Meteorologists are watching a storm they say could drop heavy snow on the High Plains during the days after Christmas.
“Forecast models indicate there will be a storm that lifts through the plains and into the Midwest,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Schild. “The big question is where it will go.”
Schild said the model shows two possible paths for the storm that would either bring it across North Dakota or push off further east. NWS won’t know for sure until the system hits the West Coast late in the weekend or early next week.
“The main message is just keep an eye on the latest forecast,” he said. “It’s a great possibility we won’t even see a flake … But with people traveling we need to keep an eye on it.”
Until then, mild temperatures are expected to continue in the state.
With the warm weather it has been difficult for the local park districts to make ice for their outdoor rinks.
Paula Redmann, community relations manager for Bismarck Parks and Recreation, said they usually try to have the rinks and warming houses ready in time for the school district’s Christmas break.
“We’ve gotten a thin layer of ice but it gets mushy,” she said. “We haven’t been able to officially open the rinks or warming houses.”
Mandan Parks and Recreation had better luck, opening three rinks - one hockey and two pleasure skating - and warming houses at Legion Park Friday, said Parks Superintendent Dustin Fleck.
The parks department put water down during the colder overnight hours.
“I’m proud of crew for coming in and getting it done,” Fleck said. “We ended up with good base coat and were able to finish off with lighter coats.”
Fleck said they’re a little behind because of the warmer temperatures but only by about a week compared to last year. He said they’ll start working on the rinks in the other parks that don’t have the benefit of Legion Park’s shade cover once the temperatures change.
Warming house hours at Legion Park are 1pm-9pm on weekends and 5pm-9pm on weekdays.