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Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications Co., Published February 23 2012

Wind, snow on way for weekend

GRAND FORKS – A winter storm watch for much of western and central North Dakota from Saturday evening through Monday morning was announced Thursday by the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. But the Red River Valley should get snow, too.

The largest accumulations of snowfall are expected along and north of U.S. Highway 200, which goes east and west through the middle of the state, but the exact track of the storm system could change, said Bradley Hopkins of the weather service’s office in Grand Forks.

“We are expecting it to cross the state right now, but the exact track has yet to be determined,” Hopkins said Thursday evening. “So, as far as snowfall amounts, we don’t have anything nailed down yet.”

The storm moving out of the Rockies will hit the Northern Plains with up to 6 inches of snow in some spots.

Snow will begin in western North Dakota on Saturday and move east. Enough snow and high winds are possible to make travel hazardous with “significant areas of blowing and drifting snow,” especially in west and central North Dakota, according to the weather service.

Snow likely will be greater in central and western North Dakota, but some snowfall is 70 to 80 percent certain in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota later Saturday into Sunday.

Temperatures will rise to the mid-20s Saturday and fall only slightly to lows of 15 to 20 above Saturday night, with winds of 15 mph. Temperatures will fall by Sunday night to zero to 5 above.

Stephen J. Lee writes for the Grand Forks Herald.