Having weathered one blizzard already this season, the Lake Region is preparing for another storm that could drop anywhere from six to 18 inches of snow Christmas day.

Having weathered one blizzard already this season, the Lake Region is preparing for another storm that could drop anywhere from six to 18 inches of snow Christmas day.

Greg Gust, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says that heavy snow threatens to blanket northeastern North Dakota Sunday.

“We are expecting heavy snow, mainly for the Devils Lake basin,” Gust said. “A little bit of mixed freezing rain or sleet is (expected) as you go further southeast toward the Fargo area.”

Though the storm is predicted to bring significant snow accumulation, Gust says that the Lake Region likely will avoid freezing rain and ice accumulation that often threatens power lines and can lead to extended outages.

“It looks like the freezing rain will more likely be in eastern South Dakota and southern central Minnesota,” Gust said. “It’s not looking like a thick coating of ice or anything at this point.”

Damian Reiter, operations manager at Otter Tail Power Company, says that he doesn’t expect the heavy snowfall to result in outages.

“We don’t anticipate anything. The thing that causes every utility issues is icing on the lines and heavy winds,” Reiter said. “Unexpected things happen, but If it’s just a normal blizzard we don’t expect any (issues).”

There are strong winds predicted late on Christmas day and into Monday morning, but Gust predicts that the heavier snow will have already fallen by the time the winds blow through.

“It’s probably from mid-morning (on Christmas) that the heavy snow really starts to develop,” Gust said. “There are some areas that could be seeing six inches to a foot, and it could be a foot and a half in places. You’re in that sweet spot for getting heavy snow.

“The wind component should be a little bit later,” Gust added. “The stronger wind should start to develop through the night and Monday morning.”

Gust also said that as of now, the NOAA has not yed decided whether or not to issue a blizzard watch for the region.

“Right now there’s a blizzard watch in effect for central and western North Dakota,” Gust said. “We have not yet determined if we’re putting out a blizzard watch or winter storm watch (in the northeast).”

Blaine Rekken of Nodak Rural Electric Cooperative says that they plan to prepare for the possibility that strong winds may affect service.

“Winter storms can be extremely difficult to predict, but we have taken steps to ensure that we have personnel available to respond in the event that there is trouble over the holidays,” Rekken said.

Though the storm is still a few days away, Gust says that the NOAA has a pretty good handle on what to expect.

“The overall snow forecasts will adjust here and there, but the impact zone is pretty well defined now,” Gust said.

As of now, no travel advisories have been issued locally in anticipation of the storm, but travelers should be prepared to adjust to changing conditions as the situation develops.