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Originally published Friday, October 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM

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It's snowing in Minnesota! Yes, October is early for that

Rare early October snow coats parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The New York Times

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The temperature in Houston on Friday was gradually cooling from a high of 88 degrees, part of a Texas summer that will not quit. Meanwhile, 1,000 miles north in Minnesota, a different kind of cooling was taking place: More than a foot of snow was coming down.

The rare early October storm that blanketed northwestern Minnesota and parts of North Dakota is expected to continue moving west Saturday, the start of what could be a very snowy winter.

Grand Forks, N.D., reported 3 ½ inches of snow Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, a record for this early in October. In Middle River, Minn., 8 inches fell.

But the heaviest snowfall was in Roseau, Minn., 10 miles from the Canadian border, where 14 inches of wet, heavy snow fell, snapping tree limbs and causing power failures in the town of 2,500, which bills itself as the birthplace of snowmobiling.

"We've gotten snow this early, but not like this," said Greg Sorensen, a dispatcher at the Roseau County Sheriff's Department.

Sorensen said that in addition to power failures across the county, five tractor-trailers had jackknifed on local highways. He said there were also "lots of vehicles in ditches," but no reports of serious injuries.

Patrick Slattery, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, said that given the abrupt temperature shift — autumn crispness to freezing cold — even more snow than the accumulated amount may have fallen, but the rest had quickly evaporated.

"Some of the snow depths were affected by the warmth of the ground, so it melted pretty quickly," Slattery said.

The snowfall was expected to only modestly help with the drought that has existed for months throughout much of the country. Rains, however, did help quell wildfires in northwestern Minnesota, officials said, including near Karlstad, where fire destroyed 11 homes this week.

National Weather Service meteorologists say snowfall will be above normal this winter in an arc of the country stretching from Minnesota to New York.

Slattery said heavy snow was anticipated for Wyoming and parts of Nebraska overnight Friday, and that it would continue Saturday into northeastern Colorado and northwest Kansas.

"It would seem to indicate that winter has started," he said.

Just not in Texas, where the high in Houston on Saturday is expected to hit 85 degrees.

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