Thursday, December 22, 2016

Light snow or drizzle possible in parts of the Northland on Friday; Christmas storm update (Winter Storm Watch issued for northern Minnesota Sun AM-Mon AM)

/Issued 5:20 PM CST, Thursday, December 22, 2016/

21z HRRRX model snowfall forecast for Friday.

Here's my updated Christmas storm map.

Forecast storm track is the black line on map.

Some changes in the track and or temperatures and impacts are possible during the next day or two.  Stay tuned!

Blue area=Winter Storm Watch which is in effect Christmas morning through Monday morning for all of northern Minnesota.  Click on the link for more information

Green area=Blizzard Watch from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.  Click on the link for more information

Heads up if you have travel plans Friday -- Winter Weather Advisory covers parts of southeast Minnesota, central and southern Wisconsin (Purple shaded area on map)  A few inches of snow and patchy freezing drizzle are the main hazards.  More information at the link below.

Winter Weather Advisory

Tonight's low temperature forecast.  Source:

Friday's high temperature forecast.  Source:

Month by month average temperature/departure from normal for Duluth, Minnesota for 2016 - See table below.

Note:  This month is still running below average by -3.1 degrees as of the 21st...Will see where this month will finish 9 days from now, will it remain below average, or will it go back above average thanks to this late month thaw?  Stay tuned!

Weather Summary for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin

A nice late December day with high temperatures getting into the 30s across the area with lower 40s reported this afternoon at the Duluth Harbor, Superior and Moose Lake.  Generally sunny skies today with just a few passing mid/high level clouds this afternoon.

Forecast Discussion for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin

.Short Term Forecast...

Tonight (December 22)

Clear to partly cloudy skies for tonight with lows in the teens and 20s.  Winds will be out of the south or southwest at 5 to 15 mph.

Friday (December 23)

Increasing cloudiness from south to north.  Light snow developing over east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin either mid/late morning or during the afternoon, the snow will then taper off from west to east Friday evening.  Expecting about 1-2" of snow accumulation on Friday in east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Northern Minnesota should stay mostly dry tomorrow.

Highs will be in the 30s with lows Friday night in the 20s in northern Minnesota to around 30 degrees in eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.  Winds on Friday will be out of the south or southwest at 10 to 15 mph, winds will shift to the west or northwest late Friday night.


High pressure moves over the Ohio Valley by early Friday morning while a low pressure system with a trough and cold front heads into the Northland Friday afternoon/night.

.Extended Forecast...

Saturday (December 24)

A cold front is forecast to move into the southern half of Minnesota on Saturday while strong high pressure builds into Manitoba Province as low pressure heads into the central Rockies.  Mostly cloudy skies are forecast for Saturday with patchy drizzle, freezing drizzle or flurries possible especially by Saturday night.  Highs will be in the 20s and 30s with lows Saturday night ranging from the single digits and teens in extreme northern Minnesota to around 30 degrees in southern parts of the Northland.

Christmas (December 25)

A major winter storm will begin to affect the Northland late this weekend as low pressure intensifies as it moves northeast out of Colorado.  This storm will bring widespread precipitation to the Northland with periods of heavy precipitation expected especially from Sunday afternoon into Sunday night.

A very strong low level jet of 50-60+ knots is forecast to develop ahead of this storm with abundant moisture lifting north into the upper Midwest with PWATS ranging from 0.60" to 1.00" (Unusually high for late December)

This low level jet will also advect warm air into our area which will lead to a variety of precipitation types depending on the surface temperature.

East central Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin:

-A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain Sunday changing over to rain Sunday evening with patchy icing still possible in some spots.

Northeast Minnesota:

-Snow or sleet Sunday with a transition to sleet or freezing rain occurring from south to north Sunday evening.  Mostly snow across northern Minnesota, but even this area may get some sleet later Sunday evening.

Around Lake Superior:

-Very difficult forecast closer to the lake.  Water temperature over Lake Superior is still at around 40 degrees so a scenario where we start as snow, then switch to sleet and then rain is certainly possible with little icing below the hill in Duluth as surface temperatures climb to around 33-34 degrees which would lead to plain rain.  However, the other scenario that could play out is for enough cold air to lock in place at the head of the lake which would prevent temperatures from rising above the freezing mark, if that happens then a significant accumulation of sleet or ice would occur even by the lake.

-The other big story from this storm will be strong easterly winds especially near Lake Superior.  Wind gusts could top 30-40 mph from Sunday into Sunday night.  This could be bad if freezing rain and ice accumulation becomes significant around the lake as this could lead to downed trees and power lines resulting in power outages Sunday night.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

Event:  *Winter Storm Watch for Duluth*
Timing:  Sunday morning through Monday morning

.Tonight...  Mostly clear.  Low 20 to 25.  Wind southwest at 10 to 15 mph.

.Friday...  Increasing cloudiness.  Some light snow or drizzle possible during the afternoon.  Total snowfall accumulation less than 1".  High 30 to 35.  Wind south to southwest at 10 to 15 mph.

Normal temperatures for Friday

High:  20
Low:     5

Sunrise Friday:  7:52 AM CST
Sunset Friday:   4:24 PM CST