Blowing on through: Winter storm moves through region; icy cold to follow
BEMIDJI—Bemidji was dealing with the recent snow Thursday, as well as the coming cold. Residents were digging out their driveways and plows were making their way through the streets as the area remained under a winter storm watch most of the day.
The temperature Thursday night was expected to drop to 21 below zero. Additionally, a wind chill warning was in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday, with wind chills of 45 below forecast, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.
And combined with the recent snowfall, that wind was expected to reduce visibility for drivers, with gusts of 35 miles per hour possible. According to the weather service website, area snowfall totals varied in the Bemidji region, but were mostly in the 6- to 10-inch range.
On Thursday afternoon, a no-travel advisory was expanded in northwest Minnesota because of low visibility and dangerous driving conditions. High winds and blowing snow were causing whiteout conditions, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Much of the area west of state Highway 59 were impacted by the no-travel advisory.
And farther west, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have closed Interstate 29 from Grand Forks to the South Dakota border on Thursday. And the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 from Jamestown to Fargo and westbound lanes from Fargo to Valley City, N.D., were also closed down.
Blowing snow was creating near zero visibility and dangerous driving conditions, N.D. officials said. In Minnesota, a no-travel advisory also was issued for Clay and Wilkin counties.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Hopkins said Ada, Minn., was the hardest hit, with 11 inches of snow. Most areas in the Red River Valley were expected to receive 4-8 inches of snow from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday night. Hopkins said a band of heavy snowfall stretched from near Enderlin, N.D., to Fosston, Minn.
In Bemidji, the forecast calls for a high temperature on Friday of 6 below, with wind chills near 45 below. The temperature will continue to fall in the evening, with temperatures of 24 below and wind chills of 34 below.
There's a chance for snow on Saturday, with temperatures climbing above zero to single digits, but with wind chills still near 30 below.
For Minnesota road conditions, visit www.511mn.org.