By Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co., Published October 02 2012
Snow could be heading our way by ThursdayGRAND FORKS – Snow in October?
In the vernacular, you betcha!
A cold front that is expected to move into Red River Valley today likely will bring some rain and possibly even snow by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The group’s Grand Forks office forecasts the possibility of some snow accumulation by the end of Thursday, depending on how the system develops and how fast the precipitation falls.
A weather service meteorologist said the snow is most likely to fall north of Interstate 94, but snow south of Fargo could still be possible. The most is expected in the far north, where they forecast 4 to 6 inches near Lake of the Woods and extending up into southern Canada.
The majority of the Red River Valley will maybe see an inch, meteorologist Vince Godon said. Roads should stay clear in the Fargo metro area, he said, and highs will stay in the 40s and 50s for the remainder of the week and into the weekend.
So, when was the earliest measurable snowfall?
Records going back to 1940 show that, in the Red River Valley and the Devils Lake Basin, it was 62 years ago, on Oct. 2, 1950. Another notable snowstorm in those areas happened on Oct. 7-8, 1985.
The weather service defines measurable snow as 1 inch in depth or greater.
The earliest measurable snowfall in the broader region was on Sept. 11, 1989, in Hansboro, N.D., a small community near the Canadian border, about 40 miles north of Cando, N.D.
Western North Dakota has seen heavy snows in mid- to late September.
On average, the first full inch of snow isn’t seen until Nov. 11 in Fargo and Nov. 15 in Grand Forks.
In Fargo, at least some snow has fallen in every month of the year except July and August, according to records that date back to 1880, Godon said.
In Grand Forks, July is the only month that hasn’t seen snow, said meteorologist Bill Barrett, according to records that also date back to the late 1800s. However, those events might have been as little as a trace of snow.
“Based on the climatological record available, measurable snow is not all uncommon in early October,” said Mark Ewens, weather service climate forecaster in Grand Forks. “Typically, snow that falls early in the season melts off and may even be followed by a period of much milder weather.”
Forum reporter Erik Burgess contributed to this report.
Kevin Bonham writes for the Grand Forks Herald