FARGO — A storm system heading for parts of North Dakota and Minnesota and promising snow, rain and high winds was expected to strike in two waves, with the first hitting Wednesday evening, Oct. 9 and the second arriving Friday and lasting into Saturday.
In general, the worst hit areas will likely be west of the Red River Valley, where snow and high winds are expected to create a blizzard that will shut down travel in many spots.
"This might be a doozy," said Carl Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, which provided an update on the storm picture Wednesday afternoon.
Jones said the first round of the storm should hit the central and northern parts of North Dakota, including the Devils Lake area, Wednesday evening, with spots like Devils Lake possibly getting 12-18 inches of snow.
The Fargo-Moorhead area and parts of west central and northwest Minnesota were expected to receive mostly rain from the storm system, though some snowfall was possible, perhaps on Friday, according to John Wheeler, chief meteorologist for WDAY TV.
For the most part, Wheeler said, the storm system will mean wet, blustery weather for Fargo-Moorhead, with the worst of it tapering off some time on Saturday.
But west of the Red River Valley, he said, "this will likely be a severe blizzard."
Areas particularly hard hit with bad weather could experience power outages, according to Jones, who said the second round of the storm system is expected to arrive Friday and last into Saturday, with areas in central and northern North Dakota receiving additional heavy snowfall and winds of 40-60 mph.
Jones said the Fargo-Moorhead area could see winds of 30-40 mph.
Additional "crippling" impacts were possible with the second round of bad weather, with power outages being one of them, Jones said.
Once the storm system has passed, there could be localized flooding as rivers and streams feel the effects of heavy rainfall, Jones added.
Although it wasn't certain where the snow/rain demarcation line will fall with the storm system, Jones said there is a high degree of certainty some areas will feel "crippling" impacts from the bad weather.
Wheeler said once the storm has passed the area will experience chilly weather, though he said any snow that falls, even in the hardest hit areas of the region, is not likely to stay on the ground for very long as it will begin melting quickly.