Whew that was fun! Prelim snow totals and high wind report from Today’s Blizzard!

Issued at 3:25 PM CST, Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

  • Blizzard continues This Evening around the head of Lake Superior
  • Much calmer day on Thursday
  • Some snow chances late this week and this weekend

*Preliminary snowfall reports from February 28th-29th, 2012*
Source:  National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota

3 miles north of Butternut, WI (Ashland County)  19.0″
9 miles north-northeast of Sawyer, MN (St. Louis County)  17.0″
Winter, WI (Sawyer County)  17.0″
4 miles southeast of Park Falls, WI (Price County)  16.0″
Benoit, WI (Bayfield County)  15.0″
Phillips, WI (Price County)  14.0″
Ashland, WI (Ashland County)  12.0″
Gile, WI (Iron County)  11.5″
Montreal, WI (Iron County)  11.0″
11 miles north of Brule, WI (Douglas County)  10.0″
Herbster, WI (Bayfield County)  10.0″
Pine City, MN (Pine County)  10.0″
Alborn, MN (St. Louis County)  9.0″
Saginaw, MN (St. Louis County)  9.0″
Esko, MN (Carlton County)  8.0″
Moose Lake, MN (Carlton County)  7.2″
Brainerd, MN (Crow Wing County)  7.0″
Pillager, MN (Cass County)  6.5″
Lake Shore, MN (Cass County)  6.0″
Silver Bay, MN (Lake County)  5.5″
2 miles east of Payne, MN (St. Louis County)  5.5″
McGregor, MN (Aitkin County)  4.0″
Little Marais, MN (Cook County)  3.0″
Pine River, MN (Cass County)  2.0″
7 miles south of Bigfork, MN (Itasca County)  1.3″

5 miles northwest of Duluth, MN (St. Louis County)  9.0″ official total at the NWS thru 2:55pm CST.

High wind report from February 29th, 2012
Source:  National Weather Service Duluth, Minnesota

Knife River:  57 mph
Duluth Airport:  56 mph
Sky Harbor:  56 mph
Silver Bay:  52 mph
Esko:  50 mph
Two Harbors:  49 mph
Superior:  45 mph

60-70 mph winds were also reported by automated observing stations on the Blatnik Bridge over the Duluth Harbor Today.

*Storm Update*

-Blizzard Warning continues until 8pm CST This Evening for Duluth…Including Southern St. Louis and Carlton Counties in Northeast Minnesota.

-Minnesota Power reports 4800 customers without power in the Duluth and Cloquet areas as of mid-Afternoon.

-Travel is not advised in Southern St. Louis…Carlton…or Pine Counties in Minnesota, this includes the Northern portion of Interstate 35  (NWS Duluth)

-Travel is not advised on Route 2 from Superior, Wisconsin to Ironwood, Michigan

-Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 8pm CST This Evening for Southern Lake and Pine Counties in Minnesota and for Douglas…Bayfield…Ashland…Iron…Burnett…Washburn…Sawyer…and Price Counties in Wisconsin.

-Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 8pm CST This Evening for Central St. Louis…Northern Lake…and Cook Counties in Minnesota.

Weather Tidbits:

*216 severe weather reports (15 tornadoes) across parts of the Central Plains on February 28th.  Tornado reports occurred in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.  (SPC)

*58 severe weather reports (6 tornadoes) so far Today from Arkansas to the Ohio Valley.  Tornado reports were in Indiana and Kentucky.  (SPC)

Weather History:

On this date in 2000:  A record high temperature of 55 degrees occurred at Duluth, Minnesota.

Today’s Weather Summary for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Deep low pressure of 994mb was centered in far Southeast Minnesota as of 3pm.  Snow, heavy at times continued Today in Northwest Wisconsin and Northeast Minnesota with blizzard conditions in and around the Duluth area.  Little if any snow fell once you got up to the Minnesota/Ontario border.  Highs Today were in the 20s and 30s with east or northeast winds at 10 to 20 mph, but powerful winds of 30 to 55 mph with higher gusts developed early This Morning and persisted through the day around Lake Superior.

Today’s Upper Level Analysis:

A strong 500mb low was moving into Southern-Central Wisconsin late This Afternoon per water vapor satellite imagery with impressive 12 hour 500mb height falls of 90-210 meters covering the Great Lakes and parts of the Upper Midwest per RUC model analysis.  The next big storm was currently in the Pacific Northwest and was moving toward the east Today.  850mb temperatures as of 3pm ranged from -1 to -5C in Minnesota.

Note:  Click on the map below for a 12 hour loop.  Very impressive storm nails parts of the Northland last ngiht and Today.

Forecast Discussion for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin

Tonight (February 29th)

Strong area of low pressure will move out of Wisconsin This Evening.  Light snow and flurries will persist most of the night in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin with heavier snow showers continuing This Evening near Lake Superior.  Additional snowfall accumulations will be an inch or less, however, localized amounts ranging from 1-3″ are possible near Lake Superior.  Partly to mostly cloudy skies are expected Tonight with lows in the teens and 20s.  Winds will be out of the north or east at 5 to 15 mph with stronger winds of 20 to 45 mph continuing into mid-Evening near Lake Superior.

