Friday, March 11, 2011

3/11/11: Friday's Weather Report

Issued at 4:21 PM CST, Friday, March 11th, 2011

Weather Headlines:
Source:  TWC.  USGS.

-Magnitude 8.9 earthquake (great quake) hit the Pacific Ocean near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at 2:46 PM JST, March 11th, 2011 or 11:46 PM CST on March 10th, 2011.
-At least 100 aftershocks with a magnitude of at least 5.0 have occurred since the 8.9 earthquake.
-Today's 8.9 earthquake makes it the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history and 5th largest earthquake in the world since 1900.
-Today's earthquake was 900 times stronger than the 1989 San Francisco, California earthquake and 8,000 times stronger than the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake.
-USGS SR Science Advisor reports that Today's 8.9 earthquake ruptured a path on the earth's crust 180 miles long/50 miles wide.
-3,000 people asked to evacuate in Japan after radiation levels at a nuclear power plant reach 1,000 times the normal value.  Officials say that some radiation has leaked.

*At least 26 wildfires are burning over Oklahoma Today.
*I-94 from Dickinson to Bismarck, North Dakota has been shut down because of falling and blowing snow and numerous traffic accidents This Afternoon.
*Blizzard Warning covers most of North Dakota and a small part of Northwestern Minnesota Tonight.
*Winter Weather Advisory.  High Wind Warning, and a Wind Advisory cover much of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest Tonight and Saturday.

*2010 Minnesota weather highlights:
Source:  St. Cloud Times/Paul Douglas

*Wettest year in history
*Most tornadoes ever observed (as many as 113) 4 times greater than the average number
*Twin Cities may reach their 3rd snowiest winter on record
*September was the wettest on record
*December was the snowiest on record
* Spring 2011:  The potential exists for an historic flood season

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Today's Weather:

A strong area of low pressure 996mb was centered along the Eastern North Dakota-Northwest Minnesota border late This Afternoon.  Potent low level jet from the south of 35-50 knots ushered in plenty of warm air advection Today with late day 850mb temperatures ranging from +2 to +5 degrees C.  High temperatures Today ranged from the lower to middle 30s from the Twin Ports and North Shore of Lake Superior with milder upper 30s and low-mid 40s occurring in Northwest Wisconsin and Eastcentral-Northcentral Minnesota.  Winds Today were out of the southeast at 10-20 mph with gusts of 25 to 30 mph occurring in parts of our area.

Today's Upper Level Analysis:

Powerful 500mb low/trough with 120-150 meter 12 hour 500mb height falls was pushing east out of the Dakotas This Afternoon per water vapor satellite imagery and RUC model analysis.  Quite a temperature contrast Today with 4 PM 850mb temperatures ranging from +8 degrees C at Des Moines, Iowa to -2 degrees C at Aberdeen, South Dakota to -8 degrees C in Northwest North Dakota.  Intense mid/upper level jet of 90-110 knots was located on the west-south side of this small, but potent storm This Afternoon across the Northern Plains.  Note:  Surface temperatures late Today ranged from 63 at Des Moines, Iowa to 19 degrees at Minot, North Dakota.


Surface low will continue on it's E/SE track into Northcentral-Northeast Minnesota through late Tonight while the upper level low and upper trough dig S/SE out of the Northern Plains.  Clouds will be on the increase This Evening with snow beginning west of a line from International Falls to Brainerd between 6pm-8pm.  Snow will then spread farther east from mid-Evening through the rest of Tonight.  There is still a threat for drizzle/light rain in Eastern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin before everything turns to snow Overnight.  Low temperatures Tonight will be in the 20s and lower 30s with some teens in Northern Minnesota.  Southeast winds will become west during the night as the surface low moves through.  Wind speeds of 10-25 mph will be common Tonight with higher gusts.

Saturday and Saturday Night:

Low pressure will exit to our E/SE on Saturday.  Areas of snow showers and flurries will linger Tomorrow behind this low before dry conditions return to most areas Tomorrow Night, but lake effect snow showers could develop along the South Shore of Lake Superior affecting Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron counties Wisconsin.  Note:  Total snowfall accumulations from Tonight and Saturday should range from 1-3" in Northern Minnesota through the Arrowhead of Minnesota with isolated 4" amounts possible.  1-4" snowfall totals can also be expected along the South Shore of Lake Superior by Saturday Night.  A dusting to one inch of snow is anticipated for Eastcentral Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.  Highs Tomorrow will be in the teens and 20s with lows Tomorrow Night in the teens with single digits possible in Northern Minnesota.  Winds will be out of the west or northwest at 10-25 mph with higher gusts during this period. 

Extended Forecast:

High pressure will be in control of our weather for Sunday and Sunday Night, expect dry conditions with highs in the 20s to around 30 degrees with lows in the teens.  Southerly winds return for Monday and Monday Night as a new low pressure system passes by to our northwest-north early next week.  A cold front attached to that low looks to move through the Upper Midwest on Tuesday and that is when our next shot for some rain or snow will occur for Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.  High temperatures on Monday will mainly be in the 30s with lows Monday Night in the 20s and lower 30s.

Next week still looks unsettled at times as a couple low pressure systems and cold fronts move through the Upper Midwest.  One round of snow/rain could occur Tuesday, March 15th.  Another round of rain or snow may arrive sometime late next week...(Thursday-Friday, March 17th-18th time frame)

Growing indications that the last two weeks of March could get quite stormy from the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, south through parts of the Central Plains per various GFS long range model runs.  It's pure speculation at the moment since it is so far out in the future, but there is potential for one or more larger storm systems impacting the above mentioned regions...These storms could bring snow/wind on the cold side of the low to possible severe weather in the warm sector and possibly an icy mix of precip in between.

5 Day Forecast for Duluth/Superior

.Tonight...  Mostly cloudy.  Snow developing between 9pm-11pm.  Snow could start as drizzle or light rain.  Low 25 to 30.  Wind southeast at 10 to 20 mph becoming west Overnight.

.Saturday...  Breezy with occasional snow showers and flurries.  Total snowfall accumulations around 1".  Mostly cloudy.  High 30 to 35 with temperatures falling through the 20s.  Wind west to northwest at 15 to 25 mph.

.Saturday Night...  Partly to mostly cloudy.  Low 10 to 15.  Wind northwest at 10 to 15 mph.

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

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

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

.Monday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Low 25 to 30.

.Tuesday...  Rain or snow showers possible.  Mostly cloudy.  High 38 to 43.

Normal temperatures for Tomorrow

High:  32
Low:  15

Sunrise Tomorrow:  6:28 AM CST
Sunset Tomorrow:   6:10 PM CST