This much snowfall in early October is rare, but not abnormal say weather experts
FARGO—Fargo could match or beat a record for a one-day snowfall during the first 15 days of October.
According to Weather Service as of early Wednesday morning, total storm snowfall amounts expected for various locations included: Fargo-Moorhead, 3-4 inches; Grand Forks, 4-6 inches; Valley City, 6-8 inches.
Locations like Hope in Steele County accumulated 5 inches of snow. The 3-4 inches expected in Fargo could match or beat the record on Oct. 7, 1894, for snowfall in the city from Oct. 1.- Oct. 15 at 3.3 inches.
Despite these numbers, meteorologist Amanda Lee from the National Weather Service out of Grand Forks isn't alarmed.
"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 Lee.
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," said Wheeler.
"The temperature drops to freezing every year. Sometimes you'll have snow accumulation as early as September, sometimes as late as February. Look at this early snow like that. Snow that does this doesn't happen every year, but it's not unusual. It's happened before and it will happen again. Nothing freakish or outlandish."
Wheeler doesn't expect Fargo to get much of an accumulation of snow unless bursts of snow come tonight when the temperature is below freezing.
The temperature in Fargo early afternoon Wednesday was just above freezing and the streets were full of wet slush more than anything.
"In early season snows that's a big deal. The ground is warm so takes a combination of cold air and heavy bursts of snow. Heavier snows fall and accumulate, the lighter snow will melt when it hits the ground," said Wheeler.
Lee reports, "As of 7 a.m this morning (the last official observation time), Grand Forks has had 1 inch of snow while Fargo has only seen a trace for the month of October."
Safety is always emphasized regardless of the snow sticking or not. The Weather Service offers these safety tips.
The main safety tips would be to refrain from travel if possible, especially in areas that are receiving the heaviest snowfall. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The heavy nature of the snow on trees with leaves still remaining (not usually the typical scenario in these parts) may cause some branches/limbs to fall so also keep that in mind also (possibility of power outages, etc.).