Tonight’s winter storm shifting south just a bit. Snow still expected in Duluth but heaviest amounts south of Duluth. Cold Easter weekend ahead!

/Issued 4:49 PM CDT, Friday, March 30, 2018/

Note:  My confidence level isn’t the highest at the moment based on what I’ve been seeing with the model runs today.  The biggest takeaway per model data is that the storm track and area of greatest snowfall has shifted south.  I have the highest totals now falling south of Duluth (6-8″+)

For Duluth and Superior I’m going with 4-6″ totals.  Lesser amounts farther north. 

Could the models shift this system even a little further south through the evening?  Certainly could happen, and if that is the case, then snow totals will probably be closer to the 2-3 inch range in Duluth.


Radar loop ending at 4:45 PM CDT, Friday, March 30, 2018.



Tonight’s storm is just starting to move into Montana and North Dakota late this afternoon as energy continues to drop southeast out of southwestern Canada.  Note the popcorn type appearance on this satellite image, this is indicative of some convective nature to the snowfall in southern Alberta Province today.

Link to Road Conditions

Minnesota –

Wisconsin –

Snowfall Reports from Friday morning, March 30, 2018

Willow River, MN:  4.0 inches
3 N Brainerd, MN:  3.3 inches
7 WSW Pine River, MN:  3.2 inches
3 N Mahtowa, MN:  1.7 inches
3 SSW Bruno, MN:  1.6 inches
Duluth Airport:  0.8 inches
7 ESE Superior, WI:  0.7 inches

Weather Synopsis

Forecasting these winter storms is never easy, and tonight’s system is no different.  Computer models which help forecasters put together a forecast change often, sometimes every 6 hours, and when that happens, forecaster confidence levels drop off quite a bit — What looked like a slam dunk this morning in where the heaviest snow would fall later tonight has changed quite a bit through the day as new model data shifts the storm track and highest snowfall farther south.  The question now becomes will model runs through the evening continue to shift south, or will they stay fairly steady from here on out?

At 4 PM today low pressure of ~1008mb was over eastern Montana with greatest 2-hour pressure falls of 4mb focused over south central South Dakota per RAP model.  Should see the area of low pressure track toward the area of greatest pressure falls, so the surface low should end up in southern South Dakota this evening.  The low will then track across southern Minnesota Saturday morning, reaching northern Lake Michigan Saturday afternoon.

An impressive temperature gradient exists for tonight’s storm ranging from 5 to 10 above in southern Saskatchewan Province to around 60 degrees along the South Dakota/Nebraska state line.

Snow is expected to move into western parts of the Northland before midnight, snow will then spread farther south/east after midnight.  Note:  Snow should begin to fall in Duluth 12 AM-2 AM tonight, a little later than what it looked like earlier today.

Underneath the heaviest area of snow overnight-early Saturday morning, impacts include snowfall rates of 1 to possibly 2 inches per hour with significant reductions in visibilities down to 1/4 mile at times.  East central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin are most at risk for intense snowfall rates early Saturday morning, chances diminish farther north.

If you have travel plans late tonight through Saturday be prepared for snow covered and slippery roads along with very poor visibility at times due to falling and some blowing snow.  Road conditions should improve a bit during the day Saturday once the snow stops falling.

The snow is expected to diminish from west to east Saturday morning between 7-10 AM.

After the snow ends, the rest of the Easter holiday weekend should be dry but very cold for the time of year.  We’re looking at daytime highs Saturday in the teens and 20s (Should be around 40F) Lows Saturday night will range from the single digits below to around 10 above zero with highs Easter Sunday in the 20s.

Breaking it down for Duluth and Superior

•Partly to mostly cloudy this evening, flurries possible.

