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Record snow in parts of ND; Valley City gets more than a foot

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A bicyclist rides through the snow along Main Avenue in Fargo on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. David Samson/The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — Precipitation totals here Wednesday, Oct. 10, fell short of breaking any records, but up in Grand Forks, the heavy snowfall 5 inches thick smashing one that was 97 years old.

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks said Oct. 10, 1921, was when the previous record of 3 inches was set. Fargo’s record for the same day is 2.5 inches set back in 1935.

On Wednesday, Fargo only accumulated just 1.6 inches of precipitation that was more liquid than snow. That did not match the record high for the day, nor did it come close to matching the 3.3 inches of snow that fell on Oct. 7, 1894, which set the one-day record for snowfall in Fargo between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15.

“While accumulating snowfall this early in the season isn't abnormal in and of itself, snowfall accumulations of 3 inches or more in one day is somewhat rare this early,” said Amanda Lee, meteorologist with the Weather Service.

Snow was heaviest in northeast North Dakota between Grand Forks and Valley City, where 13 inches of snow fell Wednesday, according to Nick Carletta with the Weather Service.

“To get a foot of snow in October is relatively rare, but it does happen every half-dozens year,” said meteorologist Greg Gust.  

WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler says early season snow storms like this tend to have heavier snows and thin strands of where it accumulates.

“The thing about these early snow storms, they tend to produce narrow lines of heavy snow. When temperatures are warmer you get bursts of heavier snow,” Wheeler said.

Much of the Red River Valley was greeted with heavy, wet snow Wednesday morning, but the first significant snowfall of the season wasn't expected to hang around for long.

The snow was expected to move out of the region overnight Wednesday and head into drier conditions as the week moves on. High temperatures will be in the mid-to-high 30s and rising into the 40s by Friday, Oct. 12.

Less than an inch of snow could fall in areas of Devils Lake and Grand Forks and into Bemidji, Minn.

Greg Gust with the Weather Service said over the weekend, the region is “lucky if we get up to 40” degrees. Areas impacted by more snowfall will likely have temps in the lower to middle 30s.

Wednesday’s weather complicated travel and force some cancellations.

Steele County issued a no-travel advisory along with eastern portions of the state due to slushy roadways that would turn to slick conditions as temps dipped.

Valley City State University closed its campus and canceled classes for Wednesday, as did Valley City public schools.

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