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Winter storm watch begins tomorrow

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National Weather Service, Bismarck

Much of the area could see heavy accumulations of snow.

A winter storm watch will impact the southern and eastern areas of North Dakota tomorrow through Friday.

Chauncey Schultz is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. He says beginning tomorrow evening, much of the area could receive heavy winds and freezing rains, which will give way to heavy snowfall. Schultz says the James River Valley is most likely to accumulate the most freezing rains.

Schultz says it’s still too early to tell exactly where the storm will track. In one scenario, the center of the storm will pass over Fargo.

"This would be a stronger system that would be further west - this would be the scenario that would really result in higher winds. Those 50mph wind gusts, high potential for blizzard conditions, that would also last longer into the day on Friday."

Schultz says in the other scenario, the center of the storm will head more toward Minneapolis.

"In that scenario, we would have lower windspeeds, and the impacts would end faster - more like Thursday night rather than on Friday, and there would be less snow in western North Dakota in particular."

Schultz says no matter which scenario happens, there’s a high probability of heavy snow throughout the area. The only difference would be whether or not high winds would create blizzard conditions.

He says it’s still too early to know which scenario is more likely – and forecasters should know more by tonight or tomorrow.