…Weekend Storm Update…
•I’m trying not to hype this storm up, but at the same time I don’t want to downplay it — Trying to find a middle ground here. A lot of times when people hear the word blizzard, they assume that’s going to include snowfall of a foot or more combined with 30-50 mph winds, but that’s not the case most of the time, sometimes a blizzard will occur due to blowing and drifting snow but with very little new snowfall, and we could see that sort of thing play out for some parts of the Upper Midwest with the storm this weekend.
•I think the biggest impact here in Duluth out of the storm this weekend will be from strong northwest winds and blowing and drifting snow from late Saturday night through Sunday evening. I still think will get some accumulating snow, but probably no more than a few inches. Expect one round of snow late tonight/Saturday morning, and possibly another round of snow Saturday night-early Sunday morning. There could also be some patchy freezing drizzle as well tonight and Saturday.
•The heaviest snowfall still looks to setup from parts of southeast Minnesota through portions of western, central and northern Wisconsin into Upper Michigan — This hits Saturday night through around mid-afternoon Sunday with snowfall amounts of 4 to 10 inches possible. It’s a quick moving storm which will tend to keep snowfall totals down a bit, but it will snow heavily for several hours, with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour expected Saturday night-Sunday morning.
Check out all these weather headlines that are in effect all due from a large and powerful storm which moves northeast out of the southern Plains on Saturday, it’s going to be a wild weekend with a threat for severe weather and tornadoes over parts of lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valley while a blizzard spreads northeast out of the central Plains.
Blue area=Winter Storm Watch
Note: Additional winter weather headlines could be issued for other parts of the Northland this weekend. Stay tuned.
True story — I’ve adjusted my snowfall gradients 3 times in just the last 20 minutes — I don’t have a lot of confidence on snowfall amounts through Sunday morning, and where the gradients setup.
With that said, here’s what I’m going with, and yes I have decreased snow totals for some of us compared to my forecast from Thursday afternoon.
Snowfall totals of 8 to 12 inches in far eastern portions of northwest Wisconsin, around the Hurley and Gile areas.
6 to 8 inches for the Bayfield, Ashland and Hayward areas in northwest Wisconsin.
4 to 6 inches for extreme northeast Minnesota and portions of northwest Wisconsin — Generally from around Grand Marais, southwest to Hayward and Shell Lake.
A range from 1 to 4 inches across all of northern Minnesota, most of northeast Minnesota and east-central Minnesota into far northwest Wisconsin.
For Duluth and Superior — 2 to 4 inches of snow by Noon Sunday. Some of that comes later tonight-Saturday morning, and perhaps another burst of snow Saturday night.
Goes-16 water vapor satellite loop from Friday, February 22, 2019.
A strong storm system continues to move slowly E-NE out of the Rockies today.
Low pressure moves from the north Texas area Saturday morning toward northern Lake Michigan by Sunday morning. As the low moves quickly to the northeast it will deepen explosively with pressures dropping from ~999mb Saturday (6 AM) to ~978mb by Sunday (6 AM)
12z European ensemble model 2-22-19
18z GFS model 2-22-19
This weekend’s storm will be a massive wind machine with widespread winds at 850mb ranging from around 40 to 65 knots from late Saturday night into Sunday, a lot of this will be able to mix down to the surface. Note: The strongest winds typically occur on the southwest side of a northeastward moving surface low, this puts much of southern Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan in the wind gust max zone, but winds even here in the Northland will be strong especially on Sunday.
18z NAM-WRF model 2-22-19
Very strong northwest winds will develop over the Northland late Saturday night into Sunday with wind gusts of 25 to 45 mph likely across our area. Winds could be even stronger on Sunday especially along the North Shore of Lake Superior with wind gusts possibly an excess of 50 mph!
18z NAM-WRF model 2-22-19
Still looking at two waves of snow impacting much of the Northland through Sunday morning.
The first round of snow is expected tonight into Saturday morning, followed by some scattered snow showers and maybe even some patchy freezing drizzle for Saturday afternoon.
The second round of snow is more uncertain as there are differences in the computer models as to where it sets up. The consensus seems to be from southeast Minnesota to north-central Wisconsin for the greatest snowfall amounts from Saturday evening through Sunday morning, but there is a chance that this area shifts a little more to the east.
Note: I don’t believe we’re going to see any major shift to the west in the storm track, usually if we were to see a track shift farther west in the models it typically happens around 24 hours from an event, and so far the computer models have remained consistent in keeping the heaviest snow east of Duluth and Superior for Saturday night-Sunday morning.
Weekend Storm Timeline for Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin
Tonight: Periods of snow. Patchy freezing drizzle in spots. Hazardous travel conditions possible. Lows will be in the teens and 20s with winds out of the south or southeast at 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday: Areas of snow along with patchy freezing drizzle. Hazardous travel conditions possible. Highs in the mid 20s to low 30s. Winds out of the south or east at 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday night: Northwest winds increase to 15 to 30 mph, gusts to around 40 mph after Midnight. Considerable blowing and drifting snow developing. Snow across northwest Wisconsin with some light snow for northern Minnesota. Travel could be difficult. Lows ranging from the lower teens in far western portions of the area (International Falls to Brainerd) to the 20s in far eastern Minnesota and all of northwest Wisconsin.
Sunday: Strong northwest winds 20 to 40 mph, gusts 50+ mph possible especially along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Considerable blowing and drifting snow. Isolated to scattered power outages possible due to the strong winds. Travel could be difficult. Light snow and flurries with heavier snow across northwest Wisconsin which tapers off before Noon. Temperatures ranging from the lower teens to lower 20s.
Note: Whiteout and near blizzard conditions could develop at times on Sunday especially along the South Shore of Lake Superior in northwestern Wisconsin.
Duluth, Minnesota Climate Normals for February 23
Sunrise Saturday: 7:00 AM CST
Sunset Saturday: 5:45 PM CST