Thursday, February 18, 2016

February 18, 2016 Weather Report - Occasional rain, sleet, rumbles of thunder, some fog and wind into Friday; Widespread record heat today across the Central Plains

/Issued 4:51 PM CST, Thursday, February 18, 2016/

A big storm is moving east out of the Northern Rockies through Friday but this storm has very little cold air to work with so the bulk of the significant snow accumulations will remain north of Minnesota.  Widespread heat across the Plains today with numerous record high temperatures occurring today.  Dodge City and Goodland, Kansas both had their record warmest February temperatures on record today with 87 degrees at Dodge City and 82 degrees at Goodland.  Source, water vapor satellite image,

Here's a map showing where record high temperatures have been broken, tied or within 3 degrees of tying or breaking a record high temperature for February 18, 2016 - Wow!  Source,

Surface map forecasts for Friday.  Source, Weather Prediction Center.

Colors on the maps below:

Orange/purple=Freezing rain/sleet

Headlines map.  Source,

More information at the links below.

Winter weather advisory (Purple shaded area on map)

Wind advisory (Light brown shaded area on map)

Possible snow and sleet accumulation totals for tonight and Friday.  Source, 20z RAP model.

A slight chance for a few isolated thunderstorms in parts of Eastern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan on Friday (Green area on map)  Source, Storm Prediction Center; WSI.

Tonight's low temperature forecast.  Source, National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota.

Friday's high temperature forecast.  Source, National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota.

Weather Summary for NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin
Date:  February 18, 2016

Warm air is pushing into the Upper Midwest today, this warm air advection helped to generate a NW-SE band of light sleet, freezing rain, snow and rain which moved northeast through parts of the Northland today.  As of 3 PM this first band of light precipitation had lifted north into Ontario Province but another batch of precipitation was forming in portions of East Central Minnesota and West Central Wisconsin.  Mostly cloudy skies were common today although there's been some filtered sun from time to time.  Highs were in the 30s with southeast winds in the 10 to 20 mph range with higher gusts.

Forecast Discussion for NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin

Short Term Forecast - Confidence:  High.

Tonight (February 18)

A strong area of low pressure averaging 988mb will track out of the Northern Rockies into the Western Minnesota by daybreak -- A strengthening low level jet of 40-60 knots will develop out ahead of this system tonight which will continue to produce warm air advection along with increasing amounts of moisture.  Expect a few rounds of rain, freezing rain, sleet and possibly a bit of wet snow through the night.  Note:  The greatest chance for wintry precipitation will be found over the Arrowhead of Minnesota and along the Higher Terrain of the North Shore of Lake Superior and also in Eastern portions of Northwest Wisconsin.  Temperatures will hold steady in the 30s while winds remain out of the southeast at 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts possible.

Friday and Friday night (February 19)

A strong area of low pressure will pass through Minnesota, Lake Superior and into Eastern Canada by early Saturday morning.  This system will bring rain, sleet and some wet snow to the area on Friday with lingering snow and rain showers Friday night.

Highs tomorrow will be in the 30s and 40s with lows Friday night mainly in the 30s.  Winds will shift from the southeast Friday morning to the west by Friday afternoon through Friday night.  Wind speeds will range from 10 to 20 mph but wind gusts over 30 mph are quite possible.

Note:  Areas of fog could develop tonight and tomorrow due to the warm and moist air moving over the snowpack.

Note:  There is a chance for a few spotty thunderstorms on Friday in parts of the Northland with elevated instability up to around 100-200 j/kg with lifted indices down to around zero to -1C.

Extended Forecast - Confidence:  Medium to High.

Saturday through Monday (February 20-22)

Might be a few lingering snow showers in parts of the area Saturday morning but most of Saturday looks dry and mild with gusty west winds as low pressure heads into Quebec Province.  Highs on Saturday will be in the 30s and 40s with lows Saturday night in the teens and 20s -- A cold front approaching from the north combined with a weak surface low moving southeast through the Northern Plains might lead to some light snow or mixed precipitation over parts of Northern Minnesota Saturday night.  This system will move south/east on Sunday with a chance for some light snow in portions of Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin, lingering flurries or light snow showers possible for Sunday night and Monday.

Highs on Sunday will range from the 30s in Eastern Minnesota with teens in far Northern Minnesota in between expect highs in the 20s to low 30s.  Lows Sunday night will be in the single digits and teens with highs on Monday in the 20s.

Long Range Forecast - Confidence:  Medium.

(February 23-28)

Near normal temperatures are expected during the long range.  No major storms showing up that would affect the Northland through the end of the month.


.Tonight...  Breezy.  Occasional light rain which could mix with sleet at times.  Patchy fog and drizzle possible.  Low 30 to 35.  Wind southeast at 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts possible.

.Friday...  Breezy.  Occasional rain.  Patchy fog and drizzle possible.  Some sleet or wet snow could mix in with the rain at times.  High 35 to 40.  Wind east at 10 to 20 mph becoming west at 15 to 30 mph.

.Friday night...  Breezy.  Scattered snow or rain showers possible.  Mostly cloudy.  Low 30 to 35.  Wind west at 15 to 25 mph.

.Saturday...  Flurries possible early.  Partly to mostly sunny.  High 37 to 42.

.Saturday night...  Mostly cloudy.  Low 23 to 28.

.Sunday...  Mostly cloudy.  High 28 to 32.

.Sunday night...  Mostly cloudy.  Low 10 to 15.

.Monday...  Partly to mostly cloudy.  High 25 to 30.

Normal temperatures for Friday

High:  25
Low:     7

Sunrise Friday:  7:07 AM CST
Sunset Friday:   5:39 PM CST