Here’s my snowfall forecast for Friday through Saturday
Note: Snow will begin tonight over the Arrowhead, then will spread down the North Shore Friday evening-overnight.
18z NAM-WRF model 1-10-19
Simulated radar forecast valid from Midnight tonight to Midnight Sunday.
The Arrowhead will get some light snow at times tonight, then on Friday will see the snow start to push south down the North Shore as winds shift from SE to E, then on Friday night the snow could reach the head of the lakes including the Twin Ports as winds turn to the E-NE.
18z NAM-WRF model 1-10-19
Wind gust forecast from 3 PM Friday to Midnight Sunday.
East winds will increase near Lake Superior Friday evening with breezy conditions Friday night into Saturday. Potential for wind gusts from 20 to around 30 mph Friday night into Saturday before winds decrease Saturday night.
The setup for Friday and Saturday will feature strong arctic high pressure to our north with low pressure across the southern Plains while a weaker northern low/trough passes through the upper Midwest. Winds will shift to the east due to the high off to the north and low to our south. Those east winds coming off Lake Superior coupled with cold temperatures (850mb temps around -12C) should be enough to kick off some lake effect snow showers near Lake Superior, especially along the North Shore for Friday and Saturday.
Weather Synopsis for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin
Partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies across the area today with milder daytime temperatures compared to Wednesday. Highs today ranged from the lower teens to around 20 degrees (average or close to average for January 10) Most of us stayed dry today, but there has been some flurries or light snow showers near Lake Superior as winds shift to the E-SE. Note: There was a report of around 1 inch of snow this morning 7 miles east-southeast of Superior, Wis.
The big story for Friday and Saturday will be the lake effect snow potential. This looks to impact the North Shore the most with easterly winds setting up, however, there could be a period of lake effect snow showers along the South Shore of Lake Superior Saturday morning if winds turn more to the E-NE.
Note: It’s difficult to find what the water temperature is over Lake Superior recently due to the government shutdown which is affecting some NOAA sites, like the Great Lakes products site, but a ship report over eastern Lake Superior reported a water temp of 36 F or +2C late this Thursday afternoon, and a ship report over western Lake Superior showed a water temp of 39 F or +3C today. So with lake surface temps around +2 to +3C coupled with 850mb temperatures falling to around -12C Friday afternoon through Saturday, this would be enough to generate some lake effect snow showers.
As is always the case with lake effect events it comes down to wind direction as to where these showers setup, and it looks like the North Shore (mainly north of Duluth) has the greatest chance for several hours of favorable conditions to produce lake effect snow bands during the Friday afternoon-Saturday time frame. Snowfall amounts from 3 to 6 inches are possible along the North Shore by Saturday afternoon, with locally higher amounts possible if a lake snow band sits over one spot for several hours.
For the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior — There could be a few flurries at times tonight and Friday but I think will stay mainly dry through Friday. Winds will shift to the E-NE Friday night, and remain in that direction on Saturday which could cause some of the lake effect snow bands to shift south into the Twin Ports, however, it doesn’t look like winds will remain in the favorable E-NE direction for too long, thus I don’t think will see much snow in Duluth, thinking maybe 1-3 inches at the moment, but if winds remain out of the E-NE, and snow bands decide to linger over the city, then snowfall amounts would end up higher. Again I think our best chance for some snow in Duluth and Superior would be from Friday night into Saturday morning, possibly lingering into Saturday afternoon on the north side of the city (E wind favored areas)
Lows tonight will range from around zero in far northeast Minnesota with single digits and teens elsewhere. Highs Friday will mainly be in the 20s.
Duluth, Minnesota Climate Normals for January 11
Sunrise Friday: 7:52 AM CST
Sunset Friday: 4:42 PM CST