BEMIDJI -- It’s uncertain whether the Bemidji area is expected to get a few flakes or more than two feet worth, but it looks like the season’s first snowfall is somewhere in the near future.
The Beltrami County Emergency Management department posted a statement on Facebook on Monday, clarifying rumors that a large snowfall was coming. In reality, there is not much certainty this far out as to what the coming weather could include. In fact, the agency said the forecast indicates there could be anywhere from 0.1 inch to over 26 inches of snow.
“It’s safe to say we will probably get somewhere between the two,” department officials said in the post.
Beltrami County Emergency Management Director Christopher Muller said the first wave of the possible storm could hit the central Dakotas with half a foot of snow from Wednesday to Thursday night. The weather then could bring in cold air and moisture to the local area.
“The question is whether or not it’s going to be mostly rain, whether it’s going to be a rain-snow mix, and when that transition to snow actually takes place,” Muller said.
If the weather does turn to snow, it likely will happen later in the week. The National Weather Service reported that it expects rain from Wednesday night through Friday night in the Bemidji area. The rain is expected to turn to snow sometime before 9 p.m. Friday night. The report also said the snow “could be heavy at times.”
National Weather Service meteorologist John Hoppes said Grand Forks could see about a quarter-to-half inch of rain before the snow begins, but areas in northwestern Minnesota may get half-to-three-quarters inch of rain. Hoppes said there could be up to 8 to 10 inches of snow in Grand Forks and areas west of Hallock. It’s still unclear where the snowfall will hit hardest.
If the Bemidji area does see snow in the coming days, it will already be later than the first snow last year. Downtown Bemidji saw its first snowfall within the first week of October in 2018.
The weather may get cold enough for it to snow in the coming days, but the forecast looks like the weather will bounce both above and below the freezing line. The weather service predicts both rain and snow on Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night. On Saturday, the high is expected to be around 36 degrees. On Sunday, it is expected to be around 38 degrees, according to the weather service.
Regardless, Muller said such early forecasts largely serve to give people a heads-up that strong weather could be coming and that they need to pay attention.
“As we get closer to the event, people need to pay closer attention,” Muller said. “These models that come four, five (days) or even a week out -- they can be accurate or it could be a complete swing and a miss.”
Forum News Service contributed to this report