Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cold and clear Tonight; Latest on the potential snow/mixed event Friday Night-Saturday Night.

/Issued 3:20 PM CST, Wednesday, March 6th, 2013/

-I'm having March 2012 flashbacks.  Man we sure got off easy last year.  Remember how warm last March was?  14 days with a high temperature of at least 50F at Duluth, Minnesota and we even had 4 days with highs in the 70s!!!  Keep in mind, the average high temperatures are in the 30s at this time of year.  

The image below is an archived 500mb map for March 19, 2012.  Just a very unusual pattern, the strength of the ridge from the Plains to the Great Lakes through the Eastern U.S. was amazing, more typical of the summer months, not early spring.  Yeah, were not going to be as lucky this March.  I'm hoping we can squeeze out at least 1 day in the 50s this month, but that may be difficult to do.

Weather Tidbits for Duluth, Minnesota.

*7.6" of snow fell on March 5, 2013.  This is a new 24 hour snowfall record for the 5th of March.  The previous record was 5.5" set in 1995.

*Annual snowfall total is at 61.5" which is just 6.9" below average thru March 5th.

*Snowfall storm total for March 4-5, 2013  8.7" with 0.44" of precipitation.  Note:  Snow totals varied in the city, some parts picked up 4-6" while others had 7-8"+.  Some of this was due to lake effect.  Winds were out of the east early Tuesday Morning which favored moderate snowfall rates mostly on the North side of Duluth (National Weather Service location)  but as winds swung around to more of an ENE direction, those moderate snowfall rates also shifted south and affected the South side of Duluth late Tuesday Morning.

Today's Weather Summary for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

A pleasant early March day although temperatures were a little below average for this time of year with highs in the 20s to lower 30s, but that March sun is getting stronger and stronger with each passing day, so this makes it feel just a bit warmer.  Winds Today were out of the north or northwest at 5 to 15 mph.

Today's Upper Level Analysis

It's a trough-ridge-trough configuration across the U.S. Today.  Upper troughs were over the Western and Eastern U.S. while an upper level ridge covered the Central Plains per water vapor satellite imagery and RAP model analysis.  850mb temperatures as of 3 PM ranged from -6 to -12C in Minnesota.

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Short Term Forecast - Confidence:  High.

Tonight (March 6th)

High pressure moves over the Upper Midwest resulting in clear to partly cloudy skies and light winds.  A deep snow pack, mostly clear skies and light winds will lead to a cold late winter night in the Northland with lows in the single digits and teens below to above zero.  

Thursday and Thursday Night (March 7th)

High pressure moves off to our east with a southerly return flow developing on the left side of this high.  Partly to mostly cloudy skies are forecast this period with a few flurries possible Tomorrow Night, mainly in Northern Minnesota.  Highs on Thursday will be in the 20s and 30s with lows Thursday Night in the teens and 20s.  South or east winds are expected at 5 to 15 mph.

Extended Forecast - Confidence:  Medium.

Friday through Sunday (March 8th-10th)

The Upper Midwest will get into a southwest flow aloft Friday and Saturday with a strong upper level trough and area of low pressure over the Rockies Friday and Saturday.  This system will then move east-northeast through the Central Plains late this weekend.

Abundant moisture is forecast to surge north through the Plains and Upper Midwest on Friday and Saturday and this combined with a cold front to our west and the low to our southwest should result in at least some precipitation in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin from late Friday Night into early Sunday Morning.

What type of precipitation we see will depend on the surface temperature.  At the moment it looks like a wet snow event for Western/Northern areas while a mix of wet snow, rain and possibly even some ice affects Eastcentral Minnesota and all of Northwestern Wisconsin.  Headlines may be needed for some parts of the Northland depending on the intensity of the frozen precipitation and how long it lasts.  Stay tuned!

Flurries or snow showers might linger into Sunday, but the main threat for precipitation looks like it'll shift farther south/east from our area.

High temperatures will be in the 20s and 30s from Friday through Sunday with lows Friday Night and Saturday Night mainly in the 20s.

-Here's the latest winter weather graphic from the Weather Prediction Center (formerly the HPC, now it's the WPC)  Anyways, the map below represents where snowfall totals of at least 4" are expected to fall on Saturday.  Blue=Slight Risk which includes much of Northern Minnesota.

-There's also a chance for some freezing rain Friday Night/Saturday.  This is the 0.01" or greater Ice accumulation probability map with the legend on the left.  The higher the number, the greater the chance for seeing at least light ice accumulation.

Long Range Forecast - Confidence:  High.

(March 11th-16th)

Near to below average temperatures are forecast through this period.  A system or two may affect the area between the 13th-16th with a bit of snow possible during that time.


.Tonight...  Mostly clear.  Low 0 to 5.  Wind becoming light and variable less than 10 mph.

.Thursday...  Partly to mostly cloudy.  High 26 to 31.  Wind southeast at 10 to 15 mph.

.Thursday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Low 15 to 20.  Wind southeast at 5 to 15 mph.

.Friday...  Considerable cloudiness.  High 30 to 35.

.Friday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Light snow or mixed precipitation possible, mainly after Midnight.  Low 25 to 30.

.Saturday...  Mostly cloudy.  Light snow or mixed precipitation possible.  High 30 to 35.

.Saturday Night...  Mostly cloudy.  Flurries possible.  Low 20 to 25.

.Sunday...  Partly sunny.  High 30 to 35.

Normal temperatures for Today

High:  30
Low:   14

Sunrise Thursday:  6:37 AM CST
Sunset Thursday:   6:03 PM CST


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