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Snow, bitter cold in next week’s forecast

Wintry weather will be coming to the Bismarck area after Sunday with a snowstorm forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, and bitter cold by the weekend.

Patrick Ayd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said today and Sunday will be fairly mild with highs in the upper 30s.

But starting Sunday night, there will be a chance for snow throughout the week with a major storm hitting statewide Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’ll be seeing a fairly active period starting Sunday across the Northern Plains,” Ayd said.

Sunday night, areas from Crosby to Minot to Garrison could receive 2 inches of snow with about an inch likely in the Bismarck area.

Ayd said a storm building in the Pacific Northwest will slide into the region Tuesday, bringing with it the potential for moderate to heavy snowfall across North Dakota.

Ayd said the Weather Service’s threshold for heavy snowfall is between 6-12 inches in a 24-hour period.

Snowfall could be heavier in some areas, depending how the storm moves, he said.

“The exact track (of the storm) is still wobbling,” he said. But the coming days will give a better idea of where the heaviest snow will fall.

For now, Ayd said, most of the state can expect significant snowfall starting Tuesday.

Ayd said the storm system should push out of the state by late Wednesday, but behind it will be blast of cold arctic air and winds that could blow the new snow around, creating travel problems.

“By Friday, highs will have hard time making it up to zero around the state,” Ayd said.

On Wednesday night and Thursday, lows are expected to be zero to 5 above and highs 5-10 above.

What’s ‘normal’

Those new to North Dakota may be wondering what “normal” conditions are in December through February.

According to the Weather Service, the average temperature for that period in Bismarck is 15.7 degrees, with an average of 26.3 inches of snow.

Last winter in Bismarck, the average temperature for the same period was 16.9 degrees with 19.1 inches of snow.

In Dickinson, the average temperature is 18.2 degrees with 15.6 inches of snow.

Minot’s averages are 14.9 degrees with 23.4 inches of snow and Williston’s numbers are 13.9 degrees with 25.2 inches of snow.

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