December 12, 2008

Winter storm drops new snow on northwestern North Dakota

Winter storm drops new snow on northwestern North Dakota



Light drizzle Sunday night turned to brief periods of heavy snow as the sun rose Monday morning making travel dangerous in parts of northwestern North Dakota.

N.D. Highway 23 from the N.D. Highway 37 intersection just north of Parshall to New Town was ice and snow covered and motorists were traveling at 35 to 40 miles per hour to keep their vehicles from sliding off the road.

N.D. Highway 8 was trecherous as well, but wasn’t snow covered as the wind blew the snow off the road before it became compacted.

A strong northeasterly wind reduced visibility at times to less than an eighth of a mile making reaction times difficult. As a result, one vehicle eastbound out of New Town slid into the north ditch about eight miles east of town and rested short of going down a 30-foot embankment.

According to Harlyn Wetzel of the National Weather Service in Bismarck, New Town and Watford City received 2 ½ and 3 inches of new snow on top of the light drizzle that only amounted to a trace of precipitation.

Other reporting stations included Crosby, 3 inches; Beulah, 1.7 inches; Killdeer, 1.3 inches and Minot, 3 inches.

"There was a clipper system that developed in Montana and dove to the south," Wetzel said of the storm. "There was a heavy band of snow that developed north of the system and dropped some new snow on the area."

Wetzel said the rain wasn’t unusual in a system like this. He said air masses like this can often have varied temperatures as they pass through an area.

"There was warm air wrapped up north of the low," Wetzel said. "There was Arctic air at the surface and much warmer air aloft."

Some of that warm air actually reached the surface as unofficial temperatures on Fort Berthold ranged from 33 to 42 degrees at sundown Sunday evening. Eastern North Dakota remained much colder throughout the weekend with highs only reaching into the single digits on Sunday in Devils Lake and Grand Forks.

The Weather Network