Weather Forecast


Blizzard not one for the books

By Northern Plains' standards, Sunday's blizzard was not a record-breaker.

It met the meteorological definition of a blizzard, mostly because of high winds, but as Red River Valley blizzards can go, it was a bit wimpy. After all, the mercury got nowhere near zero and the snowfall, while substantial, piled up either side of a foot in most of the region - not enough to win a place in the memory files of great storms.

Nonetheless, the storm took on a high profile because it was the first snowstorm/blizzard in at least a couple of seasons that dumped so much snow and was accompanied by white out-generating winds. Since the memories of most people are short, the Sunday storm took on more heft than it really deserved when compared to blizzards of the past. The winter of 1996-97, for example, set the high bar for one of the worst recent winters in memory.

Still, a foot or more of snow across the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro is no small matter. Major highways were closed. While most businesses, government offices and schools are closed down on Sunday, most remained locked up through Monday noon as crews plowed city streets, cleared parking lots and opened rural roads and interstate highways. By noon Monday it was a near-normal post-blizzard day in the region.

Credit goes to the quick work of snow removal crews. As soon as the wind began to slacken - sometime after midnight Monday - city plows (in particular in Fargo) were out and opening major urban thoroughfares. By 7 a.m. the city's arterial streets and even many secondary routes were scraped clear and wide open to morning traffic (reduced, of course, because of all the closings).

To be sure, in a city the size of Fargo not everyone will be happy with the speed or style of snow removal. Everyone, it seems, wants their neighborhood cleared quickly, if not first. If a city snowplow truck hasn't made a pass right now, the complainers complain. So what else is new? It will take some time - a couple days likely - for crews to get to all the hundreds of neighborhood streets that were plugged by the snow. The logistics of snow removal in a growing city are what they are.

Complainers aside, the facts of the matter confirm the city got to work as soon as the storm abated, and by early Monday morning, major roadways were plowed to the pavement and open for traffic. That's good work.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead