Blizzard/Ice Storm to impact region Sunday and Monday

A CHRISTMAS DAY BLIZZARD/ICE STORM looks to take aim on the northern plains Christmas Day into Monday. A BLIZZARD WARNING has been issued for most of North Dakota, except the southeast corner. A WINTER STORM WATCH for much of the rest of the area. These are in effect for Christmas Day until noon Monday. In the BLIZZARD WATCH very heavy snow with totals over 8 inches possible and winds gusting from 40 to 60 MPH will create whiteout conditions making travel extremely hazardous if not impossible. In the WINTER STORM WATCH area, a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is possible, changing to all snow late Christmas night. This area will be susceptible to an ICE STORM with accumulations up to 0.75 inches and 2 to 6 inches of snow are possible. This will make traveling hazardous. Power outages are a possibility with the storm. Stay tuned for updates!

STORM TIMELINE:

CHRISTMAS DAY AT NOON: Heavy snow western and central Dakotas, with rain, thunder, sleet and freezing rain in eastern ND and western Minnesota. Some of the heaviest precipitation bands will move through the region between noon and 6 pm, so rapid snow and ice accumulation will be likely through Sunday evening. The strongest winds in this period will be in the western and northern Dakotas.

CHRISTMAS DAY AT 6 PM: ICE ACCUMULATION in the valley and points east could be up to 0.25 to 0.75 inches! FARGO-MOORHEAD could very well see accumulation of ice! Heavy snow and wind will bring BLIZZARD conditions into eastern North Dakota, especially from Grand Forks to Devils Lake south to Carrington and Valley City. Snowfall already over 12 inches in portions of central North Dakota with additional snow likely. DO NOT TRAVEL if you do not need to.

CHRISTMAS NIGHT OVERNIGHT INTO MONDAY: This will be the most dangerous conditions in eastern North Dakota and Minnesota. Freezing rain shifts to eastern Minnesota and most of our area will see snow (heavy at times) with increasing winds to 50+mph. Wind shifts to northerly across most of the region. Blizzard conditions likely. Conditions should improve throughout the day on Monday as the storm exits, especially in the afternoon. Snowfall totals look to be between 8 to 18 inches from Jamestown to Devils Lake to Grand Forks and Hallock. Isolated snowfall close to 2 FEET possible with drifts in this area up to 8 feet! From Lisbon to Fargo to Roseau expect 2-8 inches. Rapidly decreasing amounts of snow southeast of this line. However, significant ICE ACCUMULATIONS will be possible from Oakes to Fargo to Wahpeton to Detroit Lakes to Bemidji and points south all along the I-94 corridor to Minneapolis .

SATURDAY: Quiet and dry for most with temperatures in the 20s to low 30s. Increasing clouds late in the day from the south. There will be a slight chance of light snow along the international border late in the day. Be sure you or your loved ones have completed there travel and are where they want to be by late Saturday night.

CHRISTMAS DAY & MONDAY: Bands of rain, sleet (ice pellets), freezing rain and graupel (snow pellets) push into the Red River Valley from the south by NOON. Some THUNDER will be possible as this happens!! ICE ACCUMULATION will be likely into the evening. West of the Red River Valley, expect heavy snow and gusty east and northeast winds to create BLIZZARD CONDITIONS THERE. By evening, most freezing rain and sleet will exit east after leaving up to 3/4 inch of ice! Overnight, Blizzard conditions push into and through the northern Red River Valley. Some of this snow could be very heavy, especially in the northwestern valley. Gusts could top 60 mph in central North Dakota, and be over 50 mph here in the Valley. Travel may become extremely difficult, if not impossible. Conditions will gradually improve into Monday afternoon as the storm exits. 8-18 inches possible in the James River Valley into the northern Red River Valley, including Grand Forks and the Devils Lake Basin. Snowfall amounts rapidly decrease south and east of this area. Stay tuned to the latest forecast for the holiday weekend.

TUESDAY INTO THURSDAY: We'll see some colder air behind the Christmas storm, but no major cold outbreak. After bottoming out below zero in most areas early Tuesday, we'll rebound with highs in the teens by afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday look slightly warmer.

FRIDAY: A cold day across the region with lows below zero for many and highs in the single digits for most.

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FARGO 7 DAY PLANNER:

CHRISTMAS EVE: Mostly cloudy. Good travel conditions for most of region. High: 25.

CHRISTMAS DAY: Mostly cloudy with snow, sleet and freezing rain likely. Ice accumulation possible in town, up to 0.3". Ice could change to snow by early afternoon and then transition BACK to freezing rain again late. Increasing wind and snow intensity overnight. DANGEROUS TRAVEL. Wind: S 15-30 becoming N 20-45 into the night. Low: 20. High: 34

MONDAY: Snow continues for at least the first half of the day. Accumulation of snow in Fargo area between 2-6 inches. More north and west of Fargo. Cold northwest wind at 25-45 mph with falling temperatures. Gradually decreasing wind and snow chances in afternoon. Low: 16. High: 18 with falling temperatures.

TUESDAY: Partly cloudy and seasonably cold. Low: -2. High: 17.

WEDNESDAY: Partly cloudy. Low: 12. High: 28.

THURSDAY: Partly cloudy. Low: 14. High: 22.

FRIDAY: Brrr! Partly cloudy and cold. Low: 2. High: 10.