Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bitterly cold tonight-Friday (Wind Chill Advisory in effect) A look back at the winter of 2016-2017 in this post

/Issued 4:07 PM CST, Thursday, March 9, 2017/

An expanded view of forecast low temperatures for tonight per 18z HRRR model.  Source:


Tonight's low temperature forecast.  Source:

Friday's high temperature forecast.  Source:

Note:  With a quieter weather day around here I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at this past winter, and to see how well I did with my 2016-2017 winter forecast for Duluth, Minnesota.


The winter of 2016-2017 was one that produced two arctic blasts (December 9th-18th) and (January 4th-13th)

The thaws this past winter were significant and long lasting...4 different thaws mixed in throughout the winter (High temp 32 F or warmer)  The first thaw was from December 20-26; Second thaw Janaury 16-24; Third thaw February 10-14; and the Fourth and final thaw this past winter was from February 16-23.

My forecast going into the winter was for the colder temperatures to have more staying power compared to the thaws, well obviously that didn't happen, it ended up being the complete opposite - My temperature forecast for the winter of 2016-2017 failed.

Snowfall total this past winter was 50.9 inches which was right in my forecast range which was 50-55 inches.  My snowfall prediction was pretty much spot on.


Dec-Feb temperature:  18.1 degrees
Normal:  13.3 degrees
Departure:  +4.6 degrees above normal

My forecast:  ~12.3 degrees (Grade:  F)

Number of subzero nights:  23
Normal:  34
Departure:  11 fewer subzero nights compared to average

My forecast:  30-35 subzero nights  (Grade:  F)

Snowfall:  50.9 inches
Normal:  49.5 inches
Departure:  +1.9 inches above normal

My forecast:  50-55 inches (Grade:  A)

Looking back at the past 11 weak La Nina winters:

The winter of 2016-2017 was closest to 1954-1955 in terms of total snowfall.  50.9 inches (2016-2017) vs. 52.1 inches (1954-1955)

As for the temperature, I'd say this winter was closest to the winter of 2011-2012, not as warm as that winter but this one is the closest match.  Average temperature this winter was 18.1 F vs. 21.1 F in 2011-2012.

Note:  For those that are interested here is a link to my 2016-2017 winter forecast for Duluth, Minnesota which was made on October 25th, 2016

Weather Synopsis for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin

Less windy today so we have that going for us otherwise temperatures were below average with highs in the teens north of Highway 2 in northeast Minnesota with 20s in east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.  Partly to mostly cloudy skies earlier in the day gave way to sunny skies this afternoon in northern Minnesota while some mid/high level clouds continued to pass through far southern portions of the Northland.

The main weather story around here for the next few days will be the very cold temperatures.  Strong arctic high pressure ~1050mb will build south/east out of Saskatchewan Province through Saturday.  This will be an impressive shot of arctic air for the time of year.

Lows tonight will be in the single digits below to single digits above zero with teens and 20s below in northern Minnesota.  Highs Friday will only be in the single digits and teens with lows Friday night in the teens below to single digits above zero.  Highs Saturday will be in the teens.

Note:  Normal high temperatures at this time of year are in the lower 30s with normal low temperatures in the middle teens.

A 5 to 15 mph wind (gusts to 20 mph) are expected tonight into Friday morning which will result in wind chills falling to 25 below to 40 below zero later this evening through Friday morning.

Keeping an eye on a snow system for Sunday and Monday, the bulk of it looks to remain south of the Northland, but a trough extending north into our area combined with an east wind off Lake Superior could help to develop some light snow in parts of the Northland mainly from Sunday evening into Monday.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

Event:  *Wind Chill Advisory for Duluth*
Timing:  9 PM tonight until 9 AM CST Friday

.Tonight...  Very cold.  Breezy.  Mostly clear.  Low 6 below to 11 below.  Wind northwest at 10 to 20 mph.  Wind chills 25 below to 40 below.

.Friday...  Very cold.  Mostly sunny.  High 8 to 13.  Wind northwest at 10 to 15 mph.  Morning wind chills 25 below to 40 below.

Normal temperatures for Friday

High:  32
Low:   15

Sunrise Friday:  6:31 AM CST
Sunset Friday:   6:08 PM CST