Powerful storm to bring heavy wind driven snow and possible blizzard conditions to the Dakotas. Occasional rain (few t-storms) in the Northland; cold hits Friday with rain switching to flakes

Winter storm warnings, watches and advisories are in effect across much of the Northern Plains with a winter storm watch as far east as northwest Minnesota. Flood warnings are also in effect in some areas.

Source: https://www.pivotalweather.com/

A powerful cold front is on the move! Temperatures this Wednesday afternoon are only in the 20s and 30s across the Northern Rockies into parts of the Dakotas while much warmer temperatures were found farther east with readings in the 60s and 70s.

The black line on the map below represents the approximate location of a cold front as of 4 PM Wednesday. Areas east of the black line are warm, areas west of the black line are much colder.

Much colder temperatures will arrive in the Northland on Friday, spreading from southwest to northeast through the day.

Source: 12z European model 10.09.19; https://weather.us

Analysis from Wednesday afternoon. Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov

Potentially historic October winter storm for the Northern Plains continues to develop today as energy continues to dig south/east through the Rockies on Goes-16 water vapor imagery. Source: https://weather.cod.edu

Radar forecast valid through 7 AM Friday

Blue=Snow

Green=Rain

Pink colors=Freezing rain

Source: 18z NAM model; https://weather.cod.edu

Long duration winter storm continues through Saturday across the Northern Plains with snowfall amounts in parts of the Dakotas of one to two feet with locally higher amounts possible through Saturday.

Here in the Northland we can expect rain to mix with and change to snow Friday or Friday night with lingering snow and rain showers likely over the weekend. Note: I’m not expecting much snow accumulation in northeast Minnesota or northwest Wisconsin this weekend with a coating to 2 inches of snow possible in some parts of the area (mostly inland from Lake Superior)

Low pressure will move out of the Rockies and into the Central Plains on Thursday, then will see the low lift north, and possibly hook northwest a bit as it reaches northwestern Minnesota Friday morning. This low is then forecast to sit and spin over northern Minnesota through Saturday before exiting slowly off to the east on Sunday.

500mb low will undergo rapid intensification on Friday as it moves NE out of the Dakotas. Geopotential heights of around 538 meters Friday morning are forecast to fall to around 524 meters by Friday evening. Powerful H5 winds of 100 to 120 knots will be found south/east of the 500mb low on Friday, with the axis of strongest mid level winds stretching from southern Minnesota to northeast Minnesota. Closed H5 low will then sit and spin over the Northland through the weekend.

Source: 18z NAM model 10.09.19; https://www.tropicaltidbits.com

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Low temperature forecast for Thursday morning, October 10. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov

High temperature forecast for Thursday, October 10

…Weather Summary…

Another very mild day across the Northland with highs of 70 degrees or within 1-2 degrees of 70. Note: Duluth has recorded 2 consecutive days with a 70 degree or warmer temperature (October 8-9) the last time this happened was on September 23-24. Duluth averages 2 days with a temperature of at least 70 degrees in October, so nothing unusual about these warm temps. Duluth was 4 degrees shy of their record high for October 9 which is 76 degrees set in 1930, tied in the years 1955 and 1960. High today was 72.

Mild temps will continue into Thursday, although more clouds and some rain on Thursday will keep us from getting as warm as we have been the last two days.

Powerful fall storm will begin to affect the Northland tonight as we see a few showers and isolated thunderstorms develop during the night, especially in north-central and eastern Minnesota. Occasional lightning and brief downpours will be the main threats from this activity tonight.

Scattered showers are possible Thursday with a steadier rain arriving from the south sometime in the afternoon or early evening. Isolated thunderstorms could continue as well on Thursday with some elevated instability along with steep mid level lapse rates passing through the Northland.

Will remain on the warm/wet side of this powerful storm through Thursday, and as moisture increases we could see areas of drizzle and fog develop especially Thursday and Thursday night.

Big changes take place on Friday as low pressure deepens while it moves into the Red River Valley of northwest Minnesota. A strong cold front will push north/east through the Northland Friday morning with falling temperatures occurring once that front moves through. Note: The GFS model is slower bringing the cold air into the Northland, holding it off til later Friday, while the NAM has the cold air moving in much earlier in the day.

850mb temperature forecast on Friday per NAM model

7 AM

  • Brainerd: 0C
  • Duluth: +6C
  • Grand Marais: +12C

7 PM Friday

  • Brainerd: -8C
  • Duluth: -8C
  • Grand Marais: -5C

Temps early Friday morning are forecast to be in the 50s, falling into the 30s to lower 40s by Friday afternoon, although the temperature drop could be later if the GFS solution verifies.

As for winds — we’re looking at south winds tonight shifting to the east/southeast on Thursday, then south/southwest winds are expected Friday and Saturday. Winds will be gusty at times (15 to 30 mph)

Weather on Friday will feature some rain and drizzle with some fog as well especially along the North Shore. We should begin to see the rain mix with some snow in western-southern areas during the day Friday, then farther north/east Friday night.

Occasional snow or mixed rain/snow showers are likely this weekend with some light snowfall accumulations possible especially in areas that get more frequent and or heavier snow showers. Chilly and breezy this weekend with highs Saturday and Sunday in the 30s to lower 40s.

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Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Mostly cloudy. A few showers or thunderstorms possible. Low 50 to 55. Wind south 10 to 20 mph.

.Thursday… Occasional rain. Drizzle and fog also possible. High 55 to 60. Wind east 10 to 20 mph.

.Friday… Blustery. Turning colder. Occasional light rain and drizzle possibly becoming mixed with snow. High 55 to 60 early, temperatures falling to 35 to 40. Wind southwest 15 to 30 mph.

Normal temperatures for October 10

  • High 54
  • Low 37
  • Sunrise Thursday 7:19 AM CDT
  • Sunset Thursday 6:31 PM CDT

Thanks for reading!

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