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Old 01-21-2010, 02:06 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,341 posts, read 9,988,245 times
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I've touched on this with past questions I've asked about North Dakota, but I need to be more specific as I try to find 'my dream area.' I've been set on North Dakota for a while... but I have these nagging details that keep bothering me.

I like winter. I like the cold. It wouldn't bother me if it were cold/winter all the time (perhaps I should go to Greenland). I have a real hard time with extended heat (90's to 100's plus) for long periods. Below 80 all summer suits me find. In fact, 50's for highs all summer would be great.

It looks as though the Bottineau area doesn't get as hot, as often, for as long of intervals as does other parts of North Dakota. It also looks like there is a bit more in the way of trees and hilly terrain. This all sounds great to me.

But the one thing I'm still a bit concerned with is that even though ND may be colder than where I live, you guys get less snow in most places than where I live, and you also get these winter 'warm ups' that melts the snowpack at times through the winter. That sort of thing happens around my neck of the woods quite often, also. It can be in the teens and twenties for highs for weeks and all of a sudden, it's fifty degrees in January. I HATE that (like right now for instance ). When it's winter, I want winter. I want the snow to stay for the winter.

So... with that in mind, it looks like the snowfall in the Bottineau area is comparable to where I am now, but does it stick around for the winter? Or does it melt away several times between snowstorms over the course of winter? If so, this is one thing that I may not like about the area and that might cause UP Michigan, northern Maine, or parts of Alaska to be a better fit for me. They get TONS of snow and it tends to stay through the winter. I'm definitely a winter person who likes winter to be winter... well, for the whole winter!

So, how deep is the snow for how much of the year on average around Bottineau???

Thanks for being patient with these frequent questions...
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Cold Frozen North
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Hey Chris,

I can agree with pretty much everything you want. I myself will be moving to the Williston, North Dakota area in the next year or 2. My ideal would be for winter to never have any temperature go above freezing so that the snow that falls sticks around until spring. But always add fresh snow to keep it clean. I don't know if there is somewhere in the lower 48 where that exists. The area of Bottineau (located in the North Central part of the state) that you're interested in has winter temperatures slightly lower than Williston which is in the Northwest part of the state. The coldest area of North Dakota would be in the Northeast (about 100 miles to the east of Bottineau). The coldest average temperature is in Langdon. My interest in Langdon was peeked when I heard that it was one of the coldest spots on average in the lower 48. I actually went a little out of my way to drive through Langdon on my way to Williston last year.

These mid-winter warmups that occur are more likely in western and central North Dakota. You get the chinook winds that bring warmth from the Rocky mountains. I don't believe that their effect goes much east of Minot. You might have to go a couple of hundred miles north of North Dakota to hit a spot that never goes above freezing in winter. That would place you firmly into Canada. Certain areas of interior Alaska would definitely qualify. The only 2 other possibilities might be UP of Michigan or perhaps extreme northern Maine. Although I think northeast North Dakota or northwest Minnesota are the most likely in the lower 48. I think that North Dakota is more known for a fair amount of wind, moderate snowfall and very cold temperatures with the occasional blizzard in winter.

The warmest area of North Dakota would be the southwest corner. Places close to Bowman.

Also, I've noticed over the years that even if the temperature doesn't go above freezing doesn't mean that the snow pack doesn't shrink. There is a chemical process called sublimation that converts solids (like snow) to gas (like water vapor) without ever the transition to the liquid state. I believe that this process occurs with snow even on cold days, especially with the sun out.

Dan needs to step in here to add more to my rant and likely more scientific explanations and observations.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:15 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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Chris

As for Bottineau...that area is in the coldest part of the state and snowcover almost always sticks around all winter long. It would be very very rare not to have snowcover from Dec 1 to Mar 15. I would say that there is a better chance for northern Maine to loose its snow than Bottineau as Bottineau area is quite a bit colder than northern Maine on avearge.

This current winter and last years winter have been exceptions. Both winters have seen widespread snowcover and lasting snowcover over all of the state lasting the majority of the winter. In forecasting for the area for the past 11 years, often you will see warmer air make it to the Missouri river but have a hard time making it past that. Bismarck is known for having times in Dec Jan or Feb without snowcover and same for Dickinson. Williston more iffy and Minot only rarely. East and north of a Williston to Garrison to Jamestown to Aberdeen line you almost always have snowcover around all through the winter.

Now depth of snowcover usually isnt great....in some winters it may be 2 or 3 inches deep unlike the UP of Michigan or northern Maine which can get large storms....our winters can be dry but cold. We can get a couple of larger storms each winter but many snow events are the 1 or 2 inches type but being cold it doesnt melt much.

As for HighplainsDrifter....you have excellent info and you are correct. Snow depth can gradually fall even if it is very cold due to sublimation and compaction.

