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Old 10-05-2015, 11:12 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,231 times
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We're thinking about moving to the area for a year or two, and want to know more about what winter is actually like. I keep seeing that it's bitter cold and bad, but no real specifics. We're living in the South right now, but we just finished two years in NY so we're not new to the idea of winter, at least.

Anyway, average temperatures?

When does snowfall start?

How much snow should we expect?

When do things start thawing out and warming up? I enjoy gardening, so this one is important to me.

How quickly/efficiently are the roads cleared?
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:04 AM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,730 posts, read 9,081,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u-liri View Post
We're thinking about moving to the area for a year or two, and want to know more about what winter is actually like. I keep seeing that it's bitter cold and bad, but no real specifics. We're living in the South right now, but we just finished two years in NY so we're not new to the idea of winter, at least.

Anyway, average temperatures?

When does snowfall start?

How much snow should we expect?

When do things start thawing out and warming up? I enjoy gardening, so this one is important to me.

How quickly/efficiently are the roads cleared?
Hi

I am a meteorologist at National Weather Service Grand Forks, So I can answer.....

First off, of course what is cold and hot is always very subjective. Myself I am cold tolerant and heat in-tolerant, and thus handle cold a lot better than heat. I know many the opposite though....so my idea of cold outside is going to be a lot different than those on the other spectrum.

I will give you the "normals"....but understand our area of the country has wide variations season to season and year to year. As a rule of thumb, we take our "normal temps" and then go plus or minus 10 degrees from that to get our likely true "normal" spectrum.

One of our mets wrote this up on Fargo climate....very very detailed and all you want to know.
http://climate.umn.edu/pdf/fargo_climate.pdf



But to answer your question....
The lowest normal high temps occur in mid January....high 15 and low -3... using the +/10 rule would say on any given winter in mid January you can expect a high from 5 to 25F and a low of -13 to +7. We can certainly be colder....but the majority of the time will be in between these.

Snowfall on average is around 50 inches....again highly variable. some years 20-30 other years 70-80... again using the +/10 rule would give most winters with 40-60 inches of snow.

You can get the first snowfall in mid to late October....but it melts.... Halloween in particular can be highly variable weather wise. Some years it can be in the 40s and 50s at trick of treat time and other years teens and 20s. Snowfall that stays on the ground runs typically mid Nov to mid March. Again in some years with not much snow you can have little snow cover even at Christmas time.

Wind plays a major factor all seasons. The predominate wind direction is from the north-northwest and south-southeast due to the orientation of the Red River valley. the RRV is heavily agricultural and flat with rich clay soil. Gardens grow really great here with nutrient rich soil. The main frost-free period runs from mid May to early October. You can get late season and early season frost/freezes though. Memorial Day to Labor Day is the main growing season and risk of any frost is very low in that period. Many of my neighbors and co-workers grow gardens and end up with bountiful amounts of fruit, corn, vegetables, you name it. Speaking of the wind....the always present wind does create low wind chill values at times in the winter. As low as -25 to -45 below zero....though -40F and below (using the post 2000 graph) is pretty rare and may only occur once or twice each winter. -20 to -30F wind chill is much more common. City schools can be cancelled due to extreme cold...usually need wind chills below -45F and more likely below -50F. This is rare and only occurs every few years. Blowing snow and ground blizzards in the open country (outside of the city) are common each year.

City streets are kept clear quite well after a storm and a lot of sand or mix sand/salt is applied. But due to prolonged periods of below 32F air....you often will have ruts of ice/snow on the streets for a prolounged period. Not deep stuff, but that compacted ice/snow that can be quite slippery. Thus approach slow down areas, stop signs, lights very carefully and slowly. Driving fast at summer highway speed and then slowing down suddenly can almost assuredly mean you will slide right through.

Hope this helps. The key word is variable for our weather. Ours is usually a dry cold unlike the moist/wet cold often found in the eastern and southern states.


Dan
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:40 AM
 
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This helped tremendously, thank you. All in all, it sounds about what we were used to in NY, but with less humidity and snow and more wind. I know wind chill can make things pretty bad, but hey, I don't plan on being outside for long on days when it drops below -20. One of the benefits of indoor jobs. The growing season is also about the same. Supposedly we experience last frost in mid-April, but the two years I was there we got snow up until the first week of May. The joys of the crazy winters we've been having.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:37 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,730 posts, read 9,081,168 times
Reputation: 3454
Quote:
Originally Posted by u-liri View Post
This helped tremendously, thank you. All in all, it sounds about what we were used to in NY, but with less humidity and snow and more wind. I know wind chill can make things pretty bad, but hey, I don't plan on being outside for long on days when it drops below -20. One of the benefits of indoor jobs. The growing season is also about the same. Supposedly we experience last frost in mid-April, but the two years I was there we got snow up until the first week of May. The joys of the crazy winters we've been having.
If you are in upstate NY.....say Albany-Binghamton to Ithaca... a bit colder and drier. Wind does play a larger role than there....and less stormy in general (as you guys can be impacted by the noreasters). Much more of a dry cold...and in most years if very cold the sun is out. Now this winter upcoming for us looks a bit milder than normal but usually if milder means cloudier. Whereas your snows in NY state may often be of the heavy type..... Fargo and our area often is in the cold and away from the main storm tracks in the heart of the cold season and thus we get a lot more of the half inch to 2 inch type light fluff snows. That said the wind will whip the snow around pretty bad....and thus newbies to our area encouraged to live in the cities vs rural areas as visibilities and travel conditions can be hugely different.

Having 3 younger kids in school....the hardest part is dressing them for school with snow bibs, boots, gloves, hat. Vs me I can tolerate cold well and can just grab a medium jacket if going out in all but the coldest of days.

Snowblowing/shoveling though is when I have to dress up as using a snowblower and having it blow back into your face is not pleasant, even for me
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:42 PM
 
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I think winter in Fargo is cold.
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Old 10-18-2015, 10:21 AM
 
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When asked how much it snows in Fargo by someone considering a move there, the former Fargo resident said, "It doesn't snow in Fargo. It snows through Fargo."

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