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Forum staff reports, Published January 29 2013

Snowfall forces many schools to cancel classes or start late; Fargo sets precipitation record

FARGO – Area residents are digging out after a weather system dropped almost half a foot of snow in the Fargo-Moorhead area and up to 12 inches on parts of west-central Minnesota on Monday and early today, prompting many schools to start late and some to cancel classes today.

The 0.53 inch of precipitation that fell at Fargo’s Hector International Airport on Monday through a combination of rain and snow set a record for the date, breaking the previous record of 0.29 inch set in 1996, according to the National Weather Service.

Fargo’s snowfall total was 5.4 inches, weather service meteorologist John Hoppes said.

Classes and buses were running two hours late at many area schools, and several Minnesota schools called off classes, including Frazee-Vergas, Lake Park-Audubon, Pelican Rapids and Perham-Dent public and private schools.

Doreen Tollefson, a dispatcher at the Becker County Sheriff’s Office in Detroit Lakes, Minn., said about 12 inches of snow fell over most of the county. No serious accidents had been reported, but there were reports of some stalled vehicles, she said.

Snowfall totals from southeastern North Dakota included 10 inches in Lidgerwood, 8.5 inches in Havana and 7 inches in Forman. The weather service received reports of 10.5 inches in Breckenridge, Minn., and 5.8 inches in Sabin, Minn.

Arctic air from Canada will roll south into the area on Wednesday, bringing a brief cold snap, Hoppes said. High temperatures in Fargo are expected to reach only 3 degrees on Wednesday, 7 below zero on Thursday and 4 degrees on Friday before recovering to 21 degrees on Saturday and 26 on Sunday.