Blizzard Aaliyah arrives as first winter storm of the season in the Greater Grand Forks region

As snow fell from the northwest, snow was expected to fall in the central Red River Valley and increase near central Minnesota. Blown snow and dangerous conditions appeared throughout Wednesday, December 23, according to an alert from the National Meteorological Service.

The overnight snowfall is still preliminary, but National Weather Service meteorologist Jacob Spender said Grand Forks received about 0.8 inches of snow on Wednesday morning, and Mayville about half an inch.

Blizzard Aaliyah (uh-LEE-uh) is named after Aaliyah Bramer, 9, from rural Oklee, Minnesota, who was featured in a Herald news item in Wednesday’s issue. Bramer wrote a letter to Santa Claus this year, asking him to grant a simple and moving wish: “I just want my family together”.

The Herald has been naming blizzards since 1990, giving storms with male / female names alternating alphabetically in an effort to honor local residents and also to record storms for the sake of history. The Herald often uses names of people in the news, famous or mythical figures, or those with connections to the Herald.

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The record is eight named blizzards during the winter of 1996-97. Last year, there were four named blizzards in the Greater Grand Forks region: Adam (11 October), Brenda (29 to 30 December), Carl (18 January) and DeAnna (12 February).

In this most recent blizzard, Midwest Minnesota received the most snow accumulation at night, at around 6 inches in some areas.

Strong winds persisted on Wednesday, reaching speeds of 50 to 65 mph, and cold wind temperatures reached -20 to -35.

When the winter storm started to subside, Spender said the damage across the region was minimal, although the regional sheriff’s offices reported that some areas had visibility so that reduced drivers could not see beyond the hood of their cars.

According to a WDAY forecast, temperatures on Thursday will be around zero and the winds will decrease to around 7 mph. Friday is expected to be predominantly sunny, with highs around 31 and low around 7, with winds of 10 mph.

Going into the next week, Spender said there is likely to be another winter weather event before the new year, but it is too early to say for sure.

“We will have warmer temperatures, but warmer temperatures as in the 20s, not as in the 30s or 40s,” he said.