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

As the snow peaked from the northwest, snowfall was expected to be lower in the central Red River Valley and higher near central Minnesota. Windy snow and dangerous conditions presented themselves during Wednesday, December 23, according to a warning from the National Weather Service.

Snow totals at night are still preliminary, but National Weather Service meteorologist Jacob Spender said the Grand Forks received about 0.8 inches of snow Wednesday morning and Mayville about half an inch.

Blizzard Aaliyah (uh-LEE-uh) is named after Aaliyah Bramer, 9, of rural Oklee, Minn., Who was featured in a Herald news story in Wednesday’s edition. Bramer wrote a letter to Santa this year asking him to make a simple, heartwarming wish: “I just want my family together.”

The Herald has been naming blizzards since 1990, giving storms alphabetically alternating male / female names in an attempt to honor local residents and also to log storms for the sake of history. The Herald generally uses the names of people in the news, famous or mythical characters or those associated with the Herald.

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

In this recent snowstorm, west-central Minnesota received the highest snow accumulations overnight with approx. 6 inches in some areas.

Strong winds persisted Wednesday, reaching speeds of 50 to 65 mph, and wind chill temperatures hit minus-20 to minus-35.

As the winter storm began to subside, Spender said damage throughout the region has been minimal, although regional sheriff’s offices have reported that some areas saw visibility so reduced motorists could not see past the bonnet of their cars.

According to a forecast from WDAY, the temperature on Thursday will be around zero and the wind will drop to approx. 7 mph. Friday it is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high around 31 and low around 7 with 10 mph winds.

Next week, Spender said it will likely be another winter weather event before the new year, but it’s too early to say for sure.

“We get some warmer temperatures, but warmer temperatures like in the 20s, not like in the 30s or 40s,” he said.