FARGO — An updated forecast provided Wednesday morning, April 10, shows the Fargo-Moorhead area receiving 8-12 inches of snow set to fall Thursday morning through Thursday evening, April 11, according to the National Weather Service.
The heavy, wet snow will be accompanied by winds of 30-35 mph and possibly higher, making travel in many places difficult if not impossible, said Tom Grafenauer, a weather service meteorologist.
On Wednesday afternoon the South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety closed Interstate 29 from Brookings to the North Dakota border due to blizzard conditions.
In addition, water was on the roadway on ND Highway 1 at the South Dakota border. Motorists were stopping and taking turns in order to move on the road.
The NDDOT was urging motorists to check road conditions before traveling due to rapidly changing conditions. Fluctuating water levels was making it difficult to predict when and where water would go over a roadway or recede from the roadway.
In the Fargo-Moorhead area and Red River Valley region, Grafnenauer said the deepest snow amounts are expected south and east of the Fargo-Moorhead area and places like Wahpeton, N.D., and Detroit Lakes, Minn., could see 12-18 inches of snow.
He said the fact that the precipitation is expected to consist mainly of snow and not rain is actually good news, because with snow the moisture will take longer to move into areas dealing with flooding.
Grafneauer said rivers like the Red River, which crested earlier this week at about 35 feet, will likely see a second crest once snow from the predicted storm melts, but he said it will be lower than the original crest.
Regardless of what the actual snowfall amounts to, Grafneauer stressed that the impacts will likely be serious, as the heavy snow and strong winds will create challenging conditions for travelers.
For cars that do go off the road, Grafneauer said water in ditches poses an added danger, adding that once the storm hits, people should stay off the road altogether until conditions improve.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation warned that motorists planning to travel in Minnesota Wednesday afternoon through early Friday should prepare for hazardous conditions, including heavy drifting and accumulations of ice and snow.
Drivers were advised to plan ahead, slow down and to give snowplows plenty of work to do their job.
"When there’s heavy snowfall and strong winds, travel is difficult,” said Todd Stevens, state maintenance engineer with MnDOT.
MnDOT advised drivers to:
- Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning.
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths from plows and avoid driving into a snow cloud caused by a plow
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions
- Turn off the cruise control
For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.
MnDOT urged motorists to either delay travel plans, or, if they must drive, to do so according to conditions.