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Still blustery with occasional snow tonight as the storm slowly winds down

WDAY StormTRACKER meteorologists are tracking the winter storm as it continues on

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FARGO — Updated Friday, December 16 at 3:20 p.m.: It is still blustery and roads are very icy but are gradually opening up across the region as the snow winds down. We can still expect a few scattered snow showers through the night and the wind is still strong enough to cause blowing and drifting in rural North Dakota.

Here is a snow report from the storm.

Updated Friday, December 16 at 12:00 p.m.: As the afternoon goes on, we will still be looking at spotty areas of light snow showers. The winds wind still be with us the next couple of hours blowing that snow around. Visibility will still be spotty at times and roads still slick to drive on. As the day goes on the wind will drop slightly, but the temperatures will take a drop as well. This will lead to some colder days ahead.

Winter Storm 2.JPG
Friday Wind
StormTRACKER Weather

Updated Friday, December 16 at 8:00 a.m.: Our team is finally tracking the tail end of this storm, but the impacts do continue for the last day of the work week. More light snow will fall today but as the day goes on, it will get patchier and lighter. Only a few flurries will be left by tomorrow morning. Winds stick with us today, so beware of more blowing and drifting snow. Poor visibility is expected in open areas. Lastly, colder air is sliding in so temperatures will be falling for the next 48 hours or so. We'll be in the teens by Friday afternoon, lower teens Saturday morning, single digits Saturday afternoon, near zero on Sunday morning, and finally the single digits just barely above zero on Sunday afternoon.

Snow reports from this system have been tricky thanks to its longevity paired with the wind blowing it all around. Here are some reports of snow on Friday morning going all the way back to the beginning:

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Snow since Tuesday
Snow since Tuesday
StormTRACKER Weather
Snow since Tuesday
Snow since Tuesday
StormTRACKER Weather

Updated Friday, December 16 at 5:00 a.m.: While the majority of our snowfall from this storm is already on the ground, we will watch for more patchy light snow to fall today. Most accumulations today will be in the 1 to 2" range. This is a lighter, drier, and fluffier snow, which will continue to blow around and reduce visibility in open areas. Winds today will be out of the northwest around 15 to 25 mph, with gusts near 35 to 40 mph. The Blizzard Warning and Winter Weather Advisory are in effect until 6:00pm tonight.

Alerts in Effect
Alerts in Effect Friday
StormTRACKER Weather

The snow will get lighter as the day goes on. Spare flurries are possible on Saturday, with little to no accumulation. Still a bit on the breezy side for Saturday around 10 to 20 mph out of the northwest. The other punch, outside of the snow and wind, from this storm now is colder air. Temperatures are on the downhill slide now until Sunday afternoon. Bundle up!

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 9:55 p.m.: Winter storm conditions are gradually improving across the region. Travel is still almost impossible across the Dakotas, with many roads closed. Western Minnesota roads are slick. Light snow will continue to fall from time to time through Friday and the wind will still cause areas of blowing and drifting.

Temperatures are beginning to fall and will fall slowly but continuously into the weekend as Arctic air gradually moves in.

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m.: A few snow reports are starting to come in. Between melting and drifting, this is a tough one to measure. Here at WDAY in Fargo, today's snowfall amounted to 6 inches inches with the total storm accumulation at 13 inches. Grand Forks National Weather Service measured 5.8" today for a storm total of 16". Valley City reported 7 inches today on top of 13 inches for a total of 20 inches. Enderlin got 10 inches today for a total of 25 inches.

Drier air is again entering our portion of the storm so snow accumulations will slow down. Look for another two to four inches tonight and Friday west of the Red River Valley, and another one to two inches in the Valley and across western Minnesota. Wind will continue to blow at blizzard force or near it west of the Valley, so the blizzard Warning continues there. Elsewhere, it's a Winter Storm Warning tonight with light snow, blowing and drifting, and extremely icy and treacherous roads.

Conditions will gradually improve tonight through tomorrow, but the improvement will be very gradual.

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 2:15 p.m.: Most of North and South Dakota is now contained within a Blizzard Warning. Today's heavy snow is combining with a north-northwest wind at 30-40 mph with gusts approaching 50 mph. This corridor of blizzard-force wind covers much of the Dakotas. Conditions within the Red River Valley are just about as bad. However, the wind in the Valley and across western Minnesota is less than blizzard force, so these areas remain under a Winter Storm Warning. No travel is advised and many roads are officially closed. This has become a good day to stay home if possible.

