Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016 - Wind driven heavy wet snow on the way as a powerful winter storm moves in late tonight; Scattered power outages possible in the Northland (Storm update number 2)

/Issued 5:07 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 15, 2016/

Water vapor satellite image and surface features from late this afternoon.  The southern low over far Northeast Missouri is starting to deepen with a pressure down near 998mb as of 4 PM today.  Severe thunderstorms and a few tornadoes should develop this evening in the pink outlined area on the map.

The big question is when will the rain change to snow?  There are several computer models available, and most of them seem to be keying in on a change-over from rain to snow between the hours of 3-6 AM in Duluth, possibly a little earlier farther north.  Sometimes computer models aren't always right though, shocking I know!

The maps below are from the 18z 4km NAM.

Updated headlines map as of 4:30 PM CDT.  More information at the links below.  Source, Aerisweather.com; National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota.

WINTER STORM WARNING:  http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=dlh&wwa=winter%20storm%20warning

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY:  http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=MNZ034&warncounty=MNC035&firewxzone=MNZ034&local_place1=Crosslake%20MN&product1=Winter+Weather+Advisory&lat=46.6825&lon=-94.0948#.VuiCQ0orLrc

Upper Midwest radar loop ending at 5 PM CDT.  Source, WSI.

Rain continues to be the only precipitation type late this afternoon.

A major winter storm is on the way!

*This month has been very mild in Duluth with an average temperature of 31.9 degrees thru the first 14 days of the month -- This is +9.3 degrees warmer than average.

*10 days in a row with a high temperature above 32 F (March 6th-15th)  During this span we've had 4 days above 50 F, and 1 day above 60 F at the Duluth Airport.

*All of the snow cover is gone as of March 15th.

And now this happens...But hey this is actually quite typical for around here, more times than not we lose all of our snow, and then get hit at least one more time before spring locks in for good.  At least this storm is happening now instead of in April.

*By the way Duluth averages 13.2" of snow this month -- So far were sitting at 3.2" for March with a lot more on the way.

I don't think will break the 24-hour snowfall record for March 16th at Duluth.  The most snow on record for March 16th is 15.0" which was set in 1917 but it's possible we could be looking at a top three snowfall event on Wednesday.

Top 3 precipitation amounts for March 15:

1)  1.82" set in 1945.
2)  0.92" set in 1875.
3)  0.74" set in 1894.

Top 3 precipitation amounts for March 16:

1)  1.43" set in 1917.
2)  1.15" set in 1876.
3)  0.43" set in 1889.

Storm impacts for Duluth and Superior:

-Rain continues this evening with areas of fog and drizzle.  Gusty east winds.

-Rain changes to snow sometime between 3-6 AM Wednesday, so I've bumped the change-over time a little earlier than what I thought earlier today.

-Winter Storm Warning in effect from 4 AM Wednesday until 7 AM CDT Thursday.

-Wet heavy snow and gusty northeast winds on Wednesday.

-Snowfall rates of 1" to as much as 2" an hour at times on Wednesday with whiteout conditions possible at times.

-Snow continues Wednesday night and Thursday but snowfall intensity should be lighter during that time.

-Snowfall storm total accumulations of 6-10" are possible by Thursday with locally higher amounts.

-Scattered power outages and tree damage is possible.