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Dave Olson, Published December 02 2013

Early December looking miserable, weather-wise

FARGO – The curtain is rising on winter in the Red River Valley, with the promise of perhaps a foot of snow and subzero temperatures before the week is out.

The National Weather Service said the forecast hints at near-blizzard conditions tonight into Wednesday, with cold temperatures creeping onto the stage Wednesday and sticking around for the foreseeable future.

And by cold, they’re talking low temperatures Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning in the teens to possibly 20s below zero.

“We are for sure going into the heart of winter perhaps a bit earlier than we’d all like to see,” said Peter Rogers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

Rogers said parts of the region were expected to get 2 to 5 inches of snow or more by late Monday, with the Fargo-Moorhead area located in the middle of the expected swath of snow.

Due to the anticipated snow, the area was under a winter-weather advisory through early today.

Rogers said a fresh round of snow will start late this morning or early this afternoon that could result in additional accumulations of more than 6 inches,

And although winds will start out calm today, they are expected to shift from the east to the north this afternoon and ultimately reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph with higher gusts.

Rogers said there is the potential for blizzard-like conditions tonight into Wednesday, with the entire region expected to be under a winter storm watch from 6 a.m. today until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Conditions could make Wednesday the worst travel day of an already rough weather week, said Daryl Ritchison, meteorologist with WDAY TV.

Ritchison said that as temperatures fall later this week, winds could create wind chills in the neighborhood of minus 40 to minus 45.

And bitterly cold temps could hang around well into next week, he said.

“This first half of December looks very cold,” he said.

“This week and next week, it’s going to be tough weather. Not always snow but dealing with a lot of cold,” Ritchison added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555