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The snow and wind will become lighter, but will continue tonight and Friday. Travel conditions will continue to be difficult to impossible into Friday.

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 12:15 p.m.: The heavy snow is here, and it has made a big impact. Visibility has been reduced to less than a half mile for much of the region this morning as the snow pushes through. The wind is also playing a factor in this snowstorm, with wind gusts recorded near 40 mph so far this morning.

12pm visibility
StormTRACKER

If you don't have to travel, don't. Side streets are clogged up with snow, and no travel advisories are issued for most of the area that has seen snow today. You can find more information on roads on the StormTRACKER app.

Snow will be waning away to flurries by tonight, but the wind won't settle down. Stay tuned to the StormTRACKER team for updates through the day.

Here's a "look" at downtown Fargo from the Forum Tower cam; there's not much to see:

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 a.m.: Round Two of snow has now arrived in the Valley; it began snowing in Fargo and Grand Forks around 6:30am. We are on track to see another 6 to 9" with this round as it backs into the region from the east. There is also a more noticeable wind this morning compared to earlier in the week. Wind speeds today depend on where you are located. Gusts will be around 35 to 40 mph in Valley while they boost to near 50 mph out across North Dakota. This, of course, will lead to blowing snow, whiteout conditions, and drifts.

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The heaviest snowfall will be during the daytime hours today. Snow will get lighter and lighter overnight and throughout Friday, but it will still be windy on Friday. Another piece to the puzzle: temperatures are now on the downhill slide. We will lose a few degrees today, wake up near 20 degrees on Friday morning, and be in the teens by Friday afternoon.

Thursday Morning Radar
Thursday Morning Radar
StormTRACKER Weather
What to Expect Thursday
What to Expect Thursday
StormTRACKER Weather

Updated Thursday, December 15 at 4:30 a.m.: Round two of our winter storm will back its way into the region this morning with an east to west progression. This round has a bigger bite than the first round from Tuesday/Wednesday. Round two will bring another widespread 6 to 9" of new snow, strong winds gusting near 50 mph to the west of the Valley, and falling temperatures. Blowing and drifting snow will cause whiteout conditions both Thursday and Friday.

Round Two Snow
Round Two Snow
StormTRACKER Weather
Whiteout Weather
Whiteout Weather
StormTRACKER Weather

Updated Wednesday, December 14 at 10:55 p.m.: Heavy snow has formed over northern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota and is moving our way. That's right! Thursday's snow will arrive from the east but with a north wind. Expect rapidly deteriorating conditions with snow and blowing snow in the morning. Still expecting another 6-9" for much of the area through Friday.

Here comes round 2.PNG
StormTRACKER

Updated Wednesday, December 14 at 6:10 p.m.: It's not over yet! The previously advertised second round of this storm is looking at least as rough as the first. Periods of light snow will continue tonight along with light wind. Thursday morning, the snow will become heavier and the wind will steadily get stronger out of the north. This snow will back in from the east as this wave rotates around the big, stalled-out low, and it has moisture from the Gulf of Mexico so significant accumulation is likely. The heaviest snow will be during the day Thursday, but light snow will continue through Friday and into Friday night. Blowing and drifting snow is expected to become an increasing problem Thursday and last through Friday into Saturday.

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StormTRACKER

Here are some some updated snow totals from round one.

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StormTRACKER
MN snow report.PNG
StormTRACKER

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 12:45 p.m.: After an additional 1-2" of snowfall this morning, most of the heavy snow is done for the day. A few bursts of snow have been moving through the area this morning, but most of those are over with. Now we are left with a few flurries for the afternoon and evening hours. With the heavy snow done for today, the Winter Storm Warning has been downgraded to a Winter Weather Advisory. Remember, these flurries are still capable of making slick spots on roadways, so take caution when traveling!

Also...we aren't done with the heavy snow yet.

Futurecast
StormTRACKER

The backside of the low pressure system is going to give us quite the encore, with tricky commutes starting very early Thursday morning in N. Minnesota. This band of snow will move westward, and nearly everyone will be seeing snow by mid-day Thursday. Latest model trends from this morning have been pushing snow amounts for Thursday's snow in the 3-6" range, with a few local pockets of 6+".

