FARGO — Those who woke up Saturday morning, Nov. 30, expecting to see a winter wonderland may have been disappointed, but that letdown was short-lived.
Heavy snow rolled into the Fargo area later than expected Saturday, and it continued to fall for much of the day after starting late in the morning.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Transportation placed eastern North Dakota under a travel alert Saturday morning, shortly after lifting a similar advisory for the western part of the state.
Saturday evening, Fargo, Dickinson, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Valley City and surrounding areas remained under a travel alert.
NDDOT placed other areas under a no travel advisory Saturday evening including Williston, Minot, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Mandan, Glen Ullin, Flasher, Center and surrounding areas due to snow and blowing snow causing icy roads, near-zero visibility and hazardous driving conditions.
Around noon Saturday, a multi-vehicle crash in the westbound lanes of Interstate 94 on the Red River bridge in Moorhead held up traffic. Multiple emergency vehicles could be seen as authorities worked to route traffic around the cars.
Information about how the crash occurred or any sustained injuries was not available, but roads were snow-covered and icy at the time.
Travel advisories had not been issued in northwest Minnesota as of Saturday evening, but Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol on Twitter advised motorists to "drive safely and buckle up!"
As road conditions deteriorated Saturday evening, MATBUS routes in Moorhead closed early and Fargo routes stuck to snow detours. Regular service was expected to resume Monday.
Wind speeds were expected to increase throughout Saturday, with snow accumulations of six to 12 inches in some places and other areas possibly receiving more than a foot.
"If that happens this would be Fargo's largest snowfall from a single storm in a decade," WDAY meteorologist Andrew Whitmyer tweeted.
The last time Fargo received more than a foot of snow from a single storm was Nov. 22, 2010.
Fargo snowplow driver Darryn Maaninga said he had never seen so much snow fall at one time in his ten years on the job.
"It's more like spring snowfall where you got that heavy, wet snow. Usually, (at the) end of November you're looking at a little drier snow," he said.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks forecast lower snowfall amounts for the Devils Lake Basin and areas near the Canadian border.
As of press time, snowfall totals reported to the NWS showed West Fargo with the most snow in the area with 8 inches. Valley City followed with 6 inches. Moorhead reported 5.3 inches, Fargo reported 5 inches and Grand Forks had the least with 4.5 inches. Official snowfall totals will not be known until after the storm passes.
An additional 3 to 7 inches of snow was expected to fall Saturday evening into Sunday morning, the NWS said. Isolated areas near the Red River Valley and south of Highway 2 in Minnesota could see nine or more inches of snowfall in that time frame.
Snow was expected to continue falling across eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota until noon Sunday.