•Snow arrives Midnight to 2 AM tonight

•Snow ends Saturday morning 7-9 AM

•Total snowfall 4 to 6 inches (Amounts will be lower if the storm track shifts further south)

•Gusty north to northwest winds Saturday (20-30 mph) Some blowing snow possible


Second winter about to begin! March goes out like a lion! Snow Fri AM (Coating-2 inches) Heavy Snow possible Fri night-Sat AM (Winter Storm Watch in effect) Very cold weekend ahead; Subzero temps Easter morning? More snow chances next week

/Issued 4:55 PM CDT, Thursday, March 29, 2018/


18z NAM model

Friday night’s storm will have a nice temperature gradient with teens in northwest Minnesota to the 50s in southern South Dakota and Nebraska.  I threw on where the heaviest swath of snow could end up falling (Inside the white dashed lines on map)

Here’s my preliminary snowfall potential map for Friday night’s storm.  More details below.


18z RAP model


Forecast track of the low for Friday through Saturday.


20z HRRR model — Simulated Radar forecast beginning at Midnight tonight, ending at 9 AM Friday.  Blue is snow. 

Looks like there could be some snow Friday morning affecting portions of north central and east central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin, I guess you could call this the event before the main event Friday night?

Here’s the latest winter weather headlines map as of 3:57 PM CDT, Thursday, March 29, 2018.  Will see the watch area upgraded to either a warning or advisory during the day Friday unless the computer models are completely off with this system and this ends up being a bust.

Weather Synopsis

Lots of sunshine over the Northland this afternoon but temperatures were running 10-15 degrees colder compared to Wednesday.  Highs today ranged from the upper 20s to low/mid 30s which is below average for late March.  Surface map this afternoon featured an area of low pressure of 1014mb over northern Ontario Province with high pressure of 1024mb over the northern Plains and a 1032mb high over Saskatchewan Province.  Very cold temperatures were observed especially north of the border today with 3 PM temperatures only in the single digits in portions of Saskatchewan and Manitoba Provinces where 850mb temperatures ranged from -16 to -24C!  That reservoir of very cold temperatures will push into the Northland on Saturday behind Friday night’s winter storm.

All is quiet this evening under clear to partly cloudy skies, but clouds will be on the increase later tonight as a cold front passes through our area.  Some light snow could develop late tonight, lingering through Friday morning near this boundary — Not expecting a lot of snow with this event, possibly a dusting to around 2 inches before Noon Friday, with the best chance for this snow along or south of Highway 2 in northeast Minnesota and also affecting most of northwest Wisconsin the way it looks now.

Lows tonight will range from the single digits below to teens above zero with highs Friday in the 20s and 30s.  Any snow that does fall Friday morning should end by the afternoon with partly to mostly cloudy skies expected during the afternoon hours.

The focus will then shift to the system that is set to impact northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin for Friday night and Saturday.

This has the potential to be a rather strong storm with heavy snowfall rates, gusty winds and some blowing snow.  The heaviest snow is forecast to fall roughly from 10 PM Friday night to 7 AM Saturday, and the snow is forecast to spread from west to east across our area Friday night.  About the only thing I’m seeing that could keep snow totals from exceeding 6 inches would be the rapid movement of this system, but the dynamics in play should lead to bands of intense snowfall that should push a few cities in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin over the 6 inch mark!

Note:  There are some differences in the computer models regarding the timing of when the snow will begin to fall Friday night, most notably the new NAM model (18z run) which has slowed things down quite a bit from previous runs, so that’ll be something to keep an eye going forward.  But even with this slower solution, it doesn’t cut back on snow totals at all.

As with all storms, the track of the low could shift north or south just a bit during the next 24 hours.  If it shifts slightly north, then a greater risk for heavy snow would also push more to the north, likewise if the storm track shifts south so to would the greatest risk for heavy snow.

Note:  The majority of the computer models today show the heaviest snow band impacting the Duluth area but a few models like the German (ICON model) and Canadian model show the heaviest snow falling south of Duluth with lighter snowfall amounts for the Twin Ports area.  Euro, NAM and GFS models hit us good though with a nice dump of snow.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

Event:  *Winter Storm Watch*
Timing:  Friday night through Saturday morning

.Tonight…  Clear this evening followed by increasing cloudiness after midnight.  Breezy.  Low 9 to 14.  Wind northwest at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  Wind becoming north at 5 to 15 mph late.

