Issued at 4:26 PM CST, Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Surface Analysis at 22z:
Low pressure averaging 1001 mb was centered over Northeast Missouri with strong 2 hour pressure falls of 4 mb noted per RUC model centered over Eastern Wisconsin into Central Lake Michigan. Arctic high pressure averaging 1036 mb was centered over Eastern Saskatchewan.
Upper Air Analysis at 22z:
Main feature of interest is the compact upper level low and shortwave trough heading east out of Southeast South Dakota into the Upper Midwest. This feature has been very progressive Today with widespread heavy snow occurring east and north of the upper low track with thunderstorms, ice, and rain farther southeast. 12 hour H5 height falls of 90 meters were found Today over Southeast South Dakota, Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa, and Northeast Nebraska in association with this storm system. H8 temperatures as of 4 PM Today ranged from zero degrees C in Southeast Minnesota to -18 degrees C in extreme Northwest Minnesota. Bitterly cold air with H8 temps of -20 to -30 degrees C were found over much of Central and Western Canada Today.
Snow, heavy at times with visibilities of one quarter mile or less affected much of Western, Central, and eastern Minnesota Today with hourly snowfall rates of 1 to as much as 3 inches an hour reported in the most intense snow bands. Scattered thunderstorms even occurred across Southern Minnesota Today which were associated with ice and heavy snow. Snow even reached into Northern sections of the state, but amounts in the North have been less compared to areas farther south. Some heavier snow has also occurred Today along the North Shore of Lake Superior where synoptic snow combined with cold temps and a favorable NE wind off Lake Superior caused lake enhanced snowfall. Moisture with this system was plentiful with late Afternoon PWATS of .40″-.80″ over Central, Eastern, and Southern areas of the state. Seeing another day with a big temperature contrast around Minnesota with highs in the 20s and 30s South to the single digits below zero Northwest… Remainder of Minnesota had highs mainly in the single digits and teens Today. Winds across the state were out of the north or east at 10 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to near 40 mph. Areas of blowing and drifting snow occurred over parts of the state Today thanks to the strong winds and the powerdery nature of the snow. Late Afternoon wind chills were in the single digits, teens, and 20s below across the North and West parts of Minnesota.
Temperatures around Minnesota at 4 PM ranged from 27 degrees at St. Paul to -2 degrees at Hallock to 3 degrees at Moorhead to 7 degrees at International Falls to 12 degrees at Duluth to 5 degrees at Ortonville to 20 degrees at St. Cloud to 21 degrees at Cambridge to 10 degrees at Pipestone to 28 degrees at Waseca to 31 degrees at Preston.
NOTE: A complete snowfall report from Today’s winter storm will be issued on Friday.
Low pressure will deepen to around 997 mb as it tracks northeast into Lower Michigan. Snow on the backside of this low will continue to fall This Evening over Western, Central, and Eastern Minnesota…But, look for the snow to taper off from west to east over those areas of the state before Midnight. Some freezing rain and sleet will mix with the snow in Southeast Minnesota early Tonight before precipitation ends. Across Northern Minnesota, look for areas of light snow and flurries This Evening with some heavier snow showers continuing near Lake Superior, especially before 9 PM. Snowfall totals will likely range from 3 to 9 inches across all but Northern areas of the state. Partly-mostly cloudy skies will be found across Minnesota Tonight with arctic high pressure building into the state from the northwest during the night. The pressure difference between the deepening low to our southeast and the strong high off to our northwest will cause strong winds of 10 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 40 mph through most of the night. This will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow, even after the snow stops falling. Also, as low temperatures drop into the single digits South to the single digits, teens, and 20s below elsewhere…Wind chills will lower into the teens, 20s, and 30s below over most of Minnesota by later Tonight.
Friday and Friday Night:
Arctic high pressure will be in control of our weather which will result in partly to mostly cloudy skies along with very cold temperatures. There will be another area of low pressure heading southeast out of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, but this low should only affect Southwest areas of Minnesota with some light snow or flurries during this period. Highs Friday will be in the single digits and teens below to above zero with lows Friday Night in the single digits below to above zero with teens and 20s below Central and North. Winds Friday and Friday Night will be out of the north, northwest, or east around 20 mph or less.
Low pressure scoots S/SE of Minnesota over the weekend while another strong area of arctic high pressure builds into the state from the northwest…This high will begin to slide off to our east early next week. Looks mainly dry around Minnesota this weekend with high temperatures Saturday and Sunday in the single digits, teens, and 20s with some spots possibly staying a few degrees below zero across the North. Lows Saturday Night and Sunday Night will be in the single digits and teens below to above zero with some minus 20s and even some minus 30s possible up North. Looks like we could be in store for some periodic precipitation events around parts of Minnesota next week as low pressure systems head in from the west. Tracks of these lows and the intensity of each system will determine what falls from the sky and how much, and who sees the precip. One thing that has been a constant signal within the GFS model over the past couple days is for a stronger low coming out of the Western U.S., reaching the Upper Midwest or Lower Great Lakes region later next week. This is a long ways out, but it bears watching, since it could bring heavier snow, rain, thunder, or ice to parts of Minnesota later next week.
5 Day Forecast for Duluth/Superior:
*Winter Weather Advisory* in effect until 12 AM CST Tonight…
*Wind Chill Advisory* in effect from 9 PM CST Tonight until 9 AM CST Friday…
.Tonight… Snow tapering off to flurries between 8 PM and 10 PM… Total accumulations of 3 to 6 inches. Skies becoming partly cloudy late. Very cold with gusty winds. Low 5 below to 12 below. Wind northeast at 10 to 20 mph, becoming north during the Evening. Winds could occasionaly gust to 25 to 35 mph which will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow. Wind chills ranging from 20 below to 35 below.
.Friday… Partly cloudy. A few flurries possible. High 5 to 10. Wind north to northeast at 10 to 15 mph. Morning wind chills ranging from 20 below to 35 below.
.Friday Night… Very cold. Partly cloudy. A few flurries possible. Low 5 below to 12 below. Wind northeast under 10 mph.
.Saturday… Partly cloudy. High 10 to 15.
.Saturday Night… Mostly clear. Low 2 above to 5 below.
.Sunday… Mostly sunny. High 10 to 15.
.Sunday Night… Fair. Low zero to 5 below.
.Monday… Partly to mostly cloudy. High 17 to 22.
Normal High Temperature Today 28 degrees
Normal Low Temperature Today 9 degrees