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Dave Roepke, Published March 24 2011

Roepke: Thundersnow should cinch weather title

Hmm, wonder what that thundersnow is going to do to the next flood forecast. Weather.com voters, please read that last sentence again.

The winter-weary people of Fargo have been forced to ponder if the Tuesday storm featuring thunder, lightning, an inch or so of hail-like ice pellets, drift-whipping winds and a foot of snow will exacerbate the risk of a third consecutive major spring flood.

That’s all the argument Fargo ought to need in The Weather Channel’s meteorological take on March Madness, which is pitting cities head-to-head in a 64-burb bracket to crown one town’s skies the scariest.

This isn’t the only place to get a taste of whiteout lightning, but the effect the storm might have on the flood ratchets the impact.

It collected the ravages of winter, spring and summer for convenient one-stop bellyaching. Throw in a sub-zero tornado that somehow caused drunken drivers to blow red lights, and the whole shebang would’ve included all of our worst naturally occurring phenomena.

So before you forget, go to weather.com, find the link to America’s Toughest Weather City Tournament and show some support for the home team. If only for the vacation time wasted on taking snow days in spring, the title is deserved.

(As sharp-minded readers may recall, a highly unscientific study by yours truly published in January in The Forum settled this question, in part. Fargo has the worst winters, like, anywhere. It is too true!)

Voting continues until 4 a.m. Friday, and the Final Four will be announced later in the day Friday.

Fargo’s in the Elite Eight of the bracket, matched up against Minneapolis in the Midwest’s title ... game?

It may seem like the F-M would be akin to a Butler or Gonzaga, a successful mid-major happy enough to be still in it that getting bounced now would be OK.

An online poll by The Weather Channel earlier this week also gives the impression Fargo would be a Cinderella, as it didn’t even make the list of worst 2010-11 winters while the Twin Cities ranked second.

Actually, Fargo is the Duke of gloomy forecasts.

Though the bracket was filled with big cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City, no place in the Midwest racked up more votes in any round than Fargo.

Among all four regions, only Cleveland’s first-round showing has bested Fargo in any of the first three rounds. Cleveland was then upset by tiny Bradford, Pa., proving it can choke in the playoffs with or without LeBron James.

If Fargo gets past Minneapolis, it could get dicey.

The competitors would switch from chilly cousins to the frontier of Alaska and the mountains of eastern California. How do you stack the cold/snow/floods of the plains against the heat/heat/heat of Texas or New Orleans’ constant threat of extermination?

It’s simple. Got one question for them: Would you like some thundersnow?


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535