Mild and dry! February 2020, 3rd driest Feb. on record in Duluth, Minn.

Warmer air continues to move east into the Northland today with 850mb temperatures climbing above 0C after being well below zero the last few days.

Source: RAP model; https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

A look at surface temperatures from late Saturday afternoon. Note: We won’t be seeing any 60s or 70s quite yet in the Northland, still a little too early for that, but we should have widespread 40s in our area on Sunday.

Source: RTMA model; https://lab.weathermodels.com/

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Computer models are showing a rather stout ridge moving over the Plains for next weekend (~March 6 to 8) This could lead to widespread 40s and 50s for daytime highs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin next weekend, while 60s are possible in portions of western/southern Minnesota. 70s and possibly even some 80s in the Central Plains for next weekend the way it looks now.

Source: 12z European ensemble model 2.29.20; https://weathermodels.com/

I’m still not seeing a consistent enough signal in model guidance which would indicate a more active weather pattern setting up across the Northland through mid-March, instead it continues to look pretty quiet with mostly minor precipitation events affecting our area over the next 2 weeks.

Split flow looks to continue into mid-March with an active southern branch, while the northern branch (polar jet) remains over Canada. Note: Need to see some phasing of the jets, or the southern jet to lift farther north before we have a chance to get a more significant storm to affect the Northland, and if anything its looking like we’d have a better chance at getting rain instead of snow should a larger storm take aim at our area toward mid-March.

Source: 12z European ensemble model 2.29.20; https://weathermodels.com/

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March begins on Sunday – Here are the Climate Normals for March at Duluth, Minnesota.

Normal high on the 1st: 29 degrees
Normal high on the 31st: 41 degrees

Normal low on the 1st: 11 degrees
Normal low on the 31st: 24 degrees

Averages for March

Temperature: 25.9 degrees
Precipitation: 1.49 inches
Snowfall: 13.2 inches

Records for March

Warmest: 39.2 degrees set in 2012
Coldest: 13.5 degrees set in 1923

Wettest: 5.12 inches set in 1965
Driest: 0.22 inches set in 1959

Snowiest: 48.2 inches set in 1917
Least Snowiest: Trace set in 2010

On average, 2 days with a high temperature of at least 50 degrees in March.

On average, March has 4 subzero nights.

On average, 9 days with at least 0.1 inch snowfall in March.

On average, 4 days with at least 1.0 inch snowfall in March.

Astronomical Data for March

Sunrise on the 1st: 6:47 AM CST
Sunrise on the 31st: 6:48 AM CDT

Sunset on the 1st: 5:55 PM CST
Sunset on the 31st: 7:37 PM CDT

Note: Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 8th at 2:00 AM.

Note: Vernal Equinox (1st day of spring) is on Thursday, March 19th, 2020 at 10:49 PM.

Low temperature forecast for Sunday morning, March 01, 2020. Source: https://weathermodels.com/

High temperature forecast for Sunday, March 01, 2020.

…Weather Summary…

A few low pressure systems will be passing through the upper Midwest the next few days, but they won’t be bringing any precipitation to our area.

An occluded front/trough moves through the Northland Sunday morning, followed by a cold front Sunday afternoon/evening. Snow and mixed precipitation tied to this system will remain over Ontario on Sunday, although its possible that we may see a few snow, sleet or rain showers in extreme northern Minnesota later Sunday as that area will be clipped by a strong vort max which moves east out of Saskatchewan and across Ontario on Sunday – See water vapor loop below.

Source: https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/

Low temperatures tonight will range from the upper teens to the 20s with highs Sunday in the upper 30s to middle 40s with a few locations possibly getting into the 47-52 degree range.

Southerly winds tonight 10 to 20 mph becoming west to southwest Sunday at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

Dry weather continues Monday with highs in the 30s.

Note: There could be a little snow or a mix bag of precipitation types in parts of the Northland the middle of next week (March 4-5) but this doesn’t look like a big deal at the moment.

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Note: It’s now official! February 2020 will end up as the 3rd driest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota with just 0.18 inches of precipitation for the entire month! The driest February on record in Duluth occurred in 1877 with 0.10 inches of precipitation; 2nd driest was in 1988 with 0.13 inches of precipitation.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 20 to 25. Wind south to southeast 10 to 15 mph.

.Sunday… Partly to mostly cloudy. High 45 to 50. Wind south 5 to 15 mph becoming southwest 15 to 25 mph.

