No joke: Snow may be most attractive aspect of looming midweek storm

The weather forecast calls for possible heavy rain or snow for Red River Valley communities Wednesday and Wednesday night, March 13. Forum file photo
The weather forecast calls for possible heavy rain or snow for Red River Valley communities Wednesday and Wednesday night, March 13. Forum file photo

FARGO — A storm that is expected to hit the Red River Valley Wednesday, March 13, could bring rain or snow or a combination of both, but just what precipitation shows up will be very dependent on location.

"A few miles may make a big difference," said John Wheeler, chief meteorologist for WDAY TV.

"A lot of the area will end up getting just rain, some of the area will get rain and wet snow that doesn't accumulate, and some of the area may get significant snow," Wheeler said.

"Believe it or not, with this one, I think, we're hoping for snow, because snow can melt slowly," Wheeler said, adding that pinning down just what will happen and where is difficult to forecast because the system will have a lot of warm air associated with it.

The worst case?

The storm carries mostly rain, and lots of it, according to Wheeler.

"If the precipitation all falls in the form of rain, it will cause significant problems to people in the area, just because of the amount of water on frozen ground," Wheeler said.

"If we get an inch or more (of rain), we're going to have urban flooding problems and many homes around the region may have some basement seepage, because there's no place for that water to go," Wheeler added.

For the Fargo-Moorhead area, the National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of rain and snow throughout Wednesday into the evening, becoming all snow after 9 p.m.

The snow may be heavy at times, the weather service said.

Winds Wednesday night are expected to be from the north at 21 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph.

On Thursday, March 14, the weather service is predicting snow mainly before 2 p.m., with heavy snow at times.

Widespread blowing snow is expected during the day Thursday with north winds 33-40 mph and gusts as high as 55 mph.

Strong winds are expected to continue into Thursday night, decreasing to 22-27 mph after midnight.

Friday is expected to remain blustery, but after that a moderating weather pattern is expected to settle in for the foreseeable future, according to Wheeler.

Cold days should see highs in the 20s, while warm days will bring highs in the 40s, Wheeler said.

"That's a bit of a return to near-average temperatures," Wheeler added.