After the storm

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The snow that accompanied the recent storm fell in a gentle fashion that caused it to pile up on tree branches, fences and structures of all types. Scenes such as this one greeted people throughout the Minot region Tuesday morning.

As storms go, at least in the Minot area, the one that struck the city Sunday through Monday probably won’t be remembered very long. It never quite lived up to its billing, yet dumped a good amount of snow over a wide region.

The National Weather Service said the storm was a big one, and they were right. They also said the amount of snowfall in any given area was very much dependent upon a degree or two of temperature as the thermometer hovered around the freezing mark while the storm got underway. The result was drizzling rain, enough to put a slick coat of the ground before that temperatures dropped just enough for the rain to turn to snow – lots of it.

Minoters were faced with about six inches on the ground at mid-afternoon Monday. With the temperature just below the freezing mark, many city residents opted to do some shoveling or snowblowing during the middle of the storm in the hope of lessening the task later. It was heavy work due to the amount of slushy snow lying underneath a fluffy covering, but the warm temperatures and light winds proved more than agreeable.

The snowfall continued well into the night Monday. By Tuesday morning it was evident the storm had passed. It left behind a heavy layer of snow clinging to fences, vehicles, tree branches and the like, an appearance that made the storm more memorable for its artwork than its misery.

Snowfall totals in Minot varied from 8-12 inches, depending upon where and when the measurement was taken. The North Central Research and Extension Center south of Minot reported nine inches of snow in the 24-hour period ending at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. Cooperative observers for the National Weather Service throughout the state generally reported less than 10 inches of snow during a similar time period. In short, the storm totals closely matched the warnings issued by the NWS.

Fortunately most of the state, Minot included, was spared strong winds that led to blizzard-like conditions over much of South Dakota and extreme southern portions of North Dakota.

Minot Police were kept busy during the storm responding to an abundance of calls of traffic accidents and stalled or stuck vehicles. A total of 15 accidents were called in to police, along with 18 reports of stranded motorists.

“It was high, way high for an average day,” said Sgt. Kevin Wilk, Minot Police. “That compares to summer driving when we might have one crash a day.”

Overall though, motorists who had to be on the roadways in the city did a pretty good job of commuting from work to home while the storm was at its peak late Monday.

“Captain Klug issued a No Travel Advisory at 4:41 Monday afternoon,” said Wilk. “I’d say within two hours most people were listening to it.”

A benefit from the storm will come in the amount of moisture it contained. Soil conditions throughout the region are very dry on the heels of last year’s drought and the lack of snowfall this winter. While there is not enough moisture associated with the recent storm to make a serious impact on soil moisture conditions, it is an improvement and cause for optimism for area ranchers and farmers.

Explaining WRN

The WRN Ambassador logo that accompanies many weather related stories on these pages signifies that the Minot Daily News is part of a Weather Ready Nation. WRN ambassadorship is achieved by designation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Weather Service, as a commitment to helping prepare our readers for extreme weather, water and climate events. Those events include record breaking snowfall, widespread flooding, devastating drought and tornadoes.

As a WRN partner, the Minot Daily News endeavors to inform the public about adverse weather events so they can make informed decisions to save lives and property and enhance livelihoods. It is an effort to move people, and society, toward heeding warnings, taking action and influencing their circles of family friends and social network to act appropriately. – Kim Fundingsland