'Significant spring storm' could cause dangerous driving conditions

The storm is predicted to begin Wednesday morning and will continue into Thursday.

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FARGO — For the next two days, don't look for spring weather.

A "significant spring storm" is approaching early Wednesday morning, bringing prolonged winds up to 60 mph, meteorologists predicted.

"Anything is normal in North Dakota, typically in any given year we will get one or two significant storms like this in March or April," said Tom Grafenauer, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Right now it's right over us and it's slow moving, so over the next couple days it's going to affect us. What we're certain of is the wind. Winds in the valley will be strong," Grafenauer said.

The storm is predicted to begin sometime Wednesday morning, and will continue into Thursday, April 7, he said.


John Wheeler, WDAY Stormtracker chief meteorologist, said the air temperatures will hover just above freezing, which if the area is hit with hard snow could accumulate and create hazardous driving conditions.

"It's pretty sloppy April weather," Wheeler said. "If you get a band of heavy snow at 34 degrees it will melt and it will draw down the road temp and then melting snow will lower temperatures of the road and it could create a flash freeze."

A transition area will most likely occur "somewhere between the Red River and the wooded lakes area," from a little snow and medium winds to "a lot of snow and a lot of wind," Wheeler said.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service are predicting western areas of the Red River Valley to be affected the most with prolonged strong winds and periods of snow and near-blizzard conditions.

Areas east of the valley will most likely see periods of snow with minor blowing snow, a press release from the National Weather Service reported.

Falling snow and strong winds has the potential to reduce driving visibility, Grafenauer said.

With warmer ground temperatures, one unknown is the possible accumulation of snow and how severely the "blizzard-like" conditions will impact people's daily lives, Grafenauer said.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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