By Brian Gehring
A strong clipper system rolling through the state this morning is a harbinger of things to come later in the week.
Bill Abeling, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said a more potent clipper system with stronger winds will hit Wednesday night into Thursday, creating potential travel problems across the state.
“It’s going to be an active week, actually,” Abeling said.
A high wind advisory is in effect for western and north central North Dakota including the Minot area through 9 this morning, he said.
The northwestern part of the state was getting a mix of precipitation Monday afternoon and that system was expected to push to the southeast and bring up to an inch of new snow.
Abeling said strong winds of 30-40 mph with higher gusts in the Bismarck area and elsewhere will create blowing and drifting snow and visibility issues for travelers.
He said mild temperatures over the weekend crusted over the snowpack, but strong winds could peel off the top layer of crust, exposing lighter snow beneath that could blow and drift across roadways.
Temperature-wise, Abeling said today will be cooler than Monday’s temperatures in the 30s, with highs in the teens to 20 degrees.
He said Wednesday, temperatures will rebound to around 30 with a 50/50 chance of snow in morning and winds picking up throughout the day.
Abeling said Wednesday night into Thursday winds are expected from the northwest between 30-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph or stronger possible across much of the area.
The up and down temperatures and blowing and drifting snow could mean icy road conditions and Abeling said motorists should be prepared for changing road conditions.
By Friday morning lows could dip to around zero again before a warming trend works its way into the state pushing highs to around 30 by Sunday.
“This is a real roller coaster we’re going to be on,” Abeling said.
A road condition report is available from the Department of Transportation at http://www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2/ or by dialing 511 on any phone.
That report indicates only the condition of the roadways, not necessarily visibility which could affect travel, Abeling said.
Motorists should check with other sources for additional travel information or visit the National Weather Service website at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/bis.