Travel advisory lifted for North Dakota as cold sets in
While the worst winds and snowfall from Blizzard Alice are over, freezing temperatures are slated for most of Friday.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation lifted the no-travel advisory that went into effect Thursday afternoon for eastern portions of the state. Roads conditions are still affected by snow drifts, and the DOT said drivers should slow down and be cautious as crews work to tow vehicles that were stranded during the storm.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has warned that roads in the northwest corner are partially or completely covered with snow and ice.
Thursday’s blizzard caused winds of just above 50 mph throughout the Red River Valley. National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Moore said Grand Forks and Fargo were two of the cities hit hardest by the wind. The gusts began Thursday afternoon and carried on throughout the night. Moore said the blizzard warning is no longer in effect, but winds have not completely subsided. Reduced visibility could lead to dangerous road conditions.
Moore said conditions will improve noticeably throughout the morning.
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The strong winds will be replaced by freezing temperatures and much of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota is under a wind chill advisory. Moore said temperatures Friday will peak just barely above zero degrees, but wind chill will make it feel 25 to 35 degrees below. The cold temperatures could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
Moore said snow total reports are still trickling in Friday morning, but Grand Forks received a total of about 9 inches of snow. The storm began Wednesday afternoon, with about 5 inches of snow hitting Grand Forks by Thursday morning. After a pause in the snowfall, flakes began falling again Thursday afternoon. Moore said the heaviest hit areas were from Fargo and into eastern Minnesota. Moore said a snow band formed in the area and early measurements from Moorhead show the area received 11 inches total of snow.
Moore said the Red River Valley generally saw between 4 and 8 inches of snow and areas north of Grand Forks saw the least.
Moore said cold temperatures will continue through Friday, and Saturday will see high temperatures in the teens. The area will warm up briefly on Sunday, when Moore said temperatures could hit the low 30s before falling again Monday.
“Folks may get misled by the warmer temps this weekend, but we are expecting a pretty chilly New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so just prepare accordingly and pay attention to the forecasts and be sure to bundle up,” he said.