.Friday…  Some snow possible mainly before Noon.  Around an inch of accumulation possible.  Mostly cloudy with some sun during the afternoon.  High 26 to 31.  Wind north at 5 to 15 mph becoming west.

.Friday night…  Increasing clouds during the evening.  Snow developing between 9 PM and Midnight.  Snow, possibly heavy at times after midnight.  Breezy.  Low around 25.  Wind becoming east at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph possible after midnight.  Areas of blowing snow possible late.

.Saturday…  Windy and cold.  Snow tapering off before 9 AM.  Total snowfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches possible.  High around 25.  Wind north becoming northwest at 15 to 30 mph.  Areas of blowing snow possible.

Normal temperatures for Friday

High:  40
Low:   23

Sunrise Friday:  6:52 AM CDT
Sunset Friday:   7:35 PM CDT


40s to lower 50s for Wednesday (Few showers possible) Colder with snow chances Thursday night-Saturday

/Issued 6:17 PM CDT, Tuesday, March 27, 2018/



18z NAM-Nest model — Simulated radar forecast for Wednesday (4 AM to 7 PM)  A cold front will be moving through the Northland on Wednesday with a few rain showers possible as that boundary moves through.  A few snow showers are also possible especially near the Canadian border.


Snowfall Reports from March 26, 2018

8 NNW Coleraine, MN:  8.5 inches
Deer River, MN:  8.5 inches
12 N Grand Rapids, MN:  8.5 inches
Cohasset, MN:  8.0 inches
Crane Lake, MN:  7.0 inches
Virginia, MN:  7.0 inches
Longville, MN:  7.0 inches
3 E Orr, MN:  6.2 inches
Chisholm, MN:  6.1 inches
Tamarack, MN:  6.0 inches
Breezy Point, MN:  6.0 inches
2 E Celina, MN:  6.0 inches
7 WSW Pine River, MN:  6.0 inches
Lake Nebagamon, WI:  5.8 inches
Hibbing, MN:  5.5 inches
Cook, MN:  5.5 inches
Aitkin, MN:  5.0 inches
Cass Lake, MN:  5.0 inches
International Falls, MN:  4.2 inches
Embarrass, MN:  4.0 inches
Cloquet, MN:  3.5 inches
Babbit, MN:  3.2 inches
3 E Wright, MN:  3.1 inches
6 NE Hertel, WI:  2.6 inches
3 SE Cotton, MN:  2.5 inches
Duluth Airport:  2.4 inches
Gordon, WI:  2.2 inches
Hovland, MN:  2.0 inches
Ashland, WI:  1.8 inches
Grantsburg, WI:  1.3 inches

*Record Event for March 26, 2018*

Snowiest March 26 on record at International Falls, Minnesota with a snowfall total on Monday of 4.0 inches.  This breaks the previous record of 3.0 inches set on March 26, 1909. 

-3rd greatest precipitation total on record at International Falls, Minnesota on March 26, 2018 (0.34 inches)  Wettest March 26 on record occurred in 1961 with 0.43 inches of precipitation.

Note:  2.3 inches of snow at the Duluth Airport on Monday, March 26, 2018 — This was the 5th snowiest March 26 on record.  Snowiest March 26 occurred in 1995 with 4.5 inches of snow.

Weather Synopsis

A very nice spring day once the clouds moved out.  Sunshine was in abundance in our area by mid afternoon and temperatures responded by climbing into the 40s which is close to average or a few degrees above average for late March. 

High pressure will remain in control of our weather tonight but clouds will be increasing as the next system approaches from the west.  Lows will be in the 20s and 30s.

For Wednesday, expect partly to mostly cloudy skies.  A cold front will move across the area with southwesterly breezes ahead of the front turning to the northwest behind it.  It’ll be a mild day with highs in the 40s to lower 50s with slightly cooler temperatures in far northern Minnesota (35 to 40 degrees)  that area could also see a few rain or mixed rain-snow showers with a few rain showers possible farther south into east central Minnesota and far northwest Wisconsin.

