service forecast.
Travelers headed north and east will see the worst conditions, he said.
"Even a little more snow in the northern Red River Valley," Hamilton said.
The weather system is a brief shot of winter.
"Starting Thursday it warms up through Christmas Day and the weekend," Hamilton said. "No major weather systems in the forecast after Wednesday."
High temperatures on Christmas Day could reach 31 degrees.