.Monday… Partly cloudy. High 33 to 38. Wind west 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for March 1

High 29
Low 11

Sunrise Sunday 6:47 AM CST
Sunset Sunday 5:55 PM CST

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Warmer weather on the way; dry pattern continues

Note: February 2020 will go into the record books as the 3rd driest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota with 0.18 inches of precipitation. The driest February on record in Duluth occurred in 1877 with 0.10″ of precipitation, the 2nd driest February on record occurred in 1988 with 0.13″ of precipitation. Records for Duluth date back to 1875.

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Cold air lingers over the Northland today, but those milder temperatures off to our west are finally moving this way, and will arrive over the weekend.

Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

The freezing line (blue line on map) will be moving east on Saturday and should make it through most of the Northland as milder Pacific air heads east this weekend.

Source: RTMA model; https://lab.weathermodels.com/

Low temperature forecast for Saturday morning, February 29th, 2020. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov/

High temperature forecast for Saturday, February 29th, 2020.

…Weather Summary…

Our stretch of quiet weather continues into next week.

High pressure over eastern South Dakota moves SE toward the Ohio Valley on Saturday. Southerly return flow develops on the back side of that high which will result in warm air advection spreading into the Northland tonight and Saturday. Note: 850mb temperatures across the Northland of around -10 to -15C late this afternoon will climb to around +1 to +7C by Saturday evening.

Clear to partly cloudy skies for this evening will become partly to mostly cloudy overnight as a warm front moves east out of the eastern Dakotas. Could see some patchy fog develop in parts of the area early Saturday morning, but this should lift before Noon Saturday. There is also a risk for a few flurries or perhaps some patchy light freezing drizzle Saturday morning, mainly in far northern Minnesota.

It’ll be another chilly night tonight as lows fall into the single digits below to single digits above zero.

Highs on Saturday will be in the 30s with a few 40s possible over western sections of the Northland.

A cold front swings through the Northland on Sunday, but this will be a dry frontal passage. Mild temperatures Sunday with highs in the upper 30s to middle 40s, and I still think there is a chance that some locations in our area will make a run at 50 degrees on Sunday.

Looking ahead to next week – No major storm systems impacting northeast Minnesota or northwest Wisconsin, but there could be a weak system or two during the week which could bring a light dusting of snow or a light rain/snow mix to parts of the area, but that’s about it, nothing major the way it looks now.

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Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Clear to partly cloudy. Low 1 to 6. Wind northwest 5 to 15 mph becoming southwest late.

.Saturday… Milder. Partly to mostly cloudy. High 33 to 38. Wind south to southwest 10 to 20 mph.

.Sunday… Partly to mostly cloudy. High 45 to 50. Wind southeast becoming southwest 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for February 29

High 29
Low 11

Sunrise Saturday 6:49 AM CST
Sunset Saturday 5:54 PM CST

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Cold tonight; warmer weather returns this weekend, shot at 50 degrees Sunday

A chilly air mass will remain over the Northland tonight and Friday, but a warming trend takes place this weekend which could send high temperatures well into the 40s especially on Sunday when we may even see a few 50s in parts of the Northland.

Source: 12z European model 2.27.2020; https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/

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Mean date for the first 50 degree temperature in Duluth is March 20th (1875-2019 Climate Period)

Here’s a look at when Duluth recorded its first 50 degree temperature from 2000-2019.

2000: February 29
2001: April 13
2002: April 07
2003: March 14
2004: March 24
2005: March 06
2006: March 29
2007: March 12
2008: April 03
2009: March 15
2010: March 14
2011: February 16
2012: March 10
2013: March 30
2014: March 10
2015: March 09
2016: February 27
2017: February 17
2018: April 19
2019: March 21

-Since 2000, there have been 12 years which saw the first 50 degree temperature in Duluth occur before the mean date of March 20th (years in bold on list above)

-Since 2000, 4 years saw the first 50 degree temperature in Duluth occur during the month of February (2000, 2011, 2016 and 2017)

-Earliest first 50 degree temperature on record in Duluth occurred on January 14th, 1894.

-Latest first 50 degree temperature on record in Duluth occurred on May 1st, 1917.
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A cold air mass remains over the Northland tonight and Friday, but the warmer air currently off to the west will make its way into the Northland over the weekend. 850mb temperatures around -18C this evening will climb to around 0 to +4C by Saturday afternoon.

Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

Low temperature forecast for Friday morning, February 28th, 2020. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov/

High temperature forecast for Friday, February 28th, 2020.

Still looks mainly dry in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin through most of next week. Sorry, no state hockey tournament blizzard in Minnesota this year, speaking of which, when is the last time we actually had a winter storm during that tournament? But all you hear about is well March is coming, time for a tournament blizzard, okay then. Big pet peeve of mind.

Source: https://lab.weathermodels.com/

…Weather Summary…

Clear to partly cloudy skies will be found in the Northland tonight and Friday.

A cold one tonight with lows falling into the single digits, teens and even some 20s below zero. Highs on Friday will be in the 20s.

Looks generally dry through the weekend with warmer temperatures. Highs on Saturday are forecast to be in the 30s, then on Sunday high temperatures are forecast to range from the mid 30s to mid 40s, with a chance for near 50 degree temperatures in some parts of the Northland, but this will depend on the extent of cloud cover, and timing of a cold front. Less clouds, later cold frontal passage=better chance for temps to climb toward 50 degrees Sunday afternoon.

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Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Mostly clear. Cold. Low 0 to 5 below. Wind north to northwest 5 to 15 mph.

.Friday… Mostly sunny. High 19 to 24. Wind northwest 10 to 15 mph.

.Saturday… Partly to mostly sunny. Milder. High 34 to 39. Wind south to southwest 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for February 28

High 28
Low 11

Sunrise Friday 6:51 AM CST
Sunset Friday 5:52 PM CST

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Dry pattern continues across the Northland into early March; chilly through Friday; warmer weather returns this weekend

Maybe will get some more precip by May

I realize we have a long ways to go (snow depths still 1-2 feet in most of the Northland) but so far the best case scenario has been playing out with a real slow snow melt across the Northland as we head into spring. There’s a lot of water in this snow pack, so we need to stay dry as long as we can to diminish the threat for significant spring flooding, so far this is working out well since we haven’t really added much new snow to the existing snow pack, plus the pattern has turned very quiet around here, been a long time since our area has been impacted by a major weather system (late November/early December)

Note: No consistent signals showing up in model guidance which would support a more active weather pattern in our area through next week, and possibly through the 2nd week of March. So for now, the dry pattern continues, enjoy!

Source: 12z European ensemble model 2.26.2020; https://weathermodels.com/

A cold air mass will remain over the Northland through Friday, but that pocket of warmer air currently over south-central Montana will eventually work its way to the east just in time for the weekend. Note: Parts of Minnesota, most likely western/southern parts of the state could have highs in the 50s, perhaps close to 60 degrees on Sunday!

Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

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Warm, cold, snowy winter in Duluth? Find out below.

Breaking down Meteorological Winter 2019-2020 for Duluth, Minnesota – These are preliminary stats thru February 25th.

Note: Meteorological winter is the period from December 1st through February 28th.

Preliminary Climate Stats for the 2019-2020 Winter Season (thru Feb. 25th)

Average Temperature: 16.1 degrees
Departure: +3.0 degrees above average

Total Precipitation: 4.24″
Note: Winter of 2019-2020 will likely finish ~1.38″ above average in the precipitation department.

Total Snowfall: 50.8″
Note: Winter of 2019-2020 will likely finish ~1.3″ above average in the snowfall department.

Number of Subzero nights: 24
Average is 35 subzero nights (1875-2019 Climate Period)

So to answer the question I asked above – This winter has been warmer than average in Duluth, while snowfall is running just slightly above average by about an inch.

Climate Stats for the 2018-2019 Winter Season (Dec. 1 to Feb. 28)

Average Temperature: 13.3 degrees
Departure: 0.0 degrees

Total Precipitation: 4.45″
Departure: +1.47″ above normal

Total Snowfall: 66.6″
Departure: +17.1 inches above normal

Number of subzero nights: 32
Average is 35 subzero nights (1875-2019 climate period)

Average temperature, departure from mean from December 1, 2019 to February 25, 2020. Source: https://mrcc.illinois.edu/

Average temperature, departure from mean from December 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019.

Total Snowfall from December 1, 2019 to February 25, 2020.

Total Snowfall from December 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019.

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Low temperature forecast for Thursday morning, February 27th, 2020. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov/

High temperature forecast for Thursday, February 27th, 2020.