Note:  Wednesday looks like the last real mild day around here for a while as winds aloft turn out of the northwest which will allow cold Canadian air to penetrate south into the northern Plains and upper Midwest.  There is a chance for record or near record cold across the Northland this weekend through next week, and some locations could dip to zero or below zero for overnight lows.

There is also a chance that we get some more snow later this week.  Thursday night-Friday morning, and again Friday evening-Saturday morning are the two time frames that could produce some accumulating snow in parts of the area but there are major model differences between the drier GFS model to the much snowier European model especially for the Friday evening-Saturday system.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight…  Clear with skies becoming partly to mostly cloudy.  Low 27 to 32.  Wind southwest at 10 to 15 mph.

.Wednesday…  Partly to mostly cloudy.  A few rain showers possible.  High 43 to 48.  Wind south to southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

.Thursday…  Partly to mostly cloudy.  Cooler.  High 32 to 37.  Wind northwest at 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for Wednesday

High:  40
Low:   22

Sunrise Wednesday:  6:56 AM CDT
Sunset Wednesday:   7:33 PM CDT


Snow and mixed precip continues this evening; 40s Tue-Wed. Colder with more snow chances later this week. Snowfall reports from today in this post

/Issued 5:27 PM CDT, Monday, March 26, 2018/


Radar loop ending at 5:30 PM CDT, Monday, March 26, 2018.

Blue:  Snow
Green:  Rain
Pink:  Mixed precipitation

Snow continues to fall over parts of the Northland late this afternoon and it will continue this evening before ending from west to east later this evening.


500mb forecast valid from March 29 through April 2, 2018.


Goes-16 True Color visible satellite loop from Monday, March 26, 2018.  A little convective looking in Minnesota today, note the lumpier looking appearance to the clouds over Minnesota, this is an indication of some heavier convective type snow bursts which have been impacting portions of central and northeast Minnesota today.

Snowfall Reports for Monday, March 26, 2018

1 S Emily, MN:  7.0 inches
Bigfork, MN:  5.5 inches
2 ESE Cohasset, MN:  4.8 inches
La Prairie, MN:  4.2 inches
5.1 N Pillager, MN:  3.0 inches
Ely, MN:  2.5 inches
Duluth Airport:  0.7 inches through 5 PM Monday

Weather Synopsis

It’s been a while since we’ve had this much precipitation in our area, but today was rather snowy in parts of north central and northeast Minnesota with snow totals ranging from under an inch at Duluth to 7 inches north of Brainerd with quite a few reports of 2 to 5 inches of snow over the Iron Range. 

The forecast has been verifying quite well.  We had the burst of snow this morning in Duluth, and now this afternoon most of the snow was west/north of the Twin Ports, and this was shown in some model guidance on Sunday. 

Snowfall totals have been in line with what I was forecasting for this event with a swath of 4-6 inches from the Brainerd Lakes up toward the Hibbing area, and generally 1 to 4 inches west and east of there.

The next round of snow continues to approach from the southwest late this afternoon, and its this area of snow that will impact the Twin Ports this evening giving us a few more inches of accumulation. 

Snow will also continue farther west and north of Duluth with another 1 to 4 inches of accumulation likely.  Visibilities will drop to around a quarter mile at times this evening as heavier bursts of snow pass through the area.

In addition to the snow, there will also be some sleet and rain in parts of northwest Wisconsin and far eastern Minnesota where surface temperatures will be slightly warmer.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected later tonight into Tuesday morning.  There could be some patchy fog, drizzle or freezing drizzle after the snow ends this evening.  Lows tonight will be in the 20s to lower 30s.

Should see some clearing develop in our area by Tuesday afternoon, and temperatures will be warmer with highs in the mid 30s to mid 40s.

