Thursday, March 10, 2011

3/10/11: Thursday's Weather Report

Issued at 4:45 PM CST, Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Weather highlights:

-Quiet weather thru Friday
-A vigorous, but moisture lacking system plows thru the area Friday Night-Saturday
-Couple shots of rain or snow possible for next week

Weather tidbits:

*Prior to Today, the last time the high temperature at Duluth, Minnesota was above 32 degrees was on February 17th (42 degrees)

*36% of the U.S. is covered by snow as of March 10th, this is down from 65% one month ago Today.

Weather History:

*On this date in 1990:  A record high temperature of 54 degrees occurred at Duluth, Minnesota.
*On this date in 2009:  6.1" of snow fell at Duluth, Minnesota.

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Today's Weather:

A very nice late winter day with high temperatures topping out in the middle to upper 30s which is a few degrees above average for this time of year.  Partly to mostly sunny skies prevailed Today as a 1022-1026mb ridge of high pressure passes through the Upper Midwest and Central Plains.  Winds Today were out of the west or north under 15 mph.

Today's Upper Level Analysis:

Wednesday's 500mb trough which was over the Upper Midwest has pushed into the Central-Eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Today, but this trough is having a tough time moving any farther east due to a storm system which is becoming negatively tilted across the Eastern U.S.  A tremendous feed of moisture extends from Florida, north to New England Today per water vapor satellite imagery with widespread precipitation occurring along and ahead of the surface and upper level low pressure system.  An upper level ridge of high pressure was in control on the Plains Today while a vigorous system with it's 90 meter 12 hour H5 height falls moves east through the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies late Today.


Clear to partly cloudy skies will be found in our area with high pressure pushing off to the east which will cause winds to become southerly during the night.  Lows Tonight will be in the teens and 20s, but some locations could drop into the single digits.  Wind speeds Tonight will be under 15 mph.

Friday and Friday Night:

Strong southerly 850mb jet will increase to 35-50 knots on Friday as an area of low pressure moves into the Northern Plains.  Expect partly to mostly cloudy skies across our area on Friday with plenty of warm air advection sweeping into the Upper Midwest.  850mb temperatures are forecast to climb to between +2 and +10 degrees C from north to south in Minnesota which will result in high temperatures reaching the 30s and 40s throughout Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin with 50s expected farther west and south.  Low pressure will track into Northcentral Minnesota Friday Night while a potent upper level low digs S/SE through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.  Precipitation should begin Friday Afternoon/early Evening (2pm-5pm time frame) from International Falls to Bigfork to Cass Lake, precipitation will then spread east-southeast affecting the remainder of our area from mid-Evening Friday through the Overnight hours. 

The bulk of the precipitation that falls should be in the form of snow in Northern Minnesota, but anything from rain, to snow, to sleet or even some freezing rain is possible for Eastcentral Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.  This system will be quite dynamic, but will lack a good feed of moisture, as a result precipitation amounts should remain on the light side, also the quick movement of this system will help keep precipitation amounts on the low side.  Note:  This storm has prompted the issuance of a Winter Storm Watch for far Northwest Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota for Friday Night and Saturday Morning due to the combination of blowing snow and potentially >4" of new snow in those areas.

Extended Forecast:

Low pressure at the surface and aloft will pull off to our east on Saturday, cold air advection and gusty northwest winds will kick in behind this storm for Friday Night and Saturday, wind speeds during that time of 10-25 mph will be common, but gusts could exceed 30 mph.  Snow showers and flurries will persist at least into Saturday Morning, but this threat could persist into the Afternoon especially in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.  Note:  Snowfall accumulations from Friday Night and Saturday should be in the 1-3" range in Northern Minnesota with an inch or less for Northwest Wisconsin and Eastcentral Minnesota.  High temperatures on Saturday will be in the 20s and 30s which will occur at Midnight, temperatures will then fall to the teens and 20s by Saturday Afternoon.  Lows Saturday Night will be in the single digits and teens.  Quiet weather is expected for Sunday as high pressure heads into the Upper Midwest.  Highs on Sunday will be in the 20s with lows Sunday Night in the teens.

Looking ahead to next week features one or two systems that could bring some rain or snow to our area, the first one would be around Tuesday, March 15th.  The second one is set to arrive sometime late next week, Thursday-Friday, March 17th-18th time frame.  Neither one of those systems look very strong at the moment, but things could change in coming days and the track and timing of each system may also change a bit from what the models are currently showing.

Note:  The 12z EUROPEAN model from Today is really pumping in alot of warm air into Minnesota for Wednesday and especially Thursday of next week, 850mb temperatures of +12 to +18 degrees C could lead to high temperatures reaching the 50s and 60s across portions of Minnesota next Thursday with an outside shot at 70 degrees in Southern Minnesota, this will be something to keep an eye on in coming days since such a drastic warmup would really kick start the snow melting process.

5 Day Forecast for Duluth/Superior

.Tonight...  Mostly clear.  Low 17 to 22.  Wind west, becoming south at 4 to 9 mph.

.Friday...  Partly cloudy.  High 38 to 43.  Wind south to southeast at 10 to 20 mph.

.Friday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Snow showers and flurries developing during the mid to late Evening hours.  Precipitation could start as light rain, drizzle, or sleet.  Low 25 to 30.  Wind southeast at 10 to 20 mph becoming west at 15 to 25 mph late.

.Saturday...  Mostly cloudy with snow showers and flurries at times.  Total snowfall accumulations of 1" or less.  High 30 to 35 with temperatures falling through the 20s.

.Saturday Night...  Partly to mostly cloudy.  Low 8 to 13.

.Sunday...  Partly cloudy.  High 25 to 30.

.Sunday Night...  Partly cloudy.  Low 12 to 17.

.Monday...  Partly sunny.  High 32 to 37.

Normal temperatures for Tomorrow

High:  32
Low:  14

Sunrise Tomorrow:  6:30 AM CST
Sunset Tomorrow:   6:08 PM CST