Speaking of wind, we haven't had much of it with this system...yet. Tomorrow a wind out of the northwest will pick up, 15-25mph, with gusts up to 40mph. This wind will blow around any snow that we have already received, and blow around any additional snow we get tomorrow. The windiest spots will be west of the Valley.

Wind Gust Forecast
StormTRACKER

We will keep you updated through the day on this new snowfall for tomorrow. As models continue to come in with new information this afternoon, we will continue to fine tune our forecast. Remember to send us your weather photos to our email: weather@wday.com !

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 a.m.: We are waking up to a mess this morning! I-94 is still closed from Fargo to Dickinson and there is a No Travel Advisory in effect for the entire state of North Dakota.

Snowfall reports are starting to come in this morning, but they are no where near complete. Snow will continue to fall in patches today, adding to the snowpack that is already out there. The highest amounts from Tuesday were in eastern and southeastern North Dakota. Minnesota saw more rain and freezing rain yesterday before making the switch over to snow in the late evening hours of Tuesday.

Snow reports as of early Wednesday morning
Snow reports as of early Wednesday morning
StormTRACKER Weather
Snow reports as of early Wednesday morning
Snow reports as of early Wednesday morning
StormTRACKER Weather

These totals are not complete and more snow will fall throughout today. There will, however, be some lulls in the activity today, allowing for cleanup.

For Thursday, the low pressure system center works itself off to the east, but we get hit with the wraparound snow. An additional 1 to 4 inches will be added to the standing snowpack throughout the day tomorrow. Patchy light snow is still possible Friday, but not much accumulation is expected. The winds will be picking up out of the northwest Thursday and Friday. Gusts near 45 mph across North Dakota will lead to blowing and drifting snow. Gusts will be a little lighter in the Valley, around 35 mph, but will still lead to blowing and drifting impacts.

What to Expect the Rest of the Week
What to Expect the Rest of the Week
StormTRACKER Weather

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 a.m.:
Temperatures continue to hover around the freezing mark Wednesday morning, and depending on where you are in the Red River Valley, storm conditions have looked somewhat different.

North Dakota saw heavy snow throughout most of the day Tuesday, while western Minnesota experienced an afternoon and evening full of freezing rain, mixed with snow overnight.

Today will be somewhat of a lull in the storm, with periods of light snow happening throughout the day before another band comes through Thursday, bringing with it another inch to 4 inches in the Red River Valley. Then the wind starts to pick up Thursday and Friday, making it blustery with blowing and drifting snow.

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Updated: Tuesday, December 13 at 9:15 p.m.: I-94 is closed both ways between Bismarck and Fargo tonight. The North Dakota DOT has imposed a No Travel Advisory for most of North Dakota due to poor visibility and extremely slick roads. Most roads in western Minnesota are ice-covered from freezing rain there most of the day.

Much of North Dakota along and south of I-94 west of the Red River Valley is reporting snow totals from 6-12" as of 9:15 tonight. Snow accumulations in the Valley range from 2-5" whereas most of western Minnesota has received mostly freezing rain and sleet so far.

Periods of heavy snow will continue through the night, becoming intermittent and light Wednesday. Winds will diminish to 10-20 mph Wednesday. It is likely that travel conditions will improve. However, the snow and wind will again be on the increase later Wednesday night into Thursday with blustery conditions lingering into Friday.

Here is a generalized guide to the total snow accumulations through noon Wednesday. An additional 2-4" of snow is likely to fall Thursday and Friday.

Snow through Wed.PNG
StormTRACKER

Updated: Tuesday, December 13 at 6:38 p.m.: The storm is in heavy snow mode tonight. Periods of heavy snow through the night will result in the greatest accumulations of the storm. Many areas will pick up an additional three to six inches overnight. The snow total map reflects a generalized look at the total snow through midday Wednesday. However, these large and slow-moving storms don't always produce nice, even snow contours. So local amounts will vary!

Across western Minnesota, the storm was much quieter today, with areas of light rain and snow. However, heavier snow is expected in these areas overnight as well.

Latest Radar.JPG
StormTRACKER

In the above still image, you can see tonight's band of heavy snow coming out of South Dakota.

Wednesday is still expected to be a calmer day with only intermittent light snow and not a lot of wind across eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. Conditions will likely be worse out west.

