Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3/23/11: Wednesday's Weather Report

Issued at 3:17 PM CDT, Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

March 22nd-23rd, 2011 Winter Storm Recap:

An area of low pressure moved from Nebraska through Iowa to Eastern Illinois from Tuesday into Wednesday.  This storm system brought a significant amount of snow and sleet to parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest during the past two days.  Severe weather also occurred with this storm across parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin on Tuesday with a total of 87 severe weather reports and 16 tornadoes...15 in Iowa and 1 in Nebraska on Tuesday.  The heavy snow had a difficult time getting north of the Highway 2 corridor due to a massive area of high pressure which was centered in Northern Ontario/Hudson Bay Canada.  A tremendous amount of dry air was pushing south off that area of high pressure and this resulted in little if any snow making it north of Highway 2. 

Note:  The computer models did an awful job with this storm for Northern Minnesota.  Every storm since December that has come out of the Western High Plains or Central Plains has done pretty much the same thing with the northern extent of the snow stopping right around the Highway 2 corridor.  For days leading up to this event, almost every computer model showed significant amounts of snow affecting Northern Minnesota.  No southward shift to the snow band were seen until Monday, that's when the NAM started to shift the snow band south of the Iron Range.  But, the real BIG shift to the south did not take place with the forecast models until Tuesday Morning, the day of the event! The GFS model (which is suppose to be one of the better forecast models) totally bombed on this storm, and this hasn't been the first time the GFS has failed miserably for Northern Minnesota during the past few months.

Snowfall reports from Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22nd-23rd, 2011.  Source:  NWS Duluth, MN.

Sarona, WI (Washburn county)  14.5"
8 miles south of Hayward, WI (Sawyer county)  14.0"
Stone Lake, WI (Washburn county)  12.0"
Winter, WI (Sawyer county)  11.5"
Phillips, WI (Price county)  11.0"
2 miles west of Hayward, WI (Sawyer county)  10.5"
Pine Center, MN (Crow Wing county)  10.0"
1 mile southwest of Hinckley, MN (Pine county)  9.0"
7 miles northwest of Brainerd, MN (Crow Wing county)  8.7"
3 mles north of Pine City, MN (Pine county)  8.5"
5 miles north of Pillager, MN (Cass county)  8.5"
Butternut, WI (Ashland county)  8.0"
5 miles east of Leader, MN (Cass county)  8.0"
Clam Lake, WI (Ashland county)  7.2"
Moose Lake, MN (Carlton county)  7.0"
Holyoke, MN (Carlton county)  6.8"
Solon Springs, WI (Douglas county)  5.0"
Glidden, WI (Ashland county)  4.0"
Bennett, WI (Douglas county)  3.5"

5 miles northwest of Duluth, MN (St. Louis county)  0.3" measured at the NWS...Total thru 8:28 AM CDT Today.

A few snowfall reports from Tuesday and Wednesday from outside the Northland:

5 miles north of Isle, MN:  11.0"
Little Falls, MN:  10.3"
Rush City, MN:  9.0"
Mora, MN:  8.5"

Shiocton, WI:  15.4"
Shawano, WI:  15.2"
Rhinelander, WI:  13.4"
Sturgeon Bay, WI:  12.0"

Intense east-northeast winds battered the Twin Ports during the past 24-36 hours.  Quite a few reports of downed trees due to these winds along with some power outages.

Blatnik Bridge:  70 mph
Duluth Airport:  56 mph
Sky Harbor Airport, MN:  56 mph
Cloquet, MN:  51 mph
Two Harbors, MN:  51 mph
Maple, WI:  50 mph
Superior, WI:  47 mph

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Today's Weather:

Low pressure of 996mb was centered in Southeast Ohio late This Afternoon with a 1004mb low centered along the Eastern Iowa-Western Illinois state line.  High pressure of 1032mb was centered in Northern Ontario Province.  Snow in Northwest Wisconsin and Eastcentral Minnesota decreased to flurries This Afternoon as dry air pushed south from Central Canada and also because of the area of low pressure pulling farther southeast of our area.  Lake effect snow showers and flurries did develop Today as 850mb temperatures dropped to around -12 degrees C, but the airmass was becoming drier and drier This Afternoon near Lake Superior, thus the intensity of the snow showers were waning.  Highs Today were only in the 20s with a brisk northeast wind at 10-20 mph with gusts well over 40 mph closer to Lake Superior. 

Today's Upper Level Analysis:

500mb low was pulling south-east out of Iowa per water vapor satellite imagery with a N-NW upper level flow in place across the Upper Midwest in wake of this storm.

Tonight through Thursday Night:

High pressure will remain to our north during this period, mainly dry conditions are expected for Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin through Tomorrow Night.  Lows Tonight and Thursday Night will be in the single digits below to around 10 above zero with highs Thursday mainly in the 20s.  A few lake effect snow showers and flurries could continue along the South Shore of Lake Superior Tonight, and early This Evening in the Twin Ports...Little if any accumulation is expected though due to the dry air in place.  Note:  Late Afternoon dewpoints ranged from -8 at Ely, MN.  -9 at Crane Lake, MN.  And -13 at Grand Marais, MN.  Incredibly dry air moving into Northern Minnesota Today.

Note:  *WINTER STORM WARNING* remains in effect until 7 PM CDT Tonight for Pine county MN and for Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, and Price counties Wisconsin.  The heavy snow is done now, but lingering snow showers or flurries are possible with additional accumulations of 1" or less through early This Evening.

Extended Forecast:

Looks like a fairly quiet weather pattern for our area into early next week.  Strong high pressure off to our north will force the storm track well to our south.  No major warm-ups are expected through early next week, in fact the temperatures will be below average into the weekend.  Winds will shift back to the east Friday and possibly into Saturday, temperatures aloft will be cold enough to support lake effect snow, but dry air in place should keep any lake effect snow on the light side with only some flurries possible from time to time.

5 Day Forecast for Duluth/Superior

.Tonight...  Partly cloudy.  Occasional flurries early.  Low 2 to 7.  Wind northeast at 15 to 25 mph with gusts over 30 mph closer to Lake Superior.  Wind becoming north to northwest at 10 to 15 mph by Midnight.

.Thursday...  Partly cloudy.  High 23 to 28.  Wind north to northwest at 10 to 15 mph.

.Thursday Night...  Partly cloudy.  Low 3 to 8.  Wind variable around 12 mph.

.Friday...  Partly sunny.  High 25 to 30.

.Friday Night...  Partly to mostly cloudy.  Low 7 to 12.

.Saturday...  Variable cloudiness.  High 25 to 30.

.Saturday Night...  Partly cloudy.  Low 7 to 12.

.Sunday...  Partly sunny.  High 25 to 30.

Normal temperatures for Today

High:  37
Low:  19

Sunrise Tomorrow:  7:04 AM CDT
Sunset Tomorrow:   7:27 PM CDT