...Warmer Weather Will Not Begin An Early Snowmelt Cycle...
A significant change in the weather pattern will develop across the Northern Plains over the next several days. After a prolonged period of generally below normal temperatures, much warmer air will move into the Red River Valley and Lakes Region. Temperatures are expected to climb into the middle to upper 30s for the weekend and into the middle of next week. This much warmer weather will have minor impacts on the snow pack. However, it will not initiate any snow melt runoff into the river system. The warmer weather will serve to compress the snow field making it more dense. The melting that does occur will be superficial, with any melt water being trapped in fields, ditches and other drainage systems.
Even with daytime highs above freezing, nighttime lows should drop below freezing most nights, stopping any melt. The snow pack needs to warm to 32 degrees to start melting and currently due to the average temperature over the last few weeks,the temperature across the snow pack is generally near zero degrees. Climatologically, it is not uncommon for temperatures to warm above freezing in mid February. In fact, record high temperatures range from the mid 40s to low 50s during the next week. Beyond this upcoming warm spell, colder air is forecast to again move back into the region by late next week. The 8 to 14 day outlook, which is valid from February 18th through February 24th calls for more normal temperatures. Normal high temperatures climb into the upper 20s with nighttime lows in the upper single digits to lower teens.
Your NOAA's National Weather Service will monitor the weather conditions over the next several days and make any adjustments to the forecast as needed.