The storm is expected to be reinvigorated Thursday, with another round of a few inches of snow and blustery conditions. A few snow showers and continued blustery winds are likely Friday.

Updated: Tuesday, December 13 at 11:15 a.m.: The transition to all snow is well underway, with most of the area now seeing snow. A few isolated pockets are still seeing freezing rain/sleet, mainly in the southern and eastern viewing area.

Over the next few hours the storm will really start to take over. So far this morning we have been on the east side, or the "warm" side of the low, with the freezing rain, sleet, and snow mix.

Low Movement
Low Movement
StormTRACKER

Over the afternoon, the low is going to move to the northeast. This will put much of our region on the west side of the low, or the "cold" side, bringing the majority of the storm's snowfall to us tonight. The worst of the conditions of the storm will begin this afternoon, and last until early Wednesday morning.

StormTRACKER Futurecast
StormTRACKER

Snowfall accumulations are still on track with the morning forecast. Stay tuned to updates on this blog, our newscasts, and the StormTRACKER app. Send any weather pictures to our email - weather@wday.com.

Updated: Tuesday, December 13 at 7:45 a.m.: Freezing drizzle and mist fell while you were sleeping last night, leaving roads, sidewalks, and bridges a slippery mess. While air temperatures are sitting near freezing this morning, surface temperatures on roads are closer to 25 degrees. The drizzle then freezes on contact to the colder surfaces, creating our slippery conditions for the Tuesday morning commute. Patchy mixed precipitation will still be possible this morning, but we are now watching for the switch over to all snow.

Winter Storm Warning
What to Expect Today
StormTRACKER Weather

The snow will become widespread by this evening. Roads will be icy and snow plugged for the Tuesday evening commute. The bulk of the snow accumulation with this storm will come this evening into the overnight hours. We have updated our snow total forecast (see below). Fargo is now included in the 6" to 9" range. This accounts for snow through Wednesday at noon.

An additional 1" to 3" will be possible as patchy light snow continues into Thursday and Friday on the backside of this low pressure system. We are still on track to see strong, gusty winds on Thursday and Friday which will cause blowing and drifting snow.

Updated: Tuesday, December 13 at 6:30 a.m.: The Winter Storm Warning has been expanded all the way to the International border. It is in effect now through Wednesday night. Roads are very slippery this morning from freezing drizzle and mist. All mixed precipitation will switch over to snow throughout the day today. Heavy snow is expected this evening into the overnight.

Updated: Monday, December 12 at 9:40 p.m.: Freezing drizzle continues to expand and cause very slick roads. Most of the ice is over eastern North and South Dakota so far, but is likely to slowly spread eastward. We have made a modest change to the snow forecast map, expanding the 6-9" contour into western and northern Minnesota a bit. the best opportunity for heavy snow over most of the area including Fargo and Grand Forks is expected to be Tuesday night and early Wednesday. After that, dry air will likely limit snow accumulations, although a few more inches of snow could still fall Thursday and Friday, along with increasing wind and blowing snow.

Updated: Monday, December 12 at 6:20 p.m.: Most of the region was placed under a Winter Storm Warning today by the National Weather Service. Nobody will be snowed in tonight, however. Instead, areas of freezing drizzle will make roads very slick in some areas. By Tuesday morning, areas of sleet and snow will begin to mix in. But even Tuesday, the slow-moving storm will be slow to take shape. By Tuesday night, snow is expected to be widespread, tapering off to scattered light snow Wednesday. Later in the week, more light snow and blowing snow will likely cause problems part of Thursday and Friday.

Updated: Monday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m.: The storm is still on track to hit the region late tonight into tomorrow morning. A few spots this evening west of the valley will see a mixed bag of precipitation after the sun sets, but the main event for most of us won't begin until early Tuesday morning.

In the southern valley it will start as freezing rain overnight, which could accumulate up to a quarter inch in the extreme southern parts of the state. This band of precipitation will continue to climb northward, bringing light accumulations freezing rain farther north, but switching to all snow by Tuesday afternoon. The worst of the storm is still on track to be Tuesday PM - Wednesday AM, when the heaviest snow will fall.

