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Archie Ingersoll, Published April 01 2014

Monday's snowfall totals vary dramatically across region

FARGO – Snowfall totals from Monday’s storm varied drastically across the region, with Fargo and Moorhead seeing only a few inches while spots farther north accumulated a foot or far more.

The band of the heaviest snow extended from southwest North Dakota to the northeast part of the state and into northwest Minnesota, missing the Fargo-Moorhead area, WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler said.

“Our area was southeast of all the heavy snow,” he said. “South and east of Fargo, snow amounts were generally even lighter.”

While Fargo and Moorhead had relatively low snowfall totals, 3.5 and 2.5 inches, respectively, there was a surplus of strong winds. Hector International Airport in Fargo recorded a wind gust of 51 mph, the National Weather Service said.

“We had a blizzard here,” Wheeler said. “It didn’t get as serious in the city because the snow wasn’t heavy, the roads didn’t get plugged.”

The blizzard prompted authorities to close Interstate 29 from the Canadian border to Brookings, S.D., and Interstate 94 from Fargo to Bismarck. The roads were reopened Tuesday morning.

The weather service reported that Grand Forks had a foot of snow, and about 40 miles to the north, Grafton received 20 inches. About 50 miles northeast of Grand Forks, Thief River Falls, Minn., saw 18 inches, according to the weather service. Wheeler said that in some cases, the distance between one area with 6 to 12 inches and a place with 1 to 2 inches was only about 20 miles.

He said the spring storm, known as a “Colorado low,” had a low-pressure center that moved northeast across eastern South Dakota and southwest Minnesota.

“The heaviest snow was set up in a band a couple hundred miles northwest of the low-pressure center, which is the way these storms typically work,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Archie Ingersoll at (701) 451-5734