Note:  The system given us the wintry weather today will exit to the east on Tuesday with high pressure moving in for Tuesday.  High moves away for Wednesday which will allow a fast moving cold front to pass through the upper Midwest — Some snow or rain showers are possible Wednesday as that front moves through.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

Event:  *Winter Weather Advisory for Duluth*
Timing:  Until Midnight CDT tonight

.Tonight…  Periods of snow or mixed precipitation before Midnight.  Additional snowfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches with storm totals from earlier today of up to 3 inches.  Mostly cloudy with patchy fog, drizzle or freezing drizzle after midnight.  Low 27 to 32.  Wind east to northeast at 10 to 20 mph, becoming west overnight.

.Tuesday…  Milder! Mostly cloudy with some clearing during the afternoon.  High 41 to 46.  Wind west to southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

.Wednesday…  Partly to mostly cloudy.  A few snow or rain showers possible mainly during the morning.  High 40 to 45.  Wind southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for Tuesday

High:  39
Low:   22

Sunrise Tuesday:  6:58 AM CDT
Sunset Tuesday:   7:31 PM CDT


Some snow and mixed precip on the way for Monday. 40s Tue-Wed; Very cold Easter weekend!

/Issued 4:51 PM CDT, Sunday, March 25, 2018/

Here’s my snowfall accumulation map for Monday through Monday night.  More info below.



18z RAP model run from Sunday, March 25, 2018.


18z NAM-Nest model – Simulated radar forecast through 7 AM Tuesday.

Pink=Mixed precipitation


Euro Ensemble 12z run from Sunday, March 25, 2018 — Temperature Anomaly Forecast for Sunday, April 1, 2018.


Temperature departure map for the week of March 18, 2018.  Most of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin had below normal temperatures last week, the exception to this was in parts of north central Minnesota with near to above average temperatures (Yellow and orange areas on map)


Precipitation departure map for the week of March 18, 2018.  Another bone dry week across the Northland mostly due to the persistent blocking pattern from the Hudson Bay high.


A cool satellite image from Sunday morning showing the narrow snow pack left behind after Saturday’s winter storm.

Temperature and Precipitation report for Duluth, Minnesota

March 18-24, 2018

High Temperatures/Departure from Normal

3/18:  38F/+3 degrees above normal
3/19:  28F/-7 degrees below normal
3/20:  27F/-9 degrees below normal
3/21:  30F/-6 degrees below normal
3/22:  40F/+3 degrees above normal
3/23:  34F/-3 degrees below normal
3/24:  31F/-7 degrees below normal

Low Temperatures/Departure from Normal

3/18:  19F/+1 degree above normal
3/19:  23F/+4 degrees above normal
3/20:  20F/+1 degree above normal
3/21:  15F/-5 degrees below normal
3/22:  15F/-5 degrees below normal
3/23:  13F/-7 degrees below normal
3/24:  22F/+1 degree above normal

Note:  Average temperature for the week of March 18:  25.4 degrees (-2.5 degrees below normal)  Source:

Total Precipitation:  Trace
Normal:  0.36 inches
Departure:  -0.36 inches below normal

State Average for Minnesota for the week of March 18

Average Temperature:  31.1 degrees
Departure:  Normal (0.0 degrees)

Total Precipitation:  0.17 inches
Departure:  -0.21 inches below normal

Link to Road Conditions

Minnesota –

Wisconsin –

Weather Tidbits for Duluth, Minnesota

-Total precipitation from February 25 through March 24:  0.11 inches.  Normal for that time period is 1.28 inches.

-March 11, the last time we had at least 0.1 inches of snow.

-February 25, the last we had 1.0 inch or greater snowfall.

Note:  March 2018 has been the driest on record through the 24th with just 0.02 inches of precipitation.  Records go back to 1871.  We will get some precipitation this final week of March, but how much will we get?  Will just have to wait and see.  Will need 0.43 inches of additional precip this week to avoid a top 10 driest March.

Note:  Only 0.4 inches of snow so far this month.  If March ended today, this would be the 2nd least snowiest March on record.  March 2010 had even less snow with only a trace for the entire month!  Will get some snow this week so will see where March 2018 ranks a week from today.

