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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 19 2012

Fargo-Moorhead avoids pre-Christmas snow smackdown

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead area is expected to have a calm Christmas, but much of the Midwest will likely be dealing with a coal-in-the-stocking blizzard today, with high winds and anywhere from 6 and 18 inches of snow.

The storm barreled out of Colorado on Wednesday, after dumping more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains.

It churned through Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa and was expected to grind northeast today, with wind gusts of 40-50 mph causing blowing and drifting snow and whiteout conditions in some areas.

A narrow band from northwest Iowa to central Wisconsin could see up to 18 inches of snow, AccuWeather reported.

“Travel will be pretty much hazardous in that neck of the woods,” said Brad Hopkins, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Forks.

Holiday travelers flying or driving in the Midwest should be prepared for delays, Hopkins said.

Given the track of the storm, it could affect flights at airports in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, AccuWeather reported.

Hopkins said the Fargo-Moorhead area would probably only get brushed by the storm, with a few flurries and colder weather.

Today will be mostly cloudy in the F-M area, with a high of 10 to 15 degrees and a low of 5 to 10 below zero, according to the NWS forecast.

Friday should be partly sunny with highs of 15 to 20 degrees and lows of zero to 5 degrees.

Highs in the teens and lows near zero should continue through Christmas, Hopkins said, with light snow Christmas Day.

Santa cut North Dakota and northwest Minnesota some slack on this storm, Hopkins said.

“It looks like he’s smiling on us. We’re not going to get beat up like they are in the central Plains. We’re not getting the coal in the stocking this year,” he said.

Overall, Fargo-Moorhead is running about 4 inches behind its average snowfall.

Normally, the area has had 14.8 inches of snowfall by this point. This season, 10.9 inches have been recorded so far, Hopkins said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583