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‘Unusual’ winter storm hits Pierce County

By Staff | Oct 18, 2019

Rugby's Main Avenue had blowing and falling snow in the first snowstorm of the fall/winter season last week. Sue Sitter/PCT

An early winter storm dropped 18 to 24 inches of snow in the Rugby area, with some areas to the south and east receiving 24 to 30 inches or more, and blizzard conditions last week.

The blizzard led to school and some business closures, along with cancellations and postponements of high school sporting events Thursday through Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service office in Bismarck, the beginnings of the winter storm started when a large, upper level low pressure system intensified Wednesday, Oct. 9. A cold front moved across the Dakotas, and areas that were seeing rain saw it turn to snow.

The next day, a large Colorado Low moved into the plains and stalled over northwest Minnesota that night. The low was stalled through Saturday night, resulting in accumulating snow and high winds with some gusts as high as 64 mph.

Observed snowfall amounts saw the Rugby area receive around 18-24 inches, with some parts of Pierce County receiving 24 to 30 inches. Around Harvey, accumulations were as high as 30 inches with drifts over 10 feet tall, according to NWS Bismarck.

Megan Jones, a meteorologist with NWS Bismarck, said that while it is typical to see some snow in early October, large amounts such as that dropped with last weekend’s storm are “unusual.”

“[It’s] not super typical to get that much from one event,” said Jones.

The area may see some sun this weekend, along with some chances of precipitation.

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