Kansas City, Mo. – Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 – NOAA forecasters said the powerful, early-season snowstorm that spent previous days brewing in southern Canada, blanketed northern Minnesota with record amounts of snow. More heavy snow is forecast for today and Saturday with high pressure sweeping almost all active weather out of the country on Sunday.
The heaviest snow today is expected from northwest to southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle with lighter amounts in adjacent areas and over parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Forecasters said the coldest air mass of the season continues to surge south and east throughout today and will cover the eastern two-thirds of the Continental United States by the end of the weekend.
High temperatures are expected to remain in the 40s the next couple of days across the middle of the country. Overnight lows will continue dropping to the 20s, which has led to numerous freeze and frost warnings and advisories. The surge of cold air will eventually put an end to the anomalously warm temperatures experienced in the East, where the coldest air isn’t expected to arrive until Sunday.
As snow continues across the central Rockies, wintry precipitation is expected from south-central Montana across much of Wyoming and into the central High Plains. Forecasters said snow totals of 6 inches and more are expected across southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska through Sunday morning.
In an early morning summary of the snowstorm, staff at NOAA’s Eastern North Dakota National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, N.D., noted probable record snowfalls in several locations Thursday. The heaviest snow by far fell over Roseau County, Minn. Reports included 14 inches of snow 10 miles north-northwest of Badger, 12 inches two miles west of Badger and 7 inches at Roseau city. The lightest accumulation in Minnesota was 1.4 inches at Moorhead. North Dakota totals ranged from 1 inche at Fargo to 4 inches at Pembina.
Local officials reported numerous power outages throughout northwest Minnesota where the heavy, wet snow took snap tree branches that took down power lines. Power companies estimate two days to restore electricity.
The Minnesota state patrol blamed near-blizzard conditions for a head-on collision that killed a woman in the Thief River Falls area.
Heavy snow forecasts shift to the west and south for today and Saturday with heaviest accumulations expected in parts of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.
The Cheyenne, Wyo., forecast office issued a Winter Storm Watch in effect from this evening through Saturday afternoon for southeast Wyoming and the western Nebraska Panhandle. Prairie locations are likely to see 2-4 inches of snow with accumulations tapering off around mid-afternoon. Forecasters said to expect 4-8 inches of snow on eastern slopes of the Laramie Range and 8-10 inches over other parts of the range.
Forecasters at the Riverton National Weather Service office said western Wyoming isn’t likely to see much accumulating snow until after midnight tonight. With the first wave of the storm dropping rain and snow early this morning, forecasters said the next wave will leave less than an inch of snow in most areas with up to 2 inches possible in the Bighorn Mountains.
Heavier precipitation expected tonight will likely result in the first measureable snow of the year for Casper, Lander and Riverton. An inch or two of snow is expected south of Casper with an inch or less expected at the lower elevations east of the Divide. As much as 5 inches is possible in the bighorns, including Powder River Pass. Forecasters expect about 3 inches over South Pass in the Wind River Range.
See the Riverton storm briefing at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/riw/?n=weatherbriefing.
NOAA’s five-day precipitation forecasts are available at http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml.
Daytime high temperatures will remain above freezing, even in areas of heavy snow, according to forecasters. Highs mostly in the 40s today will warm to the 50s by Sunday. Some areas could reach the 70s on Columbus Day. A few high and low temperature forecasts include:
Monday highs are forecast to include 70 degrees at Denver, 67 at Omaha, 66 at Dodge City, 64 at Kansas City and Rapid City and 63 at Scottsbluff.
Local National Weather Service office web pages are available at http://weather.gov; select the desired location. All segments of the U.S. weather and flood forecasts and outlooks are available through the NOAAWatch briefing page at http://www.noaawatch.gov/briefing.php.
Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Slattery (816) 268-3135