BEMIDJI – Here’s the forecast for Saturday from the National Weather Service – verbatim, because the folks there probably know best how to make things sound as jarringly terrible as possible:
“A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 4 by 5 p.m. Wind chill values as low as -16. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 17-22 mph. With gusts as high as 31 mph.”
Great. Thanks. Now, how about Sunday?
“Partly sunny, with a high near 7. West wind 7-9 mph.”
“Partly sunny” may have never meant less.
For those who scoffed at the weak effects of a winter storm that forced mass cancellations Friday, Pete Speicher, a meteorologist with the service in Grand Forks for the past 10 years, has a message for you: just wait.
And probably stay off the roads for a while as well.
Speicher said Friday that a last-minute blast of warm air from the south prevented Winter Storm Gandolf from entering Minnesota in grand style.
But the southern warmth could prevent the storm’s arrival for only so long. This weekend’s temperatures will be in the negative column, Speicher said, and the 2 inches of snow expected will only exacerbate Bemidji’s soon-to-be sub-zero existence.
“Once the system pulls out, I’m going to say Sunday morning, you’re going to have an Albedo,” Speicher said.
An Albedo, derived from the Latin term for “whiteness,” naturally, is the reflective effect of bright, white snow.
The sun’s rays are apparently no match for Albedo.
“With fresh snow, you’re not going to warm up during the day, and at night you’re going to drop a lot quicker,” Speicher said.
Even better, that snow will most likely be covering up a sinister layer of ice – created from hours of rain, melting snow and temperatures expected to drop rapidly Friday night.
The snow, ice and below freezing temperatures may result in further cancellations today and Sunday, depending on how dangerous driving conditions are.
They could be bad, though, Speicher said, considering downspouts throughout Bemidji have been pumping untold gallons of water onto streets and parking lots, and rain falling since Thursday morning has helped roads to shine with yet-to-be frozen H20.
Oh, and Monday, you can expect temperatures hovering around 10-15 degrees below, Speicher said.
“Once the low pressure system pulls off to the east, and winds shift to north and northwest, that’s going to allow the temps to drop,” Speicher said. “You had rain but you should be getting snow.”
Scoff while you still can.