/Issued 5:01 PM CST, Tuesday, February 20, 2018/
12z GEFS model from February 20, 2018. That’s quite a bit of precipitation that could fall over the upper Midwest during the next 2 weeks or so, and those are liquid precipitation amounts, so a lot of this could fall as snow after looking at projected temperatures through early March, and if that is the case, then some parts of the upper Midwest could be looking at over a foot of snow by March 8.
18z RGEM Temperature analysis from Tuesday afternoon, February 20, 2018.
3-Day Snowfall Totals from around the Northland
Timing: Sunday through Tuesday, February 18-20, 2018
2 ENE Holyoke, MN: 14.2 inches
1 SW Ely, MN: 13.5 inches
2 NW Duluth, MN: 12.6 inches
6 N Knife River, MN: 12.0 inches
Embarrass, MN: 12.0 inches
3 N Amnicon Falls State Park, WI: 11.7 inches
2 NW Gary New Duluth, MN: 10.0 inches
Duluth Airport: 9.9 inches
3 N Mahtowa, MN: 9.8 inches
2 NE Duluth, MN: 9.7 inches
Cook, MN: 9.5 inches
*February 18-20 Snow Event Recap*
In a winter that has had very little snow events in most of the Northland, the February 18-20 event was a nice one! Snow depths over most of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin are at their highest we’ve seen so far this winter with many locations now at a foot to two feet or more of snow on the ground.
Sunday’s snow: This was handled differently by the various computer models, some had it further south from where it actually occurred, but a few of them nailed the area that was hit quite nicely.
Surprises: The heavy snow band that setup Monday over parts of far eastern Minnesota and far northwest Wisconsin, computer models showed an area of snow developing over that area, but snow totals overachieved by quite a bit. Also the amount of freezing drizzle that occurred early Tuesday morning in the Twin Ports area, wasn’t expecting much if any icing here in Duluth.
Lake Effect: I figured there was a pretty good chance that that there would be some lake effect/enhanced snow near Lake Superior with the NE flow over the lake on Monday, and a nice band of heavy lake effect snow did develop Monday evening, but with the wind out of the N-NE, this snow band targeted the far south portion of the city of Duluth, including the Fond du Lac area, east into Superior. Winds really never shifted to the E-NE which would’ve shifted that heavier lake snow band farther north into Duluth Monday night.
Note: This was going to be a rather long duration event with multiple waves of snow impacting northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from Sunday through Tuesday. The official snowfall total at the Duluth Airport was nearly 10 inches (9.9 inches) My 3-day snowfall forecast was for 5-8 inches of snow in the Duluth area. My snowfall forecast ended up too low for a good portion of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
An impressive temperature contrast remained in place across the U.S. today with late afternoon temperatures ranging from 5 above in northwest North Dakota to 46F at Las Vegas, NV to the mid 20s in central Oklahoma to the 70s and 80s over the southern U.S. with some locations in Florida approaching 90 degrees! 60s as far north as Chicago today, near 50F in Milwaukee.
Looking at the upper levels, southwest flow aloft continues across the upper Midwest with an upper level trough over the western High Plains while a massive upper level ridge (594 meters, incredible for February) dominated the southeast U.S. Winds aloft are already strong and will get even stronger tonight and Wednesday with winds at 250mb (~20,000 feet) at around 160 knots late this afternoon, increasing to >200 knots on Wednesday with the corridor of powerful jet stream winds extending from the upper Great Lakes to eastern Canada.
A period of quieter weather on the way for the Northland as high pressure builds southeast out of the northern Plains. Partly to mostly cloudy skies tonight should give way to mostly sunny skies for Wednesday. Colder tonight with lows ranging from around 10 below to the single digits above zero. Highs Wednesday will be in the low to mid 20s, near to slightly below normal for late February.
Clouds increase Thursday which will lead to another round of accumulating snow for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin Thursday night into Friday morning. The Friday morning commute could be a slick one!
Forecast for Duluth and Superior
.Tonight… Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 0 to 5 below. Wind west to northwest at 10 to 20 mph.
.Wednesday… Mostly sunny. High 20 to 25. Wind southwest at 10 to 15 mph.
.Thursday… Partly to mostly cloudy. High 20 to 25. Wind south to southeast at 5 to 15 mph.
Normal temperatures for Wednesday
Sunrise Wednesday: 7:03 AM CST
Sunset Wednesday: 5:43 PM CST