Thursday and Thursday Night (March 1st)

Low pressure will track E-NE out of the Central Plains while another area of low pressure moves east across the Northern Plains.  Partly to mostly cloudy skies are forecast this period with occasional snow showers and flurries.  Accumulations through this period should remain under an inch.  Highs Tomorrow will mainly be in the 30s with lows Tomorrow Night in the teens and 20s.  Winds during this period will be out of the south or east around 15 mph or less.

Extended Forecast, Friday-Sunday (March 2nd-4th)

Low pressure will lift northeast into the Eastern Great Lakes between Friday and Saturday while a NW flow develops across the Upper Midwest which will bring a weak disturbance or two across the region from Friday through Sunday.  Could be some snow showers and flurries at times during this period with high temperatures in the 30s on Friday and the teens and 20s for Saturday and Sunday.  Lows will be in the teens Friday Night and the single digits and teens for Saturday Night.

Long Range Forecast (March 5th-11th)

Milder temperatures are forecast to move into the Upper Midwest early next week, some spots might even reach 40 degrees.  Could be some sort of a storm or more than one storm at somepoint the middle/end of next week, March 7th-10th time frame which could bring some precipitation (snow/rain) to the Upper Midwest.  Stay tuned!

5 DAY FORECAST FOR DULUTH/SUPERIOR

*BLIZZARD WARNING*
Until 8pm CST Tonight

.Tonight…  Windy early.  Occasional snow tapering to flurries before Midnight.  Additional snowfall accumulations around 1″ with storm totals of 8-10″.  Mostly cloudy.  Low 20 to 25.  Wind east to northeast at 15 to 30 mph with gusts over 40 mph, decreasing to 10 to 15 mph and becoming north between 9-11pm.  Areas of blowing and drifting snow continuing This Evening with blizzard conditions at times.

.Thursday…  Partly sunny.  High 30 to 35.  Wind northwest at 5 to 15 mph, becoming southeast.

.Thursday Night…  Mostly cloudy.  Snow showers or flurries possible.  Low 20 to 25.  Wind southeast at 5 to 15 mph.  Chance of snow 30%.

.Friday…  Mostly cloudy.  Snow showers or flurries possible.  High 30 to 35.  Chance of snow 30%.

.Friday Night…  Mostly cloudy.  Flurries possible.  Low 18 to 23.

.Saturday…  Variable cloudiness.  Flurries possible.  High 25 to 30.

.Saturday Night…  Partly to mostly cloudy.  Low 6 to 11.

.Sunday…  Partly sunny.  High 20 to 25.

Normal temperatures for Today

High:  29
Low:  11

Sunrise Thursday:  6:47 AM CST
Sunset Thursday:   5:55 PM CST

Tim

Preliminary Snowfall Report/Storm Summary

Issued at 10:45 AM CST, Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

*Preliminary snowfall report per NWS Duluth, Minnesota*

Butternut, WI (Ashland County)  17.0″
2 miles north of Fifield, WI (Price County)  16.5″
2 miles west of Hayward, WI (Sawyer County)  14.0″
3 miles north of Pine City, MN (Pine County)  12.0″
Askov, MN (Pine County)  12.0″
4 miles north of Grantsburg, WI (Burnett County)  11.7″
2 miles northeast of Ashland, WI (Ashland County)  11.0″
2 miles south-southwest of Poplar, WI (Douglas County)  7.5″
Brainerd, MN (Crow Wing County)  6.0″
Moose Lake, MN (Carlton County)  6.0″
Saginaw, MN (St. Louis County)  4.5″

5 miles northwest of Duluth, MN (St. Louis County)  7.0″ official total through 9:55am CST.

Brief storm summary:

As of 10am CST:  Low pressure of 990mb was centered in Southern Minnesota.  This low will continue to track toward the E-NE through the rest of Today and should be centered near Green Bay, Wisconsin by early This Evening.

A couple storm reports per Twitter @b_stahl and @duluthnews

-Power outage in Superior.  2000 people affected in the Mariner Mall area.
-City of Duluth closing all it’s buildings immediately.

Tim

*Storm Update Number 5* Blizzard!

Issued at 10:10 AM CST, Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

***BLIZZARD WARNING*** until 6pm CST This Evening for Duluth including Southern St. Louis and Carlton Counties in Northeast Minnesota.  Sustained blizzard conditions will continue through the Afternoon hours with winds, falling and blowing snow.  East to northeast winds of 30 to 45 mph with frequent gusts of 50 mph or greater will persist in and around Duluth.  Visibilities will remain as low as 50 to 100 feet.

Impacts:  A blizzard is very dangerous.  Do not go out! Do not attempt to drive.

A blizzard warning means severe and life-threatening winter weather conditions are expected.  The combination of strong winds and falling and blowing snow will result in dangerously low visibility and whiteout conditions.  Any travel is strongly discouraged.  If you choose to travel, you may be risking your life.  Be aware that you may become stranded and that it could take many hours for help to arrive.  Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle, including a flashlight, food and water.  Let someone know your travel route and expected arrival time and have a working cell phone in case you become stranded.  If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle and use it as a shelter.  Many deaths occur in blizzards when people leave their vehicles trying to seek help.

*Law Enforcement Warning*
Source:  NWS Duluth, Minnesota

Per Ashland County 911 Communications Center:  U.S. Highway 2 is declared impassable and closed between Sanborn Ave. and State Highway 13 north due to extreme weather conditions.  Motorists are to use designated State Highway 137 detour.

The closure will remain in affect until further notice.

Current headline map per HAMweather:

Tim

*Storm Update Number 4*

Issued at 11:32 PM CST, Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

*WINTER STORM WARNING* for Duluth and Superior until 6pm CST Wednesday.

At 11pm CST:  Low pressure of 992mb was located in Northeast Nebraska/Southeast South Dakota.

Radar imagery over the past 2 hours:

Snow line has reached a Wright to Mahtowa, Minnesota line…and from Patzau to Ashland in Northwest Wisconsin.  The snow area continued to lift slowly toward the north.

Here are a few snowfall reports from This Evening per NWS Duluth, Minnesota:

1 mile south of Hinckley, MN (Pine County)  5.0″
4 miles south-southwest of Bruno, MN (Pine County)  1.5″
8 miles south of Hayward, WI (Sawyer County)  1.8″
Sandstone, MN (Pine County)  1.0″ fell in 1 hour.
9 miles east of Herbster, WI (Burnett County)  2.5″
Sarona, WI (Washburn County)  2.0″

Latest thinking:

-Snow arrives in Duluth between 12am/1am with accumulations of 1-3″ possible in the city by 6am.  Additional snow, heavy at times will occur on Wednesday with another 8-11″ of accumulation possible which would bring storm totals to 9-14″ by late Wednesday Afternoon.

-East winds had increased to 15-25 mph in Duluth as of late This Evening.  Expect gusty E-NE winds to continue into Wednesday with wind speeds of 15-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

-Areas of blowing and drifting snow will develop thru Wednesday.  Expect poor driving conditions with snow/ice covered roads with visibilities reduced to one half mile or less at times in falling and blowing snow.

-Snowfall storm totals should vary greatly across the Northland.  9-14″ still looks likely in Northwest Wisconsin, the Twin Ports, Northshore, I35 corridor and west to the Brainerd Lakes with locally higher amounts possible.  Snowfall amounts will fall off drastically as you head farther north with anywhere from 1-5″ of accumulation for the Iron Range, Arrowhead and Borderland areas.

Tim

*Storm Update Number 3*

Issued at 7:47 PM CST, Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

*WINTER STORM WARNING* for Duluth and Superior until 6pm CST Wednesday.

Current headline map from HAMweather:

Winter Storm Warning covers all of Northwest Wisconsin, most of Northeast, Eastern and Central Minnesota. Winter Weather Advisory borders the warning to the north and south.

At 7pm CST:  Low pressure of 995mb was located in Central Nebraska and should move into far Southern Minnesota Wednesday Morning.

Latest radar imagery shows the leading edge of snow spreading slowly north into Central-Eastern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.  At 7:48 PM CST GR3 radar out of Duluth had the leading edge of snow from about Leader and Brainerd, east to Askov in Minnesota and from Dairyland and Wascott, east to Glidden and Mercer in Northwest Wisconsin.

Click the map for a little loopy loop:

Timeline:

-Based on current radar trends and short term model guidance, it appears that snow should reach the Twin Ports between 10pm-12am Tonight.

-Snow will gradually lift farther north after Midnight, reaching the Iron Range, North Shore and Arrowhead regions between 3-7am Wednesday Morning.

-I do have some concerns that snowfall totals may be lower than expected along and north of Highway 2 in Northern Minnesota.  It appears were heading into a very tight snowfall gradient (kind of what I feared a few days ago)

-I still expect 9-14″ of snow in the Twin Ports by late Wednesday Afternoon, but at the moment I’m leaning toward the lower end of these totals based on what I’m seeing with radar trends and model guidance.  The fly in the ointment would be if we get some lake enhanced/lake effect snowfall in Duluth on Wednesday, if that happens then snow totals should have no problem reaching or exceeding 12″.

-East to northeast winds will continue to increase Overnight into Wednesday…20 to 30 mph wind speeds will be common in the Twin Ports with higher gusts possible.

-Areas of blowing and drifting snow will develop late Tonight and continue on Wednesday.  The combination of falling and blowing snow will lead to visibilities of a half mile or less at times.  Roads will become snow covered and slippery and travel will become very difficult.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Tim