A messy winter storm on the way! Wet snow, rain, ice, gusty winds and possibly a rumble of thunder this weekend; another round of snow possible Mon-Tue

The winter storm expected to hit this weekend into early next week is certainly one of the weirder looking winter systems I’ve seen based on the track/setup per model guidance, and I’ve been following this weather stuff for quite a while now. I’m expecting a few surprises with this storm, whether its more snow, ice or rain than what I’m forecasting will just have to wait and see.


Widespread winter weather alerts are in effect due to this weekend’s storm.

Winter Storm Warning (pink) Winter Weather Advisory (purple) there is also a Flood Watch for parts of central and northeast Wisconsin (green)

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

Closer look at the winter weather alerts in the Northland.

*Winter Storm Warning (pink) in effect from Saturday through 6 AM Monday including the cities of International Falls, Bigfork, Walker, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Ely, Two Harbors, Isabella, Silver Bay and Grand Marais.

-Heavy snow and mixed precipitation expected.

-Ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch, except along the North Shore where up to one quarter inch of ice accumulation is possible.

-Winds gusting as high as 40 mph along the North Shore.

-Travel could be very difficult in the warned area with nearly impossible travel conditions along the North Shore.

-Power outages and tree damage is expected along the North Shore due to the ice.

*Winter Weather Advisory (purple) in effect from Noon Saturday to Noon Sunday including the cities of Brainerd, Aitkin, Hill City, Moose Lake, Cloquet and Duluth.

-Mixed precipitation is expected in the advisory area with snow accumulations along with a light glaze of ice.

-Winds gusting as high as 40 mph Saturday evening into Sunday.

-Plan on slippery road conditions.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Friday, December 27, 2019.

Storm to impact the upper Midwest and Great Lakes this weekend is over the southwest US today.

Source: https://weather.cod.edu/

Looking like a two-part storm with one low lifting north/northeast out of the Southern Plains on Saturday, reaching southern Minnesota Sunday morning, then we could see another low develop over or close to Lake Michigan by Monday morning, this low is then forecast to lift slowly north, or even northwest into Tuesday.

Basically what this all means is we’re looking at a long duration messy/significant winter storm which begins from south to north on Saturday with the final stages of this storm probably not wrapping up until Tuesday the way it looks now.

Steadier precipitation should come in two distinct waves, one from Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning, and then another wave of steadier precipitation could impact parts or all of the Northland Monday into early Tuesday.

It still looks like will see a dry slot lift N-NW into our area during the day Sunday which will cause the steady precipitation to transition to more of a drizzle or scattered shower type scenario as the dry slot moves through.

Significant River Flooding is possible in parts of southeast Minnesota, central/southern Wisconsin and in parts of Iowa and Illinois through January 1, 2020 (yellow area on map)

Source: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

The amount of warm air aloft is impressive with the storm this weekend with 850mb temperatures (~5000 feet) climbing into the single digits above zero in east-central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin on Sunday.

Note: Areas that have colder 850mb temps of 0C or lower have a much greater chance at seeing snow while areas with 850mb temps of 0C or higher run the risk of seeing rain, unless the surface temps are at the freezing mark or within a degree of freezing, if that’s the case, then we could be talking about freezing rain and sleet.

This system is so wound up it will pull warm air in from the E-SE over the weekend, then as the low pulls off to the east, colder air will work in from the SW. It’s a very complex setup.

Source: 12z European computer model 12.27.19; https://weathermodels.com/

Here’s my snowfall forecast for the first part of this winter storm Saturday through Sunday.

-Greatest amounts of 8 to 12 inches along the North Shore (Higher Terrain) where E-NE winds could lead to lake enhanced snowfall Saturday night into Sunday.

-Snowfall of 6 to 8 inches for much of northern Minnesota including International Falls, Bigfork, Walker, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Cook, Ely, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Grand Marais and also for the north side of Duluth.

-Snowfall of 3 to 6 inches farther south including Brainerd, Aitkin, Cloquet, Superior and the south side of Duluth.

-Snowfall of 1 to 3 inches for Moose Lake, Solon Springs and Bayfield.

Note: Along with the expected snowfall accumulations comes the risk for some sleet or freezing rain with potential for some ice accumulations in much of northern, northeast and east-central Minnesota Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

12z European model radar forecast valid from 6 AM Saturday to 6 PM Tuesday.

Blue: Snow

Green: Rain

Orange/Pink: Mix Precipitation

*Snow is expected to spread from south to north across the Northland during the day Saturday, starting first in far southern areas during the morning, reaching far northern Minnesota and the tip of the Arrowhead by late Saturday evening.

*A transition from snow to rain or a wintry mix moves north into our area Saturday afternoon/Saturday night, except in far northern Minnesota and along the Higher Terrain of the North Shore where mainly snow is forecast through early Sunday afternoon.

*A dry slot advances north during the day Sunday with precipitation becoming lighter with types ranging from snow to rain to drizzle.

*A secondary surge of moisture/snow is possible Monday-Tuesday over most of the Northland.

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

Low temperature forecast for Saturday morning, December 28. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov/

High temperature forecast for Saturday, December 28.

The second part of this winter storm could hit parts of the area early next week with several more inches of snow possible.

Road Conditions

Minnesota – https://lb.511mn.org/

Wisconsin – https://511wi.gov/

…Top 10 Snowiest Decembers on record in Duluth, Minnesota since 1884…

1) 44.3″ set in 1950
2) 42.2″ set in 1996
3) 39.9″ set in 2013
4) 38.8″ set in 1969
5) 37.7″ set in 1968
6) 37.1″ set in 2008
7) 35.4″ set in 2007
8) 34.5″ set in 2005
9) 33.4″ set in 2009
10) 32.1″ set in 1983

Note: So far in December 2019 we’ve had 20.6″ of snow in Duluth. Will need an additional 11.5″ of snow by the end of the month in order to break into the top 10 snowiest Decembers, and will need an additional 23.7″ of snow to tie the snowiest December set in 1950. Will see what happens.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

*Winter Weather Advisory* in effect for Duluth from Noon Saturday to Noon Sunday

.Tonight… Increasing cloudiness. Low 17 to 22. Wind southwest 5 to 15 mph.

.Saturday… Snow developing between 11 AM-1 PM. Snow could be mixed with sleet. High 31 to 33. Wind southwest 5 to 15 mph becoming east 10 to 20 mph during the afternoon.

.Saturday night… Windy. Wet snow, sleet and rain. Freezing rain possible. Low 31 to 33. Wind east 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph.

.Sunday… Windy. Wet snow, sleet and rain tapering off to drizzle during the afternoon. Freezing rain possible early. Total snowfall accumulations ranging from 6 to 8 inches over the hill to 3 to 6 inches below the hill. High 33 to 36. Wind east 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

Normal Temperatures for December 28

High 20
Low 3

Sunrise Saturday 7:53 AM CST
Sunset Saturday 4:27 PM CST

Thanks for reading!


Leave a Reply

Discover more from Northland Weather Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading

%d bloggers like this: