3/31/09: Winter Weather Headline Information

Issued at 4:26 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Note: Snowfall total in West Duluth varies between 3-4″ as of 4 PM Today…Were now seeing light drizzle and light freezing drizzle with strong east-northeast winds…The snow which wasn’t wet about 3 hours ago has morphed into a concrete/wet/slushy type of snow as temperatures warm toward freezing as the dry slot moves overhead…

*Winter Storm Warning* now in effect until Noon CDT Wednesday for the following counties in Minnesota: Northern St. Louis… Lake… And Cook… Some cities included in the warning are: Orr… Crane Lake… Two Harbors… Finland… Lutsen… Isabella… Tofte… Little Marais… Beaver Bay… And Grand Marais… Snow heavy at times will continue to fall in the warning through Wednesday Morning…Although the snow may end for a time This Evening before it picks back up once again later Tonight. Snowfall rates could approach 1-2″ an hour in the most intense snow bands… Gusty east to northeast winds at 15-35 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow and whiteout conditions during times of heavy falling snow. Snowfall accumulations so far Today have generally ranged from 4-8″ in the warning area…Another 2-6″ of snow is expected through Wednesday which will bring storm totals to 6-14″… Travel will continue to be extremely difficult or impossible through Wednesday…

*Winter Storm Warning* in effect until 7 AM CDT Wednesday for the following counties… In Minnesota: Koochiching… Itasca… Cass… Crow Wing… Aitkin… Central and Southern St. Louis… Carlton… And Pine… In Wisconsin: Douglas… Burnett… Washburn… And Bayfield… Some cities included in the warning are: International Falls… Littlefork… Bigfork… Grand Rapids… Cass Lake… Walker… Brainerd… Aitkin… Hill City… McGregor… Hibbing… Cotton… Floodwood… Duluth… Esko… Cloquet… Cromwell… Moose Lake… Hinckley… Pine City… Superior… Solon Springs… Siren… Grantsburg… Spooner… Minong… Shell Lake… Port Wing… And Bayfield… Areas of snow will continue over Koochiching and Itasca Counties in Minnesota This Evening while areas of drizzle…and freezing drizzle occur for the rest of the area covered by this warning… Be advise that areas of fog could also develop This Evening…Especially from Duluth-Superior on south. Another round of snow is then forecast to overspread the warning area from south to north between 7 PM-10 PM Tonight… Additional snow is then expected Overnight through Wednesday Morning… Snowfall totals Today have generally ranged from 2-6″ in the warning area with another 2-5″ of snow expected through Wednesday Morning… Storm total accumulations of 4-11″ are expected with the highest amounts falling west and northwest of Duluth. Gusty east to northeast winds will continue Tonight at 15-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph near Lake Superior. The wind will decrease from south to north later in the night. Areas of blowing and drifting snow will continue Tonight with whiteout or near whiteout conditions possible as the heavier snow bands move through. Travel will continue to be very difficult through Wednesday in the warning area.

*Winter Weather Advisory* is in effect until 7 AM CDT Wednesday for the following counties in Wisconsin: Ashland… Iron… Sawyer… And Price… Some cities included in the advisory are: Ashland… Hurley… Hayward… And Park Falls… Look for areas of rain, sleet, and snow This Evening to change over to snow Overnight and on Wednesday. Total snow accumulations of 2-4″ are possible in the advisory area by Wednesday with the higher totals expected to be over Ashland and Iron Counties. Use extreme caution if you will be traveling through Wednesday as roads will be wet in spots and ice covered or slushy in other areas.

*Flood Warning* now in effect until 130 PM CDT Thursday for Southwestern Cass County in Northcentral Minnesota… At 125 PM CDT Tuesday…Flooding continued along the Crow Wing River… During the past 24 hours river levels have decreased slightly.

*Flood Warning* in effect until further notice for the Mississippi River at Aitkin Minnesota…This includes Aitkin County in Eastcentral Minnesota… At 10 AM CDT Tuesday…The stage was 15 feet. Minor flooding is occurring and minor flooding is forecast… Flood stage is 12 feet… The river will continue to slowly receed… At 15 feet minor flooding of low lying areas occurs in Aitkin.

*Flood Warning* in effect for the Mississippi River at Fort Ripley Minnesota including Crow Wing County in Eastcentral Minnesota until Tuesday, April 7th, 2009…Or until the warning is cancelled… At 10 AM CDT Tuesday…The stage was 11.5 feet… Flood stage is 10 feet. The river will continue to fall below flood stage by early Tuesday Morning, April 7th, 2009…

Tim

3/31/09: Tuesday’s Weather Report

Issued at 3:30 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

-Forecast is working out quite well so far as this latest winter storm moves through the area…

-Main forecast concerns deal with the dry slot moving in right now… The threat for freezing drizzle under the dry slot…

-Attention will then turn back to the strong upper level low which could bring another round of snow to parts of the area Tonight and Wednesday…

-Long term issues deal with the big storm this weekend and how far north will it track…Very amplified/blocky type pattern set to develop across the U.S. this weekend into most of next week…

-No signs of Spring at least through next week…

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

(Today’s Weather)

At 3 PM CDT…Low pressure of 992 mb had moved into Southwest Minnesota… This low has been moving very slow as it was over Southeast South Dakota around 2 AM This Morning and now has just crossed into Southwest Minnesota as of 3 PM Today. Strongest pressure falls This Afternoon have shifted into Northern Minnesota so we should see the low head up into that general direction…But it will be slow to do so. Widespread snow fell most of the day across Northeast Minnesota with some very heavy bands of snow embedded within the larger area of light snow… Whiteout and near whiteout conditions have been widespread at times Today across Northeast Minnesota due to the heavy snow and blowing snow… Warmer air was found over most of Northwest Wisconsin Today which led to a mix bag of snow…sleet…rain…and even some freezing rain… High temperatures around the area were generally in the 20s and 30s with 40s over parts of Northwest Wisconsin. Winds were out of the east to northeast at 15-25 mph Today with gusts from 30 to 45 mph…Especially around Lake Superior.

Snowfall totals through mid-Afternoon Today have ranged from 2-8″ across Northern Minnesota and parts of Northwest Wisconsin… The heaviest totals so far have occurred along the North Shore of Lake Superior with the least amount of snow across Northwest Wisconsin into far Eastern Minnesota…

Here in Duluth…About 3-4″ of snow has fallen so far…Ending at 3 PM Today.

(Today’s Upper Air Analysis)

A large and powerful upper level and surface low pressure area was shifting north-northeast from the Northwest Iowa/far Southeast South Dakota/Southwest Minnesota area… Strong 150 meter 12 hour H5 height falls were occurring Today out ahead of this intense storm from Southern Minnesota to Central Iowa. A dry slot continued to shift north and northwest and covered much of Central and Eastern Minnesota through parts of Northwest Wisconsin as of mid-Afternoon…This has caused the precipitation to taper off to areas of freezing drizzle, drizzle, and flurries…But now there’s scattered convective type precipiation elements firing off northeast of the H5 low over parts of Western Wisconsin back toward the Twin Cities area…This precipitation was lifting north-northeast… 850 mb temperatures as of 3 PM CDT Today ranged from zero to -4 degrees C across Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.

(Tonight)

Look for snow to continue across the Arrowhead and far Northern parts of Minnesota through the night as the dry slot shouldn’t really affect those areas… Elsewhere look for a lull in the precipitation early with areas of freezing drizzle, drizzle, along with some light rain or snow… Might also see some patchy fog mainly over Southern parts of the area This Evening… From mid-Evening through the Overnight hours look for the surface low which was over Southwest Minnesota This Afternoon to lift north-northeast…Likely reaching Eastcentral Minnesota Overnight. The intense H5 low will also shift north-east toward Eastern Minnesota during the Overnight hours. We should see an expansion of snow as this upper low moves in and results in some extra lift in the atmosphere… Lows Tonight will be in the 20s and 30s. Look for east to northeast winds at 10 to 20 mph with some higher gusts before Midnight. Winds will begin to shift into the south and west over Southern parts of the area later Tonight.

(Wednesday and Wednesday Night)

Surface low and upper level area of low pressure will be pulling north-northeast across the local area on Wednesday before exiting to our north by Wednesday Night. Look for additional areas of snow around the area on Wednesday with another few inches of accumulation possible, mainly in Northeast Minnesota. Lingering flurries or snow showers are possible Wednesday Night but additional accumulations are not expected… Highs Wednesday will be in the 20s and 30s with lows Wednesday Night in the teens and 20s. Look for south, east, west, or northwest winds on Wednesday with west or northwest winds Wednesday Night. Wind speeds will generally be in the 10 to 20 mph range during this period.

Snowfall storm total accumulations by Wednesday Afternoon should go as follows:

Cass…Crow Wing…Aitkin…Carlton…Southern St. Louis…And Pine Counties in Minnesota should end up with 4-8″ of accumulation…

Koochiching…Itasca…Central-Northern St. Louis…Lake…And Cook Counties in Minnesota should end up with 5-12″ of accumulation…

Douglas…Burnett…Washburn…Bayfield…Sawyer…Price…Ashland…And Iron Counties in Wisconsin should end up with anywhere from 1-5″ with the higher totals found across Burnett…Douglas…And Bayfield Counties…

(Extended Forecast)

Thursday and Friday look generally dry and quiet around the area as the next strong storm system currently over the Pacific Northwest takes the southern route and stays away from our local area later this week. Look for highs to be in the 30s and 40s Thursday and Friday with lows mostly in the 20s. Another strong storm is forecast to take shape across the Rockies this weekend with the low expected to pull out into the Plains later this weekend… Exact track of this storm is highly uncertain right now with plenty of model difference showing up this far out… The Navy-Nogaps is the farthest west-north with the storm track while the Gem-Global/Gfs/Euro offer a more southern solution… This storm will have to be watched since if it comes far enough north it could bring another round of wind/snow/rain to parts of the local area later this weekend or early next week.

5 Day Forecast for Duluth/Superior

*Winter Storm Warning* in effect until 7 AM CDT Wednesday…

.Tonight… Windy This Evening… Occasional light freezing drizzle…Light snow…And flurries This Evening… Snow redeveloping between 9 PM and 11 PM with some snow lingering through the Overnight hours… Additional snowfall of 1-3″ possible by Morning. Low 25 to 30. Wind east to northeast at 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph… Wind decreasing to 10 to 20 mph Overnight.

.Wednesday… Light snow and flurries… Additional accumulations under an inch. Storm totals will range from 4-8″… High 30 to 35. Wind east at 5 to 15 mph early…Becoming southwest at 10 to 20 mph during the Morning.

.Wednesday Night… Flurries. Mostly cloudy. Low 20 to 25. Wind west to southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

.Thursday… Mostly cloudy. High 31 to 37.

.Thursday Night… Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 20 to 25.

.Friday… Partly sunny. High 35 to 40.

.Friday Night… Partly cloudy. Low 20 to 25.

.Saturday… Partly cloudy. High 35 to 40.

Normal High Temperature Today 41 degrees

Normal Low Temperature Today 23 degrees

Tim

3/31/09: Winter Storm Update Number 2

Issued at 1:40 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

*Winter Storm Warning* continues until 7 AM CDT Wednesday for Duluth/Superior…Including Southern St. Louis and Douglas Counties…

At 1 PM CDT…Low pressure averaging 992 mb was centered over far Northwest Iowa. This low has moved very little during the past 12 hours or so. A dry slot is lifting north as expected and extends from south of Sturgeon Lake in Northern Pine County Minnesota…east through Northern Burnett…Northern Washburn…and Sawyer Counties in Northwest Wisconsin. Still seeing some intense snow bands develop on the nose of this advancing dry slot. Many of these snow bands have been dropping close to an inch per hour snowfall rates Today. The problem seems to be that these bands haven’t been lasting more than 10-15 minutes for most locations, and this could lead to less snowfall than previously expected for most of the area… The exception to this seems to be along the North Shore of Lake Superior where snow totals as of early This Afternoon ranged from 4-6″ already with several more inches likely to occur in that area through This Evening.

As for Duluth…Snow will persist through 3 PM, but it will end shortly thereafter…Until then, expect brief periods of near whiteout conditions to persist as the heavier snow bands move through the city…This combined with east-northeast winds at 15-30 mph with gusts of 35-40 mph will result in the near whiteout conditions through 3 PM Today.

The surface 32 degree temperature contour as of 1 PM CDT Today has shifted north and now extends from far Southern Aitkin County through far Northern Pine County in Minnesota…east through Northern Douglas into Northwest Bayfield Counties in Wisconsin…

The 32 degree wet bulb temperature contour stretched from Northcentral Pine County Minnesota…east through Central Douglas into Northeast Bayfield Counties in Wisconsin…

I would expect to see the freezing line continue to lift north/west through the remainder of Today as low pressure remains nearly stationary over far Northwest Iowa.

The attention here in Duluth may turn to one that consists of some developing freezing drizzle once the snow ends and the dry slot moves overhead…I’ll be monitoring that situation closely. As far as snowfall storm totals go…I’m still calling for 4-8″ by early Wednesday…But current thinking is that will end up with the lower end of these expected totals.

Stay tuned for more updates…

Tim

3/31/09: Winter Storm Video

Issued at 12:47 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Here are some videos I grabbed as a heavy snow band passed thru Duluth Minnesota around 12 PM Today… East-northeast winds have been gusting to 30 to 45 mph here in the city with near whiteout conditions at times as the heavier snow bands move through. I have 2.5″ of snow on the ground as of Noon Today…But there is alot of drifting taking place. Also, the snow isn’t wet, but it is compacting pretty good. Temperatures at Noon Today were running between 28-31 degrees here in Duluth.

3/31/09: Winter Storm Update Number 1

Issued at 9:15 AM CDT, Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

*Winter Storm Warning* until 7 AM CDT Wednesday for Duluth/Superior…Including Southern St. Louis and Douglas Counties…

As of 7 AM CDT: 1.1″ of snow had fallen at the NWS in Duluth Minnesota…

At 8 AM CDT…Low pressure averaging 992 mb was centered over Southeastern South Dakota… The low has made very little progress over the past 5 hours. Strongest pressure falls of 2 mb/2 hours have shifted into Western…Central…and Eastern Minnesota through most of Wisconsin This Morning…

Snow started to fall here in Duluth around 2 AM Today with some ice pellets mixed in during the wee hours of the morning… Snow continued to fall here in the city as of 9 AM with bands of heavier snow now beginning to develop to our south…With movement toward the north.

Temperatures as of 8 AM were in the upper 20s to 30 degrees in the city with howling east-northeast winds of 25 to as high as 45 mph!

The zero degree H85 temperature contour stretched from Central Pine County in Eastcentral Minnesota through Southern Price County in Northwest Wisconsin as of 8 AM Today…

The surface 32 degree temperature contour as of 8 AM extended from Southcentral Pine County in Eastcentral Minnesota through Central Washburn and Southwest Sawyer Counties in Northwest Wisconsin…

The surface wet bulb 32 degree temperature contour as of 8 AM was centered just south and southeast of the Duluth forecast area.

Latest RUC model guidance indicates only a very slow east-northeast track to the surface low…With the low moving from Southeast South Dakota into Southern Minnesota by late This Afternoon or early This Evening…

I’m pretty confident that precipitation that falls through the day will come down as snow here in Duluth and it will likely turn heavy at times as strong lift and forcing help to cause heavier bands of precip to our south while they lift north into our area.

The strong east-northeast winds of 20-35 mph will also persist through the day with gusts to 40-45 mph possible. This combined with the snow will create near white-out conditions at times in the city as the most intense snow bands roll through.

I’m still concerned that temperatures may warm up enough by late This Afternoon or early This Evening to cause the snow to mix with or change to drizzle or freezing drizzle here in Duluth…But by that time we could be getting into the dry slot of this whole storm… I’ll continue to monitor those trends throughout the day…

Stay tuned for more updates

Tim