12z European ensemble model (EPS) 2-21-19
As we get closer to spring, these powerful storms will typically have two sides to the storm, snow on one side, severe weather on the other…And the storm this weekend should have both.
An outbreak of severe thunderstorms is possible Saturday across the lower Ohio Valley to the lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valley with an enhanced (orange) and slight (yellow) risk of severe thunderstorms. Considerable wind damage and tornadoes, some of which could be strong are possible on Saturday in the risk areas.
Here are the current winter weather headlines for this weekend’s storm. Additional winter weather headlines may be needed farther west and north of the winter storm watch area, those could be issued sometime on Friday.
You don’t see this very often, widespread winter storm warnings in effect across the southwest U.S. including much of Arizona and parts of New Mexico, this is part of the same storm that will be impacting the Great Lakes this weekend.
Goes-16 water vapor satellite loop from Thursday, February 21, 2019.
A powerful storm is hitting the southwest U.S. today, and this storm will move over the southern Plains by Saturday morning, then lift rapidly NE into the Great Lakes on Sunday.
18z GFS model 2-21-19
As low pressure lifts northeast into the Great Lakes and deepens, winds will increase with 850mb wind speeds anywhere from 40 to around 65 knots by Saturday night into Sunday evening, some of this will mix down to the surface with potentially damaging wind gusts across portions of the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley late this weekend.
18z GFS model 2-21-19
With this weekend’s storm coming out of the southern Plains it will be loaded with a rich supply of gulf moisture as evident by the Precipitable water forecast with values from 1.00 to 1.75 inch in the blue and purple colors, and from around 0.50 to 0.75 inch in the green colors on the loop below.
21z RAP model 2-21-19
First round of snow is forecast to spread SW-NE across the Northland Friday night, lingering into Saturday morning. Snowfall totals of around 1 to 4 inches are possible Friday night-Saturday morning.
Here’s my snowfall forecast from Friday night through Sunday.
Note: I may need to adjust the gradients/snow totals a bit during the next 24 hours.
Timing — This snow looks to come in two waves, with the first round affecting portions of the Northland Friday evening into Saturday morning, the second wave could hit Saturday evening, lingering into early Sunday afternoon.
•At this time it appears that the Arrowhead of Minnesota into much of northwest Wisconsin has the greatest chance at picking up 8 inches or more of snow, roughly along and east of a line from Grand Marais to Ashland to Winter.
•Lesser snowfall amounts in western portions of the Northland from around Bigfork and Grand Rapids toward Aitkin and Brainerd.
•Around 4 to 6 inches of snow is possible in Duluth and Superior between Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
•6 to 8 inches of snow for Ely, Silver Bay, Two Harbors, Hayward and Shell Lake.
February 20, 2019 Winter Storm Snowfall Totals
6 NE Hertel, WI: 10.1 inch
5 SW Webb Lake, WI: 8.5 inch
Gile, WI: 8.0 inch
4 S Bruno, MN: 8.0 inch
1 ESE Duluth, MN: 8.0 inch
Sarona, WI: 8.0 inch
Webster, WI: 8.0 inch
5 WSW Butternut, WI: 7.9 inch
2 NW Duluth, MN: 7.6 inch
2 NNW Mellen, WI: 7.5 inch
Gary New Duluth, MN: 7.5 inch
Wrenshall, MN: 7.2 inch
Superior, WI: 7.0 inch
Blueberry, WI: 7.0 inch
Gordon, WI: 7.0 inch
Hayward, WI: 7.0 inch
Silver Bay, MN: 6.8 inch
Ashland, WI: 6.7 inch
Trego, WI: 6.5 inch
5 NW Two Harbors, MN: 6.1 inch
1 S Twig, MN: 6.0 inch
2 SW Lester Park, MN: 5.9 inch
9 N Bayfield, WI: 5.5 inch
1 NNE Cloquet, MN: 5.4 inch
Wolf Ridge, MN: 4.8 inch
Duluth Airport: 4.7 inch (Official total at the NWS)
Moose Lake, MN: 4.6 inch
14 W Isabella, MN: 4.0 inch
12 N Grand Rapids, MN: 3.0 inch
Babbitt, MN: 2.1 inch
International Falls, MN: 2.1 inch
3 WSW Grand Marais, MN: 2.0 inch
Weather Tidbits for Duluth, Minnesota
•February 20 marked the 9th one inch or greater snowfall event so far this month — The record for February is 10 one inch or greater snowfall events set in 1955.
•33 days so far this winter with snowfall of at least 0.1 inch. The average number of days with at least 0.1 inch of snow during the winter (Dec 1 to Feb 28) is 36.
•63.7 inches of snow so far this winter (+18″ above normal thru Feb 20)
•Average temperature so far this winter 13.5 degrees (+0.7 degrees above normal thru Feb 20)
…Climate Data for February 20, 2019…
4th greatest snowfall on record for February 20 with 4.7 inches of snow on Wednesday. The record snowiest February 20 is 10.9 inches set in 2014.
5th wettest February 20 on record with 0.48 inches of precipitation on Wednesday. The record wettest February 20 is 1.06 inches set in 2014.
Note: Snow to liquid ratios in Duluth on Wednesday were rather low, ~9:1, in other words there was quite a bit of water in Wednesday’s snowfall.
Snowiest February on record at Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota
Twin Cities, Minnesota
February 2019 snowfall total (thru the 20th) 31.7 inches
New record: 31.7 inches
Old record: 26.5 inches set in 1962
St. Cloud, Minnesota
February 2019 snowfall total (thru the 20th) 23.5 inches
New record: 23.5 inches
Old record: 21.6 inches set in 1971
Outlook for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin
-Dry tonight under partly to mostly cloudy skies, watch out for slick spots on area roads and sidewalks as any melting from today (albeit limited at that) will refreeze tonight as temperatures fall to the single digits below to teens above zero.
-Most of Friday looks dry under mostly cloudy to partly sunny skies. Highs should be similar to what we saw on Thursday ranging from the lower 20s to lower 30s.
-Some snow is expected Friday night through Saturday morning, there could also be some patchy freezing drizzle as well. Hazardous travel conditions could develop especially later Friday night through Saturday morning.
A powerful winter storm could impact parts of the area Saturday evening into Sunday. There continues to be large disagreements on the storm track between the NAM and other available guidance, but I’d say the NAM would be the odd model out taking the low on a much more southerly track with little if any snow per NAM solution for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin for Saturday night-Sunday. Other models, including the Euro, GFS, Canadian and German-Icon show a storm track that is farther north than the NAM which would bring accumulating snow to much of our area. Also of note is the mid-upper level trough approaching from the northern Plains, we could see that trough slow down, or phase more with the energy coming out of the southern Plains, if that happens a shift in the storm track to the west could occur, which would bring higher snow totals farther west into east-central and northeast Minnesota Saturday night and Sunday. So there is still uncertainty with how this storm will play out this weekend, hopefully by Friday evening these model differences will disappear.
Duluth, Minnesota Climate Normals for February 22
Sunrise Friday: 7:01 AM CST
Sunset Friday: 5:44 PM CST