The last 4 years in North Dakota, we have had early snowfalls.

Four years ago much of the state saw snowfall in late September.  Three Autumn's ago the same thing happened in North Dakota.  Two years ago, not only did we see snow early, but it was a major blizzard.  October 10th to 13th 2019, the state saw anywhere from a foot, to three feet over much of the state.  Here in Bismarck, we officially saw around 17 inches of snow.  This came right before the weekend of the pheasant opener in the state.  Travel was pretty much at a standstill with exception of the far western portions of the state.

Screenshot NWS
Screenshot NWS

This record-breaking October blizzard certainly left its mark by the time the storm finally began moving out of the area on Sunday. Total snow accumulations as high as 36 inches were observed near Harvey with drifts over 10 feet tall.  These drifts were as high as some homes.  Snow drifts between one and two feet were common in central and eastern portions of North Dakota. Travel was just about impossible over much of the state as I-94, Highway 83 and other major highways were shut down because of the blizzard.  Tree damage was also common, especially over eastern North Dakota where most trees had yet to shed all of their leaves.  If you remember, the timing of this blizzard was terrible for the farming community.  Very few crops were out of the ground due to the already wet Summer and Fall.  This storm really delayed the Fall harvest, and in some cases, crops were not harvested until the Spring of 2020.

Last year in 2020, we also saw another early snowfall on October 22nd of around 3 inches in the Bismarck Mandan area.  Much more fell southeast of here.  We also went into a very cold period of two weeks after that storm.  It sent many migrating waterfowl out of the state very early.  The rest of the winter was below normal precipitation and above normal temps.

So, now we flash forward to the Fall of 2021.

Our drought continues, but is showing signs of loosing it's grip on the state.  Some areas have benefited from decent summer rains..  The corn crop is mostly a loss, while there is some hope for the beans.  Precipitation looks rather light for the rest of the month with very few chances and above normal temps.  That means snow is highly unlikely for September.  So what about October?

Considering we've had 3 straight years of October snowfalls.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised if it happens again..  .According to AccuWeather's long range forecast, there's a pretty good system that is expected to impact Bismarck Oct 14th to the 17th.  It's supposed to be mostly rain, with the possibility of some flakes on the overnight.  High temps will be in the 50's.  However, if they're wrong about the temps, and it happens to be colder than expected, this could be a potential big snow storm.  Snow and colder temps are predicted from October 26th to October 28th too.  Both these periods are candidates for our first real snow.  If it doesn't happen in October, November looks pretty active.  The first weekend of November could bring us snow.  Just in time for the Deer opener.

We need the precipitation, so I say bring it on.  Even snow in October, we'll take it.


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