Updated: Monday, December 12 at 7:30 a.m.: The widely-talked about winter storm will head into our region this evening. Its impacts last through the work week. Temperatures will be near the freezing point to kickstart the event this evening, so some spots in the southern Valley and Lakes Country will start off with freezing rain/drizzle and sleet as early as the Monday evening commute. This can quickly make roads slippery. Areas of wintry mix continue overnight tonight into Tuesday.
Snow pushes northward by Tuesday morning. Spots of wintry mix will switch over to all snow throughout Tuesday. The bulk of the snow accumulation will come the second half of Tuesday into the first half of Wednesday.

Light snow is still expected later Wednesday into Thursday and Friday, but the bigger problem then becomes the wind. Gusts will be around 40 to 45 mph to end the week, which will lead to blowing and drifting snow and continued travel impacts into the weekend.

Updated: Sunday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m.: There is still plenty of time before the first flakes fly and the way this storm is shaping up it won't all start out as flakes across our region.
The majority of Monday commutes should be trouble free, with the exception of the evening commute in the southern Valley where there is a chance for some freezing drizzle to move in from South Dakota . Elsewhere will be cloudy and mild with highs near freezing.
The switch-over to snow looks to occur for all by late Tuesday morning with the heaviest snow looking to fall Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.
This is a slow moving system so there will be scattered areas of light snow still lingering on the back side on Thursday and Friday but the wind will be more impressive than additional snowfall so be prepared for some blowing and drifting to end the week.

Updated: Sunday, December 11 at 9:15 a.m.: A winter storm will likely effect our region as we head into the late evening hours on Monday Night and continuing through Wednesday Evening. The bulk of the snowfall accumulations will likely occur between Tuesday and Wednesday Morning. Snowfall totals upwards of 6 to 10 inches will be possible around Grand Forks, Jamestown and Valley City. Snowfall accumulations may end up being less southeast of Fargo as mixed precipitation Monday Night and Tuesday Morning may hinder snowfall accumulations. This is a preliminary snowfall total map: as more data becomes available, this map will likely change.

Updated: Saturday, December 10 at 8:30 p.m.: As time goes on, we are getting a better picture of when the storm will arrive in the area. Monday will be quiet during the day with mostly overcast skies. Late into Monday night models show snow moving into the region, with chances of mixed precipitation in areas of the southern valley. This transitions to all snow into the day on Tuesday.

Updated: Saturday, December 10 at 9:30 a.m.: A Winter Storm Watch is now in effect for all of North Dakota and part of Minnesota. The models have indicated that the storm is still on-track to deliver heavy snow into the region on Tuesday and Wednesday. Travel will likely be impacted. It is still too early to determine exactly how much snow will be likely for the entire system, however some places may see up to 12 inches or more between Tuesday and Wednesday Night.

Updated: Friday, December 9 at 2:45 p.m.: As of Friday afternoon, this is still looking like a good chance for heavy snow in the region next week, centered on Tuesday and Wednesday. Warm air from the south may cause a period of rain or mixed precipitation for some parts of the area at first, possibly Monday night into Tuesday. Dry air from the east and also from the south will likely cut off the moisture in some areas. Nevertheless, this storm looks capable of delivering heavy snow to some parts of the region.

Updated: Friday, December 9 at 8:15 a.m.: The morning model trends are much of the same. The major impacts still look to be Monday night into the middle of next week. Still too early for specifics, but there will be a large winter storm impacting our region.

Heavy snow is likely in the area, but WDAY Chief Meteorologist John Wheeler said it is still too early to predict where the heavy snow will fall. Dry air pockets will reduce snowfall in some areas.

Updated: Thursday, December 8 at 10:38 p.m.: The latest evening model runs continue to show the storm having a major impact on our region from late Monday night into the middle of the week. One trait that has been persistent is the development of the dry slot of air coming up and around the eastern side of the low. This could greatly reduce the heavy snow potential for some of our area, but heavy snow is still likely northwest of the main low track. We will continue to provide updates so check back.

Although it is still way too far away for any specifics, it is beginning to look likely that our general region will be dealing with a large winter storm sometime this coming week.
At this point, there is no reason to cancel plans because the storm is, at present, just an atmospheric disturbance over the Pacific Ocean. However, all of our medium range models suggest an Upper Midwest or Northern Plains storm with the potential for heavy snow in some areas. The timing is also difficult at this range, but sometime in the early to middle part of the week seems most likely.
Our StormTRACKER weather team will continue to update this story through the storm or until the threat of a storm has ended, so be sure to check back often.

Related Topics: WEATHERSEVERE WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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