December 29, 2010

Watford City on pace for record snow

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Street crews in Watford City and McKenzie County road crews have had a busy winter season, and it’s only officially been winter for just over one week.
The average season snowfall for Watford City over the past 20 years is 48 inches, and even though the snow season has been known to last as late as April, Watford City has already received 48.9 inches of snow.
“We are already at the average and unfortunately, there is a lot of winter left,” says Dick Fischer of Watford City. “I hate to say this, but I think we are going to see a lot more snow before the season is over.”
According to Fischer, who is the official weather reporter for the National Weather Service in Watford City, at this same time last year, Watford City had 20.6 inches of snow, less than what we have received so far for December. In October, there was 6.5 inches of snow, November saw 20 inches and as of Dec. 21, there was 22.4 inches recorded for this month.
“All of this snow has totaled 20.6 inches of precipitation,” states Fischer. “That is the most precipitation for an entire season that I’ve recorded in my 20 years.”
According to Fischer, the average season precipitation is 15.09 inches. Other years that have come close to this year include 1997 with 10.5 inches and 1993 with 19 inches of precipitation.
Of course, with added snowfall and the rain that the area has received, travel has been much more difficult than the average winter.
“This winter season so far has been beyond hectic,” says Ron Rankin, McKenzie County sheriff. “The day after we had freezing rain, there were so many vehicles in the ditch that we simply couldn’t keep count. It was just a terrible terrible day to be out.”
According to Rankin, over 90 percent of the accidents and vehicles in the ditch in recent weeks have been caused by weather and road conditions, rather than driver problems.
“Everyone just needs to drive defensively and read the road,” says Rankin. “Just because the sign says the speed limit is 65 mph, that doesn’t mean that you can always drive that fast. I have heard so many horror stories this winter about poor winter driving practices. It’s just so dangerous out there. We all need to remember to be safe and watch out for ourselves and the other drivers.”