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2/4/09: Wednesday’s Weather Report

Issued at 3:16 PM CST, Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Weather History:

On this date in 1996, a record low temperature of -29 degrees occurred at Duluth Minnesota.

Surface Analysis at 20z:

Arctic high pressure ridge averaging 1036 mb was centered to the south-east of Minnesota with decent 3 mb per 2 hour pressure falls occurring behind this ridge of high pressure This Afternoon. A warm front was over the Western Dakotas.

Upper Air Analysis at 20z:

Northwest flow aloft was in place around the Upper Midwest Today with an upper trough covering the Northeast U.S. and a 500 mb ridge over the Rockies while a new trough begins to inch toward the Western U.S. Another system was seen per water varpor satellite imagery over Saskatchewan with this system tracking pretty quickly toward the east. 850 mb temperatures around Minnesota at 20z ranged from -2 to -6 degrees C across the West half of Minnesota to -16 degrees C in Northeast Minnesota. Much warmer air (at least aloft) with 850 mb temps of +4 to +12 degrees C covered much of the Dakotas back into the Rockies This Afternoon with the surface 32 degree temperature contour extending from Western North Dakota to Southeast South Dakota late Today.

Today’s Weather:

Skies around the state ranged from partly sunny to cloudy out West with abundant sunshine the farther east you went across the state. High temperatures Today were generally in the single digits and teens with some 20s showing up in the Southwest part of Minnesota. Winds across the state were out of the south or southeast Today at 5 to 15 mph, but winds of 10 to 25 mph with some higher gusts have developed over parts of Western Minnesota.

Temperatures at 3 PM around Minnesota ranged from 16 degrees at Blaine to 9 degrees at Hallock to 16 degrees at Fosston to 12 degrees at Grand Rapids to 14 degrees at Eveleth to 12 degrees at Alexandria to 12 degrees at Little Falls to 10 degrees at Cloquet to 25 degrees at Granite Falls to 18 degrees at Faribault to 18 degrees at Winona.

Tonight through Thursday Night:

Arctic high pressure has pulled off to the south-east of Minnesota Today which is allowing for a southerly flow of air to develop between this high and an area of low pressure which will pass off well to the northwest-north of Minnesota through Thursday Night. Warm advection will be occurring across all of Minnesota through Thursday, but alot of this warm air will not be felt at ground level due to pretty poor mixing, still though expect much milder temperatures around the state compared to the last few days. Look for partly to mostly cloudy skies around the state into Thursday Night with a few flurries possible late Tonight and Thursday Morning up in Northern Minnesota. Lows before Midnight will fall into the single digits, teens, and possibly some 20s below zero in Eastern Minnesota with temps rising in these areas Overnight. Lows for the rest of us will hold pretty steady in the single digits, teens, and 20s through the night. Highs Thursday will be in the teens, 20s, and 30s with lows Thursday Night in the single digits and teens. Winds will be out of the south, southeast, or west through Tomorrow Night around 20 mph or less.

Extended Forecast:

An area of low pressure is still forecast to develop or move into the Northern Plains on Friday with the low then heading east toward Lake Superior on Saturday. Still looks like this system will come through mainly dry, but some areas of light freezing drizzle, drizzle, or flurries could develop late Friday into Saturday Morning across the Eastern half of Minnesota. As this low exits to our east on Saturday, a pretty strong 500 mb trough will dig southeast into the Upper Midwest which will be accompanied by a cold front and some snow showers and flurries across Northern areas of the state from Saturday Afternoon into Saturday Night. Colder air will invade Minnesota over the weekend, but nothing too drastic is expected. High temperatures Friday and Saturday will be in the teens, 20s, and 30s with some 40s possible Southwest on Friday. Low temperatures will be in the teens, 20s, and low 30s Friday Night with single digits, teens, and 20s come Saturday Night.

Long Term:

A significant storm looks like it will impact Minnesota’s weather early next week… Forecast models Today remain consistent in showing a deepening area of low pressure moving into Colorado on Sunday, then out into the Western High Plains by Monday. The low is then forecast to lift north-northeast reaching Northern Minnesota by Tuesday Morning. The GFS model has trended much deeper with the surface low Today, while the GEM-GLOBAL and ECM remain consistent with previous model runs in depicting a strong surface low. Pressures with the low range from 979 mb on the 12z GEM-GLOBAL model to around 985 mb on the ECM-GFS models. This strong low pressure system is also forecast to become negatively tilted as it heads into the Upper Midwest early next week. Since this storm is expected to be so strong, there will likely be a rush of warm air flowing up from the Plains on a strong southerly 850 mb jet of 35-60 knots early next week. It appears at this time based on the latest storm track and temperature profiles of the atmosphere that the main precipitation type will fall as rain across Southern Minnesota with a possibility for some sleet and or freezing rain at the onset of this event. A period of freezing, sleet, or snow could occur from Western to Central to Eastern Minnesota before precipitation changes over to rain…Especially over Central and Eastern areas of the state. Northern Minnesota will likely see freezing rain, sleet, or snow with rain mixing in at times. The areas near Lake Superior will have to be monitored closely for the possibility of significant icing due in part to winds coming off Lake Superior which still has ice over it, this could keep surface temps from rising out of the 30-32 degree range early next week, but at the sametime…850 mb temperatures will be climbing to around +2 to +4 degrees C…This could cause rain to freeze as it hits the surface, one thing that could limit the ice threat is the fact that winds could be more from the southeast versus the northeast, plus a strong area of high pressure looks to setup more over Eastern Canada early next week instead of Ontario or Hudson Bay, this will have to be watched though as time goes on… Parts of Minnesota could see significant amounts of snow, ice, or rain early next week and weather headlines in the form of winter ones and or flood ones may be needed… Timing of this event looks to be Monday through Tuesday Morning, but precipitation may begin as early as Sunday Night over Western and Southern Minnesota.

This storm is still a number of days down the road and the forecast models could change the track, timing, and intensity of this system, so stay tuned…

Forecast for Duluth/Superior:

.Tonight… Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 2 below to 7 above. Wind south to southwest around 12 mph.

.Thursday… Partly sunny. High 25 to 30. Wind southwest at 10 to 15 mph.

.Thursday Night… Partly cloudy. Low 10 to 15. Wind west to southwest at 5 to 15 mph.

.Friday… Partly cloudy. High 25 to 30.

.Friday Night… Mostly cloudy. Patchy light freezing drizzle possible. Low 20 to 25.

.Saturday… Mostly cloudy. Patchy light freezing drizzle possible early with flurries throughout the day. High 30 to 35.

.Saturday Night… Mostly cloudy. Flurries possible. Low 5 to 10.

4 PM Thompson Hill Observation:

Current Temperature: 15.5 degrees

Dewpoint: -4 degrees

Humidity: 40%

Wind: SSW at 5 mph G 9 mph

Max Temperature Today: 16.4 degrees

Max Humidity Today: 84%

Min Temperature Today: -7.4 degrees

Min Humidity Today: 40%

Normal High Temperature Today 21 degrees

Normal Low Temperature Today 2 degrees

Tim

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