The final weekend of 2011 is upon us. Many folks will be traveling to celebrate the arrival of 2012. What will the weekend weather be for the local area?
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch for the western half of North Dakota from Noon Saturday to Noon Sunday. Winds could gust as high as 60 mph in this region. So, if you will be traveling this weekend, allow extra travel time to handle the expected high winds. There is a slight chance for some light snow or rain showers on Saturday then dry on Sunday in the local area.
High temperatures will continue balmy for this time of year reaching the 30s to near 40 on Saturday, then colder on Sunday with highs in the 20s. The turn to colder weather will be brief as temperatures are expected to warm back up next week into the 40s. Normal highs are in the mid 20s with normal lows near zero this time of year.
Past New Years Day weather in the Bismarck and Mandan areas has been cold and snowy. The warmest New Years Day was back in 1998 when we climbed to 56 degrees. On the other hand, the coldest day was in 1887 when we dipped to 41 degrees below zero. Last year on New Years Eve we had a high of only 2 above with a low of 11 below to greet us on New Years Day. The high in 2011 was only 6 above, so a cold start to 2011. However, this year will be different as our benign winter continues.
If you are wondering about snowfall for the holiday, last year we had 11 inches on the ground. This year we will have bare ground. So, a complete reversal from last year. Past holidays have shown that we have had as much as 4.9 inches of snowfall back in 1999. Since 1886, the local area has had 11 holidays with snowfall of 1 inch or more. But, the records show that there has been snow on the ground much of the time.
While it will be a different New Years, weather wise, from what we normally expect, nonetheless it will be good opportunity to bring in 2012 with friends and family. Enjoy the good travel weather. Have a safe weekend. Happy New Year to everyone.