Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updated snowfall totals from earlier this week. 0.5-1.0" of snow possible Friday? Bigger storm Sunday-Monday?

Issued at 4:09 PM CST, Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

  • Clouds linger thru Friday along with some snow showers/flurries
  • No arctic air and no major warm-ups expected into next week
  • Sunday-Monday forecast is far from certain
*Updated snowfall totals from Monday Night-Tuesday, February 20th-21st, 2012*
Source:  National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota

Dixon Lake, MN (Itasca County)  8.5"
International Falls, MN (Koochiching County)  7.8"
Kabetogama, MN (St. Louis County)  7.4"
3 miles west of Indus, MN (Koochiching County)  7.2"
14 miles west of Isabella, MN (Lake County)  6.5"
4 miles east of Island Lake, MN (St. Louis County)  6.2"
2 miles west of Hibbing, MN (St. Louis County)  6.0"
5 miles north of Virginia, MN (St. Louis County)  6.0"
8 miles northeast of Cook, MN (St. Louis County)  6.0"
3 miles east of Orr, MN (St. Louis County)  6.0"
Cornucopia, WI (Bayfield County)  5.0"
Togo, MN (Itasca County)  4.8"
Grand Rapids, MN (Itasca County)  4.4"
Cotton, MN (St. Louis County)  4.2"
Embarrass, MN (St. Louis County)  3.0"

Duluth, MN National Weather Service (St. Louis County)  3.8"

Weather Tidbits:

*24.1 degrees=The average February temperature thru the 21st at Duluth, Minnesota.  This is 10.2 degrees above average.

*15 days so far this month with a high temperature of at least 32 degrees at Duluth, Minnesota.

*2.8" of snow at Duluth, Minnesota on February 21st was our first 2.0" or greater snowfall total since December 23rd (59 days ago)

*2.8" of snow at Duluth, Minnesota on February 21st was our heaviest daily snowfall total since April 16th, 2011 when 3.2" of snow fell.

*Snowfall update for Duluth, Minnesota* (Airport location)

6.0" of snow so far month which is 2.8" below average.

22.9" of snow for the season so far.  Average thru the 21st of February is 62.0".  Were 39.1" below average.

Today's Weather Summary for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Skies were mostly cloudy across the area Today with high temperatures in the middle 20s to lower 30s which is near to around 5 degrees above normal.  A few snow showers and flurries have been occurring in spots as well Today, but no real accumulations to speak of.  Winds were out of the northwest or west at around 10 mph.

Today's Upper Level Analysis:

A powerful jet stream of 130-160 knots stretched from Washington to Northern Wyoming per RUC model analysis with a northwest 500mb flow covering the Upper Midwest.  The system that brought the snow to our area on Tuesday has moved into Eastern Canada with the next system heading southeast across the Northern Rockies per water vapor satellite imagery.  That's a potent storm to our west Today with 12 hour 500mb height falls of 90-120 meters over the Pacific Northwest and portions of the Northern Rockies.  Spring like warmth has spread into the Southern and Central Plains Today with 850mb temperatures of +12 to +20C from Central Kansas to Western Texas while cooler air was found farther north with 850mb temperatures of -12C in Central Ontario Province to 0 to -10C in Minnesota.

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Tonight (February 22nd)

Strong low pressure will be centered well to our west with a cold front off to our north.  Partly to mostly cloudy skies are forecast Tonight with the possibility of a few snow showers and flurries.  Lows will be in the teens to low 20s, but a few spots might drop into the single digits.  Winds will be variable around 10 mph or less.

Thursday and Thursday Night (February 23rd)

Low pressure will pass well to our south during this period with a cold front remaining just to our north.  Accumulating snow associated with that southern low will affect parts of Iowa, Southern parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and Northern Illinois for Thursday and Thursday Night while some flurries and snow showers could occur at times up in our neck of the woods.  Partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies are forecast Tomorrow with highs in the 20s to lower 30s.  Mostly cloudy skies will occur Tomorrow Night with lows in the teens and 20s.  Winds during this period will be out of the north, east or west at 5 to 15 mph.

Extended Forecast, Friday-Monday (February 24th-27th)

An upper level disturbance will drop S/SE through our area on Friday bringing with it some snow showers and flurries with up to 1.0" of accumulation in spots.  Dry weather should return for Friday Night and Saturday.  20s and 30s are expected for daytime highs on Friday.  Saturday will be somewhat cooler with highs in the teens and 20s.  Low temperatures will be in the single digits Friday Night and the single digits and teens for Saturday Night.

Low pressure will track across the Northern Rockies on Saturday and will move into the Northern/Western High Plains for Saturday Night before moving into the Upper Midwest on Sunday.  Differences in the storm track continue to show up with the computer models Today and this has implications as to where the heavier snow band sets up for Sunday-Monday.  The computer models seem to be trending toward a faster moving storm, thus the main impacts look to be from Sunday into Sunday Night with improving conditions on Monday.

Right now the NOGAPS, D-GEX, JMA and CANADIAN forecast models are the most intense with this storm for the Northland with a significant amount of snow and wind (possible blizzard conditions?)  The EUROPEAN keeps the heavier snow band farther west-north with just minimal snow accumulations affecting most of our area.  The GFS has been fairly consistent in showing several inches of snow and strong winds affecting our area...Although the GFS has been decreasing the amount of precipitation that falls in Duluth with each new model run.

12z and 18z GFS from Tuesday:  0.90-0.93" of precipitation in Duluth for Sunday-Monday.

12z GFS from Today:  0.52" of precipitation in Duluth for Sunday-Monday.
18z GFS from Today:  0.71" of precipitation in Duluth for Sunday-Monday.

The GFS solution would give Duluth about 5-8" of snow with possibly a little more due to some lake enhancement with a favorable E-NE surface wind for Sunday Afternoon/Night.

Again based on latest model data it appears that the main impacts from this storm would mostly be Sunday and Sunday Night with improving conditions on Monday.

Note:  The computer models should start to converge to a common solution by Friday, but until then they will likely wobble around a bit more.

Long Range Forecast (February 28th-March 4th)

Another storm looks like it will target the Southern-Central Plains and Ohio Valley the middle of next week, doesn't look like any precipitation will spread this far north based on the track this storm is expected to take.  Our next shot for some precipitation in Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin could come late next week/next weekend, March 2nd-4th time frame.


.Tonight...  Mostly cloudy.  Flurries possible.  Low 15 to 20.  Wind west at 5 to 15 mph becoming variable Overnight.

.Thursday...  Partly sunny.  Flurries possible.  High 27 to 32.  Wind north around 12 mph.

.Thursday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Flurries possible.  Low 15 to 20.  Wind west at 5 to 15 mph.

.Friday...  Mostly cloudy.  Snow showers or flurries.  High 25 to 30.  Chance of snow 30%.

.Friday Night...  Partly cloudy.  Low 5 to 10.

.Saturday...  Mostly sunny.  High 20 to 25.

.Saturday Night...  Increasing cloudiness.  Low 10 to 15.

.Sunday...  Snow possible with some accumulation.  Mostly cloudy.  High 23 to 28.  Chance of snow 60%.

Normal temperatures for Tomorrow

High:  27
Low:    9

Sunrise Thursday:  7:00 AM CST
Sunset Thursday:   5:45 PM CST