Parts of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are receiving a blanket of snow in the wake of a powerful, early cold season Arctic front. This front is headed east and will bring a radical change in the weather to the eastern half of the U.S., dropping temperatures up to 30 degrees
It’s snowing now in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, where some areas could receive upwards of half a foot.
“There’s little doubt that 5-10” of heavy, wet snow will fall on northwestern Minnesota by midday Friday,” writes Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas.
Winter storm warnings cover the northern Red River Valley of northwest Minnesota into tonight. In Grand Forks, North Dakota - near the Minnesota border, the 9 a.m. (CDT) observation indicated moderate snow and 33 degrees.
Totals so so far include 2” in Grand Forks and 3” in Dickinson.
Although it may seem early for such substantial snow in this region, the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks says this is not particularly unusual.
Based on the climatological record available, measurable snow is not at all uncommon in early October. In fact, a glance through the data show that measurable snows have occurred in September
In large part due to this cold shot and its flanking storm, 2.6 percent of the Lower 48 had snow cover as of early this morning, the second highest percentage in the last 10 years on this date (hat tip OpenSnow on Facebook).
The snow will exit this region by Friday moving up into Canada, but the cold front out ahead of it will continue to plow southeastward.
Chicago is expected to have a high temperature of 82 today, but just 54 Friday along with gusty northwest winds behind the front.
By Saturday, the front will reach the East Coast with one more day of 70s and 80s before they are replaced by 50s and 60s Sunday.
In Washington, D.C., highs Saturday will reach well into the 70s before struggling to reach 60 Sunday as the jet stream will have carved out a huge trough over eastern North America, allowing cold air to plunge southeastward.