Lake Effect Snow Today Bringing Accumulating Snow to Bismarck

The combination of an upper level disturbance, along with northwest surface winds blowing air in the 20s F across the relatively warm, and unfrozen water of Lake Sakakawea, lead to the development of lake effect snow across south central North Dakota, including the city of Bismarck. Cold northwest winds blowing across the warm waters of Lake Sakakawea for a sufficient distance, especially along the Van Hook arm, leads to instability and increasing moisture in the low level air mass. As a result, a band of snow showers forms as is shown below in the radar image from 426 am CST this morning. The green arrows represent the direction from which the air was blowing, which was from the northwest off of the lake. One to three inches of snow fell across the northern portions of Bismarck this morning, with only a dusting near the airport. 2.4 inches of snow was measured 2 miles northwest of Beulah. Lake effect snow off of Lake Sakakawea is uncommon, however, not unheard of, and occurred earlier this year in October.


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