Issued at 3:12 PM CST, Friday, January 30th, 2009
If the high temperature fails to reach 32 degrees at Duluth on Saturday, then this will go down as just the 15th time since 1874 that a January has failed to produce a temperature of 32 degrees. It’s a tricky forecast for the city on Saturday, we have pros and cons at the present time. One thing favorable for temps reaching or even exceeding 32 degrees is that will have a southwest to west surface wind, plus a deep surface low will be passing by to our north putting us in the warm sector for a time. Negatives would include the deep snow cover and the fact that we may be dealing with a temperature inversion with warm air aloft and cooler air trapped at the surface, but if the strong winds aloft can mix down to the surface, then this inversion will break up enough allowing for sunshine to develop which would aid in warming things up and causing the mercury to possibly reach the freezing mark for the first time this month. The last time the high temperature failed to reach 32 degrees in January at Duluth was back in 2004, prior to this was 1994.
Surface Analysis at 20z:
Active storm track across Canada with three lows up in that area Today. One low averaging 1004 mb was centered over the Western half of Quebec Province. A second low averaging 1008 mb was centered over the Northwest half of Ontario Province. A third low averaging 977 mb was moving toward Northern British Columbia. A warm front was attached to the Ontario low with this boundary extending from Eastern Manitoba down through the Eastern Dakotas. A cold front extended from Central Manitoba to Central Saskatchewan. High pressure averaging 1020 mb was centered over the Southern half of Missouri.
Upper Air Analysis at 20z:
Northwest flow aloft was in place over the Upper Midwest Today with a strong upper trough associated with last night’s arctic blast around Minnesota moving through the Eastern Great Lakes toward Eastern Canada. An upper trough was moving into Northwest Canada with 12 hour H5 height falls of 90-120 meters This Afternoon…This system was moving toward the east-southeast. Strong warm advection was taking place across the Upper Midwest This Afternoon with 3 hour surface temperatures rising 8-12 degrees around Minnesota, moisture was also increasing as evident by surface dewpoints which have gone up 6 to 12 degrees over the last 3 hours. H85 temperatures at 3 PM ranged from -12 to -16 degrees C from Northern to Eastern Minnesota to -8 degrees C in Southwest and far Western Minnesota. The zero degree C 850 mb contour was still over the Central Dakotas as of Mid-Afternoon, while the real warm air with +4 to +12 degree C 850 mb temps centered over the Western Dakotas through the Northern Rockies. Strong warm advection will persist around Minnesota into early Saturday Afternoon with the zero degree C 850 mb temperature line reaching Northern and Northeast Minnesota, while Western and Southern areas of the state see their temperatures aloft warm to +4 to +6 degrees C on Saturday.
Surface temperatures were in the mid 30s and 40s This Afternoon over the Central and Western Dakotas with 50s around the Rapid City area, the above freezing temperatures extend up into Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba Today, so this area of warm air, albeit cooler than what is occurring Today will be moving over Minnesota on Saturday since the flow aloft is from the northwest, and soon to be more from the west.
Saw partly to mostly cloudy skies around Minnesota Today with the most cloudiness out in Western Minnesota and the most sunshine farther East, this is changing though late Today as clouds are overspreading Northern and Eastern areas of the state. There’s been some flurries and light snow at times Today outside of Eastern Minnesota, but none of this has been very significant. High temperatures around Minnesota were in the teens and 20s Today with some 30s showing up in Southwest Minnesota. Winds across the state were out of the south or west Today around 10 to 20 mph.
Temperatures around Minnesota at 3 PM ranged from 10 degrees at Lake Elmo to 14 degrees at Thief River Falls to 14 degrees at Grand Rapids to 16 degrees at Moorhead to 9 degrees at Ely to 28 degrees at Wheaton to 14 degrees at Brainerd to 10 degrees at Mora to 31 degrees at Canby to 27 degrees at Pipestone to 14 degrees at Mankato to 12 degrees at Red Wing.
A warm front will inch east through Western toward Central Minnesota during the night. Look for partly to mostly cloudy skies around Minnesota with the potential for some light snow and flurries over Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Minnesota. A bit of light freezing drizzle may also develop Overnight across Northcentral into Eastcentral Minnesota. Little if any accumulation of snow is expected Tonight with any ice accumulations remaining under 0.01″, but it may be enough to cause some slick spots early Tomorrow Morning. Temperatures Tonight will remain steady or slowly rise through the night with readings generally in the single digits, teens, and 20s with some areas in Southwest and Western Minnesota possibly staying around 30 degrees. Winds will be out of the south or west around 10 to 20 mph.
