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Forum wire reports, Published March 04 2013

Northeast ND taking brunt of winter storm

GRAND FORKS — Travel alerts have been issued for northeast and north central North Dakota and several schools have canceled classes today as a significant storm system moves into the Red River Valley today.

Meanwhile, a no-travel alert also has been extended in the Jamestown and Valley City areas, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation and North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Under travel alerts, motorists still may travel but may encounter areas of challenging winter weather driving conditions on roadways, according to NDDOT. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination and be alert to conditions that may make travel difficult, change rapidly, or cause travel delays. A travel alert has the potential to change to a no-travel advisory if conditions deteriorate.

Click here to see live weather conditions in downtown Fargo.

Much of northern North Dakota and west central and northwest Minnesota are under a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Tuesday, with 6 to 10 inches of snow or more expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Light to moderate snow will continue to fall today and tonight, ending late tonight or Tuesday morning.

The heaviest snowfall will be in the Devils Lake Basin, where 8 to 10 inches is expected to fall.

The northern Red River Valley and northwest Minnesota could see 5 to 8 inches of snow, while southeast North Dakota and west central Minnesota likely will see 4 to 7 inches, tapering to 1 to 3 inches from the Oakes, N.D, area into South Dakota, according to the latest weather service forecast.

The Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area expected a couple of inches of snow Monday from a separate storm system and up to 10 inches of snow from the main winter storm, mostly overnight into Tuesday morning, the weather service said.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had 98 flight cancellations on Monday morning and O'Hare International Airport 38, FlightAware.com reported.

Overall, the winter storm is expected to stretch across North Dakota, much of Minnesota, northern Iowa, western Wisconsin and then into northern Illinois later on Monday.

Northeastern Illinois, including Chicago, was forecast to receive 6 to 9 inches of snow overall, starting from Monday night and becoming more intense Tuesday, spanning the morning and evening rush hours, the weather service said.

The storm was forecast to move east, reaching the Ohio Valley, the mid-Atlantic states and the Washington area on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"This will be certainly the biggest snowstorm for the winter in this area," said National Weather Service forecaster Bruce Sullivan, who is in Maryland.

Forecasting models varied, but the system could dump anywhere from 12 to 20 inches (30 to 51 cm) of snow over northern Virginia and parts of Maryland, Sullivan said.

It will bring a cold, dry snow over the mountains of Virginia and a heavy, wet snow east of Washington, he said.

Here are some unofficial snowfall reports around northeast North Dakota, as reported to the weather service between 7 and 10 a.m. today:

• Sarles (near the Canadian border in Cavalier County): 12 inches.

• Devils Lake: 11 inches.

• Minnewaukan: 6 inches.

• Gilby (Grand Forks County): 6 inches.

• Cavalier (Pembina County): 5 inches.

• Baldhill Dam (Barnes County): 3.5 inches.

• Grand Forks: 2.5 inches.

• Hillsboro: 2 inches.

South-southeast winds of 10 to 20 mph will turn to the north today.

The falling snow and winds will combine to reduce road visibilities to a quarter-mile or less at times, making travel hazardous, especially in unsheltered areas, the weather service said.

By Tuesday morning, north winds will increase to 15 to 30 mph in eastern North Dakota and the Red River Valley, resulting in blowing snow and reduced visibility.