Snowfall Reports from around the Northland for Wednesday, February 25th, 2020

Source https://www.weather.gov/dlh/

2 SSW Poplar, WI: 4.3″
2 NNE Wentworth, WI: 4.0″
3 SSW Wentworth, WI: 3.0″
1 WSW Maple, WI: 2.9″
1 SE Hawthorne, WI: 2.0″
1 N Solon Springs, WI: 0.8″
7 ESE Superior, WI: 0.4″

…Weather Summary…

Partly to mostly cloudy skies will be found in our area tonight and Thursday. Can’t rule out a flurry, or maybe more than one flurry, but most of us will remain dry.

Note: Some lake effect snow showers are possible tonight into Thursday morning along the South Shore of Lake Superior with generally light snowfall accumulations from northeast Douglas County to the Bayfield Peninsula east to the Hurley and Gile areas.

Lows tonight will range from the single digits above zero to the teens below zero. Highs on Thursday will be in the teens and 20s. Highs on Friday will mainly be in the 20s.

Warmer temperatures look to return this weekend with highs Saturday and Sunday in the 30s and 40s.

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Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 3 below to 2 above. Wind north to northwest 5 to 15 mph.

.Thursday… Partly cloudy. High 17 to 22. Wind north to northwest 5 to 15 mph.

.Friday… Mostly sunny. High 20 to 25. Wind northwest 10 to 15 mph.

Normal temperatures for February 27

High 28
Low 11

Sunrise Thursday 6:53 AM CST
Sunset Thursday 5:51 PM CST

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Colder temperatures the next few days; some snow showers and flurries tonight and Wednesday

Snow Depths from around the Northland as of Tuesday morning, February 25, 2020.

Source: https://www.weather.gov/dlh/

Wolfridge, MN: 36″
Hurley, WI: 27″
4 E Island Lake, MN: 25″
Babbitt, MN: 24″
Duluth Airport: 23″
Northome, MN: 23″
Cass Lake, MN: 21″
Embarrass, MN: 20″
Ely, MN: 20″
Kabetogama, MN: 20″
4 W Clam Lake, WI: 20″
International Falls, MN: 19″
3 E Orr, MN: 19″
Two Harbors, MN: 17″
12 N Grand Rapids, MN: 13″
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-Some snow is forecast to fall along the South Shore through Thursday morning, but most of it will fall on Wednesday. About 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected east of the Twin Ports, including the cities of Poplar, Iron River, Port Wing, Washburn, Bayfield and Ashland.

-Less than an inch of snow is forecast along the North Shore of Lake Superior, and across the rest of northwest Wisconsin, away from the South Shore.

Here’s the 18z NAM-WRF 3km model simulated radar forecast through 7 AM Thursday.

Snow shows up as blue colors on the map below.

The next few days will be on the chilly side. No more 40s or 50s this week.

Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

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Low temperature forecast for Wednesday morning, February 26th, 2020. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov/

High temperature forecast for Wednesday, February 26th, 2020.

…Weather Summary…

We saw some changes in the Northland today. More clouds compared to the last few days, and even some snow flurries in parts of the area today! Temperatures have also trended cooler with highs today generally in the upper 20s to lower 30s, which is still slightly above normal for late February.

Mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies will be found across the Northland tonight and Wednesday with scattered flurries and light snow showers.

Heavier snow showers are possible late tonight into Wednesday along the South Shore of Lake Superior where the setup will become more favorable for lake effect snow as 850mb temperatures continue to drop into the -15 to -20C range. A convergence band may also setup for a time on Wednesday with NE winds over the lake, and a N-NW wind on land, if this develops, and lingers longer than expected, then we could see snowfall totals exceed 3″ in a few locations along the South Shore on Wednesday, but this chance is fairly low.

Lows tonight will range from the single digits below to teens above zero with highs Wednesday in the teens and 20s.

Temperatures remain on the chilly side Thursday and Friday with highs in the teens and 20s.

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Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Partly to mostly cloudy. Snow showers and flurries. Low 10 to 15. Wind north to northwest 10 to 20 mph.

.Wednesday… Partly to mostly cloudy. Snow showers and flurries. High 17 to 22. Wind north to northwest 10 to 20 mph.

.Thursday… Partly to mostly cloudy. High 15 to 20. Wind northwest 10 to 15 mph.

Normal temperatures for February 26

High 28
Low 10

Sunrise Wednesday 6:55 AM CST
Sunset Wednesday 5:49 PM CST

Thanks for reading!

Tim