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Jaye Millspaugh, Forum Communications, Published November 21 2012

Forecasters warn of zero visibility on some roads on Thanksgiving

GRAND FORKS - Winter storms approaching the Red River Valley could disrupt Thanksgiving travel plans as the National Weather Service warns of zero visibility in some areas.

The agency’s Grand Forks office issued a winter weather advisory for regions as far west as northeast Montana and as far east as northeast Minnesota.

Forecasters expect an area of low pressure to sweep across the northern plains this morning with strong north to northwest winds.

“The pressure will continue to deepen, greatly increasing the amount of cold air and creating moisture that will lead to snowfall,” said Brad Hopkins, a meteorologist in the Grand Forks office. “The snow combined with strong north to northwest winds will create low visibility for anyone driving.”

Wind speed could reach 20 to 35 mph, with gusts to 45 mph.

The exact route of the storm remains uncertain, and it is unknown which locations will receive the greatest snowfall, but 2 to 5 inches is possible throughout the area, the agency said on its website.

For anyone still planning to travel, Hopkins recommends paying close attention to local forecasts.

“Make sure to let people know where you’re going. Take your time while driving and slow down,” he said.

Forecast

• Grand Forks: Today, there’s an 80 percent chance of rain or snow; with winds of 20 to 25 mph, gusting up to 36 mph; and a high of 30 degrees. Tonight, there’s a 60 percent chance of snow; with winds of 17 to 25 mph, gusting up to 36 mph; and a low of 13 degrees. Friday morning is expected to be mostly sunny; with winds of 10 to 17 mph, gusting up to 23 mph; and a high of 20 degrees.

• Devils Lake: Today, there’s an 80 percent chance of snow; with winds of 21 to 26 mph, gusting up to 37 mph; and a high of 27 degree. Tonight, there’s a 30 percent chance of blowing snow; with winds of 16 to 26 mph, gusting up to 37 mph; and a low of 12 degrees. Friday morning is expected to be mostly sunny; with winds of 11 to 16 mph, gusting up to 21 mph; and a high of 19 degrees.

• Langdon, N.D.: Today, there’s an 80 percent chance of snow; with winds of 23 to 28 mph, gusting up to 39 mph; and a high of 25 degrees. Tonight, there’s a 30 percent chance of blowing snow; with winds of 23 to 28 mph, gusting up to 39 mph; and a low of 8 degrees. Friday morning is expected to be mostly sunny; with winds of 7 to 17 mph, gusting up to 23 mph; and a high of 15 degrees.

• Thief River Falls: Today, there’s an 80 percent chance of rain or snow; with winds of 23 to 28 mph, gusting up to 39 mph; and a high of 33 degrees. Tonight, there’s a 70 percent chance of snow; with winds of 18 to 28 mph, gusting up to 39 mph; and a low of 11 degrees. Friday morning is expected to be partly sunny; with winds of 11 to 18 mph, gusting up to 24 mph; and a high of 18 degrees.

• Roseau, Minn.: Today, there’s an 80 percent chance of rain or snow; with winds of 17 to 22 mph, gusting up to 31 mph; and a high of 31 degrees. Tonight, there’s a 60 percent chance of snow; with winds of 17 to 24 mph, gusting up to 33 mph; and a low of 13 degrees. Friday morning is expected to be partly sunny; with winds of 11 to 17 mph, gusting up to 23 mph; and a high of 19 degrees.

To check forecasts: The weather service is at www.weather.gov.

To check road conditions: The North Dakota Department of Transportation is at www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is at www.511mn.org, or call 511.