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Jamie Kelly • Williston Herald

Williston’s winter isn’t over just yet.

On Friday, a late-season storm blanketed much of the northwestern corner of the state with snow, and the National Weather Service predicted a big temperature drop for Saturday and Sunday.

Total accumulation from Friday’s storm was expected to be between 5 and 8 inches, according to Ken Simosko, a meteorologist with the NWS Bismarck office.

Williams County Emergency Manager Mike Smith said as he drove around Williams County Friday that the snow made roads slick all around the area.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Friday, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and North Dakota Highway Patrol issued a No Travel advisory that covered Crosby, Tioga, Williston, Watford City, New Town and surrounding areas.

Falling and blowing snow reduced visibility and made travel dangerous.

Smith said that near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers visibility was a quarter mile or less.

Wind chill values on Saturday could be as cold as minus 25 degrees, but it will be dry and sunny, Simosko said.

“It’s going to be cold all around,” he said.

Later on in the week highs aren’t expected to be much above 30, and lows will be around 10.

Last week’s storm wasn’t followed by a cold snap, but this one will be, because a series of clipper systems from Canada are following one after another, pulling in colder air.

Meanwhile, the NWS has extended the flood warning for the Missouri River near Williston until further notice. As of early Friday, the river was 25.3 feet, which is 3.3 feet above flood stage. At that level, oil well locations south and east of Williston are inundated, as are the wildlife management areas.

The river will crest around 25.8 feet by Monday morning, and then start to fall again, according to the NWS forecast.

“Maybe by Wednesday we might see things drop below flood stage,” Simosko said.

The ice jam that caused problems earlier this week on the Yellowstone River has moved onto the Missouri and was just downstream of the confluence of the two rivers on Friday.

The coming week’s cold temperatures might slow down the pace at which flooding recedes, Simosko said, but there are good signs from Montana.

“At least we see upstream there are some improvements,” he said.

Smith spent Friday checking on flooded areas. There are still roads that are flooded around the Missouri, and as the water continues to rise, more flooding is possible.

“We have to watch it and make sure it doesn’t rise too fast,” Smith said. “I’m going to be watching it all weekend.”

 

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