FARGO — Fargo has almost twice the normal amount of snow, thanks to a blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow this weekend.
But it’s too early to tell just how much the snowfall will contribute to potential spring flooding, National Weather Service meteorologist Nick Carletta said.
“It’s definitely a significant storm,” he said. “For most winters, this would … probably be the highlight storm for the winter.”
Fargo reported 12.3 inches of snowfall since Friday, Dec. 27, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. That brings the season total to date for the city to 34.1 inches, weather service meteorologist Tom Grafenauer said.
Last year, the city received 18 inches of snow as of Dec. 30, slightly below the average of 19 inches, he said.
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Snow started to fall Saturday, Dec. 28, covering Fargo with a reported 5.5 inches. Sunday's snowfall set a record with 6.8 inches, the weather service said.
The Dec. 29 record was last set in 1972 with 4.4 inches of snow.
On top of the snow, sustained winds of 40 mph during the blizzard caused drifts to pile up on roadways.
Most of the snowfall dissipated by Monday, Dec. 30, but blowing snow was expected throughout the day, making travel difficult, Grafenauer said.
Most of the coming week appears to be calm, with the next chance of snow, though light, this weekend, according to WDAY meteorologists.
“We don’t see any storms here in our 10-day forecast,” WDAY meteorologist Jared Piepenburg said.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, has a high of 16 degrees and a low of 8 degrees, according to WDAY. Highs for the rest of the week should stay in the 20s with lows in the teens, meteorologists said.
Some flood indicators
Predicting flood potential at this time of the year is hard, Carletta said, but there are some indicators that could point to flooding.
The amount of liquid in the snow is a contributing factor to flooding, he said. Fargo has had about 19.6 inches of liquid equivalent from snow to date, ahead of the 2009 amount of 18.3 inches near the end of December, he said.
“And we’re having a pretty wet … later year overall across the Red River Valley,” he said.
One factor that works in the Valley’s favor is the early snow covering the ground before a frost could freeze water in the soil, Carletta said. The frost depths aren’t deep.
Still, that could change throughout the winter, he said.
Fargo has seen two winter storms this season. An early October blizzard dropped more than 2 feet of snow in some places but mostly spared the Fargo-Moorhead area, which saw about three inches.
Fargo wasn’t so lucky on Nov. 30, when it saw about 10 inches of snow.
Other areas got hit with more snow than Fargo this weekend. Frontier, N.D., a suburb of Fargo to the south, and Jamestown reported 17 inches. Mapleton reported 14 inches and Ellendale clocked in 26 inches.
Other 72-hour totals for the region include:
LaMoure, N.D. — 24 inches
Mayville, N.D. — 14 inches
Bemidji, Minn. — 13 inches
Elbow Lake, Minn. — 13 inches
Park Rapids, Minn. — 12 inches
Detroit Lakes, Minn. — 12 inches
McLeod, N.D. — 12 inches
Moorhead, Minn. — 11.5 inches
Kindred, N.D. — 11.5 inches
Whipholt, Minn. — 11 inches
Frazee, Minn. — 11 inches
Twin Valley, Minn. — 10 inches
Breckenridge, Minn. — 8.6 inches
Wahpeton, N.D. — 12 inches