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Mike Nowatzki, Published February 10 2009

Rain continues in F-M as heavy snow falls in western ND; Monday weather sets records

FARGO – About half an inch of rain has fallen on Fargo-Moorhead since Sunday, and more is expected before it turns to snow later tonight, the National Weather Service says.

Meanwhile, heavy snow is pounding parts of west-ern North Dakota, with about 12 inches reported by 6 a.m. in Fortuna in the far northwest corner of the state.

The mercury never fell below freezing Monday in Fargo, setting a daily re-cord for the highest minimum temperature, accord-ing to the National Weather Service.

Monday’s low temperature of 34 degrees broke the previous record of 30 de-grees set on Feb. 9, 1976.

The 0.26 inch of rainfall that fell Monday also set a precipitation record for the day, beating the previous record of 0.24 inch set in 1894, the weather service said.

Total rainfall from the storm that started Sunday night measured 0.49 inch as of 6:30 a.m. today, said Peter Rogers, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Forks, N.D.

The rain is expected to continue until after the evening commute in the Fargo-Moorhead area, when it will turn over to snow. Little accumulation is expected, Rogers said.

“It’s kind of petered out a little bit, so maybe 1, 2 inches for snow, and that’s being pretty generous,” he said.

A dense fog advisory was extended until 2 p.m. today for portions of the northern Red River Valley and Devils Lake basin, but otherwise travel conditions in the valley are fair, he said.

“We started out warmer this morning, so whatever’s been falling has been staying as liquid,” he said.

That isn’t the case in western North Dakota, however.

Snowfall totals as of about 7 a.m. included 8.3 inches in Williston, 6 inches in Dickinson, 9 inches in Watford City, 7.5 inches near Stanley and 4 inches in Hebron, said Bill Abeling, a weather service meteorologist in Bismarck.

“There’s a band of snow that remains pretty stationary across the western third of North Dakota,” he said.

That band will lose intensity as it moves east this afternoon, he said. Two to 4 inches of snow is expected across central North Dakota.

Strong winds also will cause some drifting out west, although the heavier snow won’t blow around as much, Abeling said. The wind speed in Hettinger at 8 a.m. was 33 mph, with gusts up to 41 mph.