Note:  It’s looking increasingly likely that the Duluth Airport will not reach 50 degrees at least one time this month.  Assuming this is the case, then March 2018 will be the first March since 2011 without at least one day at or above 50F.  By the way March averages 3 days with a temperature of 50 degrees or warmer, and last March had 5 days with a temperature of 50F or warmer.  Could Lake Superior ice coverage be playing a role?  There’s a big difference in ice coverage this March vs. last March.  ~63% ice concentration as of March 25, 2018 compared to ~5% ice concentration late March of 2017.

Weather Synopsis

After about a month of no significant precipitation events over most of the Northland will finally break out of this dry pattern, at least temporarily.

Upper level ridging has shifted east of the upper Midwest today while an upper level trough moves into the Rockies per RAP model analysis.  Mid to upper level winds have become southwesterly behind the ridge and ahead of the trough.

Deeper moisture although still well west/south of our local area this afternoon will gradually push farther north/east into the Northland through Monday.  Sunday afternoon PWATS ranged from ~0.25 inches in most of northeast Minnesota to northwest Wisconsin to 0.60 inches in eastern South Dakota, and its that moisture back in South Dakota which will gradually build into our area through the next 24 hours.

Partly to mostly cloudy skies were found in our area today with high temperatures ranging from the mid 30s to low 40s which is near to a little below average for late March.  Not quite as windy near Lake Superior today compared to previous days, but still dealing with easterly wind gusts up to around 20-25 mph which continues to make it feel even chillier than what the actual temperature is.

…Breaking down Monday’s wintry mess…

•First thing to point out is that this shouldn’t be a major snow event for our area, but since it’s the first snowfall that many of us have seen in about a month, it could come as a little bit of a shock, but then again snow in late March is nothing new around here.

•Although the sun won’t be shining on Monday, it will still have an impacts since we now have a higher sun angle, its also warmer vs. a month ago.  The snow could have some difficulty sticking to roads especially during the day Monday, but the morning hours and again during the evening hours could be a different story.  Of course, if the snow falls heavy enough during the day, then the higher sun angle won’t matter much, as the snow would still be able to accumulate on road surfaces.

•Temperatures as is often the case with these late season events will be borderline to support snow.  Surface temps on Monday are forecast to range from around 30 to 40 degrees, warmest temperatures in northwest Wisconsin where more of a snow and rain mix is expected.  Temperatures aloft are forecast to remain cold enough to support frozen precipitation through the event, so it will come down to the surface temps as to what type of precipitation we end up seeing.

•There is a chance that most of the snow or mixed precipitation Monday morning through the afternoon sets up/falls mainly west/north of Duluth, then later Monday afternoon through Monday evening snow and mixed precipitation could increase in coverage farther east including in the Twin Ports, far eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.

•The other scenario would be for some snow in the Twin Ports Monday morning, followed by a break for the afternoon, then another round of snow for Monday evening.

•Snowfall totals:  I’m thinking most of northeast Minnesota and far northwest Wisconsin will end up with between 1 and 4 inches of snow by Monday night but there remains a possibility for a narrow corridor of 4 to possibly 6 inches of snow from near the Brainerd Lakes, northeast toward Hibbing.  This will be a wet/slushy snow with ratios likely to range from around 5:1 to 9:1.

•Some melting of the snow could occur due to the warmer ground temperatures, although this month really hasn’t been all that warm, but still warm enough where it could cut down on snow totals just a bit.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight…  Mostly cloudy.  Low 28 to 31.  Wind east at 10 to 20 mph.

.Monday…  Periods of snow or mixed precipitation.  Daytime snow accumulation around an inch or less.  High 32 to 35.  Wind east at 10 to 20 mph.

.Monday night…  Snow or mixed precipitation during the evening followed by flurries or patchy freezing drizzle after midnight.  Additional snowfall of 1 to 3 inches possible during the evening.  Low 29 to 32.  Wind northeast at 10 to 15 mph becoming west after midnight.

Normal temperatures for Monday

High:  39
Low:   22

Sunrise Monday:  7:00 AM CDT
Sunset Monday:   7:30 PM CDT