Our snow is often the dry stuff and can blow around a lot and thus snow depth (snow cover) can be quite variable. Like right now in my neighborhood, which is a new one with few trees. The Christmas storm we had north winds. In areas where the the wind whipped the snow around buildings...there is just a light covering in small spots...but then you got 5 feet on the north side of houses as snow blew off the roof and drifted there.

As for actual snow depths that Bottineau to Landgon area would average in most Jan-Feb 8 to 12 inches depth....but of course it can vary greatly due to drifting as mentioned above. Ditches can be very full while farmfields that are in open land can have less. In most cases....snow cover is here stay by Veterans Day or Thanksgiving and then the melt begins in late March and early April. How fast the melt is is highly variable year to year.

The one thing though about our winters is the persistant cold. Outside of interior Alaska nowhere do you have the peristant cold as you do here. You might hit 32F once between Christmas and Valentines Day and boy that is a pretty exciting time in northern and eastern ND. Bismarck and points south and west can be quite a bit warmer. So when looking at temps dont use Bismarck for a comparison or even Minot....use Devils Lake ND (DVL) or even Brandon Manitoba (CYBR).

Hope this helps...

Dan
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:17 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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One more thing Chris

If you want frequent snow storms....the UP of MI or nrn Maine is best and certainly the UP of MI has a cooler summer.... but we do have a colder winter than those areas. Our area can have one storm in January with 6 or more inches then the rest of the month can be cold with flurries or maybe an inch or two at times. The snowcover stays but doesnt add up.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:29 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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One last thing...

Before you commit to any area...please come for a visit. Often your vision (regardless of the weather) may not match what is in your head. I have a brother in law and his family in Bottineau and we go there often so I am familiar with the area enough...never lived there...but enough to get around.

In terms of the weather..I am with you. I am a weather forecaster, something I went to college for and which I knew I wanted to do for a long time. My dream was to find a place for very cold weather all winter long. I love the cold more than snow. Like you I hated to see snowfall and then melt. I grew up in Kentucky and share many fustrations regarding missed winter storms or storms which started as snow that turned to rain. I always dreamed of moving north and through good timing and hard work I was able to get up to my dream area which is Grand Forks. I love flat land and few trees...unlike most people and wind and persistant cold. My favorite winter day is crystal blue sky...minus 10F during the day....north wind about 10 mph and a foot of snow on the ground. The snow at that temperature is crunchy and the air so fresh. We have those days here.

Good luck!
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Lake Metigoshe, ND
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Wife and I live in the Turtle Mountains(Lake Metigoshe), which are just a few miles north of the town of Bottineau. Typically, because the Turtle Mountians consist of a lot of trees and big rolling hills, compared to the flat lands of the prarie the snow sticks. We also have groomed cross country trails and a down hill ski area "Bottineau Winter Park". The Winter Park makes snow for their down hill skiing and tubing runs. We've recently had a bit of a snow melt with a week of some rather mild weather, so in our area we still have between 12-18 inches. This weekend we are expecting some good accumulation. Good luck with you decision. I agree with Dan, that you may want to visit to see for yourself, and talk to the locals in the Bottineau area. They are always a good source of information. Many of the retired people around here meet for coffee at the Sawmill Corner store. They know the area very well and can answer most of your concerns, or question.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:22 AM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,731 posts, read 9,087,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyToo View Post
Wife and I live in the Turtle Mountains(Lake Metigoshe), which are just a few miles north of the town of Bottineau. Typically, because the Turtle Mountians consist of a lot of trees and big rolling hills, compared to the flat lands of the prarie the snow sticks. We also have groomed cross country trails and a down hill ski area "Bottineau Winter Park". The Winter Park makes snow for their down hill skiing and tubing runs. We've recently had a bit of a snow melt with a week of some rather mild weather, so in our area we still have between 12-18 inches. This weekend we are expecting some good accumulation. Good luck with you decision. I agree with Dan, that you may want to visit to see for yourself, and talk to the locals in the Bottineau area. They are always a good source of information. Many of the retired people around here meet for coffee at the Sawmill Corner store. They know the area very well and can answer most of your concerns, or question.
HI and a late welcome to the area. I love the Lake Metigoshie area. We go up there and camp with in-laws at the state park each July 4th. My brother-in-law's kids go to the winter park often for tubing and they go to Bottineau schools. You are in a cold and snowy area for sure. Your area will get wacked by this storm....I would venture 15 inches of snow very possible with north winds on Sunday-Sunday night. Be safe! NWS Bismarck forecasts for your area while our office in Grand Forks does areas just east toward Devils Lake and then eastward into Minnesota.

Dan
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:44 AM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,341 posts, read 9,988,245 times
Reputation: 9095
Thanks! This is all great info and confirms some things that I could only partially get from the sketchy climate data on the web (such as average snowpack). I plan on visiting the area in spring or early summer (along with UP Michigan and hopefully northern Maine). I must admit I'm more drawn to North Dakota right now for some reason...
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