Saturday and Saturday Night:
*Blizzard Watch* is in effect from 12 PM til 6 PM CST for far Northwest and far Western Minnesota. Some cities included in the watch are: Crookston… Moorhead… Hallock… And Warren…
A strong area of low pressure between 984-989 mb will track into Southern Ontario Province, passing near the Lake Nipigon area during this forecast period. A warm front and cold front attached to this low will be advancing east-southeast through the state into Saturday Evening. Warmer air will be over the state on Saturday which will then be replaced by a new surge of cold advection which will move in Saturday Night behind the low and cold front. Partly to mostly cloudy skies will cover the state Saturday and Saturday Night with some flurries possible at times in Northern Minnesota. Patchy light freezing drizzle may also occur Saturday Morning from Northcentral through Eastcentral Minnesota. High temperatures on Saturday will rise into the 20s and 30s with 40s possible in Southwest Minnesota. Lows Saturday Night will be in the single digits, teens, and 20s. Winds will shift from the south and west to the north and west during this forecast period. 850 mb winds are forecast to increase to 35 to 55 knots across much of Minnesota on the west and south sides of the deep low off to our north, some of these higher wind speeds should make it down to the surface with 15 to 35 mph winds expected over most of Minnesota, wind gusts could reach 35 to 50 mph though over Western areas of the state. If the winds increase this much, then ground blizzard conditions could develop for a time Saturday over far Western Minnesota. The current snow pack is pretty crusty though, so it will take some strong winds to loosen up the top layer of snow cover.
Low pressure will be passing off to the northeast of Minnesota to close out the weekend while a 500 mb trough swoops east-southeast into the Upper Midwest Sunday and Monday, this trough will deepen as it passes through our area. This upper trough combined with a potential storm along the East Coast early next week will help to pull another batch of arctic air currently seen over Northern and Eastern Alaska through the Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada down into Minnesota from Monday through early Wednesday the way it looks now. Temperatures in the areas where the arctic air has been building the last few days have been down into the 30s, 40s, and even 50s below zero during the night and Morning hours, but as this arctic surge drops southeast it should modify somewhat, but it still looks plenty cold around Minnesota early next week. The Sunday through Tuesday period looks pretty dry around Minnesota, but there could be some flurries or snow showers passing through from time to time. High temperatures on Sunday will be in the single digits, teens, and 20s with lows Sunday Night in the single digits and teens below to above zero. Highs Monday will be in the single digits and teens with some spots in the North possibly staying below zero. Lows Monday Night will fall into the single digits, teens, and 20s below with some 30s below possible over parts of the North. Again this next cold surge should linger into Wednesday Morning, then temperatures should start to moderate the remainder of next week possibly into next weekend. GFS model continues to show a potential weather system possibly affecting Minnesota’s weather later next week or next weekend with another system possible early the following week. Both systems could bring some snow, ice, or even some rain to parts of the state, but again it’s way too early to nail down the exact timing, strength, and tracks of these lows.
Forecast for Duluth/Superior:
.Tonight… Becoming mostly cloudy. Snow flurries or patchy light freezing drizzle possible late. Low 5 to 10 with temperatures steady or slowly rising Overnight. Wind southwest at 5 to 15 mph.
.Saturday… Breezy. Patchy light freezing drizzle possible early. Mostly cloudy during the Morning, then becoming partly sunny. High 25 to 30. Wind southwest at 15 to 25 mph, becoming west.
.Saturday Night… Breezy. Mostly cloudy. Flurries possible. Low 10 to 15. Wind west to northwest at 15 to 25 mph.
.Sunday… Flurries possible. Mostly cloudy. High 20 to 25.
.Sunday Night… Flurries possible. Mostly cloudy. Low 4 below to 3 above.
.Monday… Flurries possible. Partly sunny. High 5 to 10.
.Monday Night… Partly cloudy. Low 7 below to 14 below.
4 PM Thompson Hill Observation:
Current Temperature: 10.6 degrees
Dewpoint: -3 degrees
Wind: SW at 9 mph G 14 mph
Max Temperature Today: 11.9 degrees
Max Humidity Today: 84%
Min Temperature Today: -13.3 degrees
Min Humidity Today: 47%
Normal High Temperature Today 20 degrees
Normal Low Temperature Today zero degrees