Some rain and wet snow on the way for Thursday; cooler but dry this weekend

An area of low pressure, cold front and upper level trough will be moving across the Northland on Thursday. Lift will increase as this system approaches resulting in some rain and possibly a bit of wet snow on Thursday.

Simulated radar forecast valid from 1 AM tonight to 1 AM Friday per 18z NAM-WRF model.


Model guidance isn’t in very good agreement with Thursday’s system. A few models have trended wetter, while others keep the bulk of the precip focused in northern Wisconsin with lighter precipitation across northeast Minnesota.

Temperatures will be marginal for snow on Thursday, but if the colder air moves in quick enough while the deeper moisture is around, then there could be a swath of accumulating wet snow over a portion of northeast and east-central Minnesota, and possibly over a part of northwest Wisconsin.

For now I’m going with trace to 2 inch snow amounts in the areas I think stand the best chance at seeing a bit of snow on Thursday, but overall this is a low confidence forecast as the snow areas may shift farther east, or there could be no snow at all.

Here’s the HREF model total precipitation forecast for Thursday – Looking at about one-tenth to a quarter inch of precipitation in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, but there is potential for locally higher totals, while generally trace amounts are forecast across northern Minnesota.



Typical March weather out there today. A small area of wet snow is moving across far northeast Minnesota this afternoon with temperatures in the 30s, while some towns in southwest Minnesota are in the lower 50s.

That subtropical jet continues its dominance on the weather pattern! Active times across the Southern U.S. into the Ohio Valley and Eastern U.S.; while the Northern tier of the U.S. is dominated more by the northern branch of the jet resulting in generally weaker systems affecting the upper Midwest through next week.

Source: Goes-16 water vapor imagery;

Low temperature forecast for Thursday morning, March 12th, 2020. Source:

High temperature forecast for Thursday, March 12th, 2020.

…Weather Summary…

Mostly cloudy for tonight with lows in the middle 20s to middle 30s. We could see some light rain begin to develop over southwest portions of the Northland overnight, otherwise mainly dry tonight. Winds will be out of the south at 5 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

Some rain and wet snow will affect northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin on Thursday. Colder air will work its way south/east as low pressure and cold front move off to the east with 850mb temperatures falling to around 0 to -3C during the day, how soon this colder air pushes south will determine whether or not there will be any snow or just rain on Thursday, boundary layer temps will play a role as well, as they are forecast to be in the mid 30s to lower 40s, but if precipitation rates increase enough, it may help to pull just enough cold air down to the surface resulting in a quick change over from rain to wet snow. Note: I think most of us will just see some rain on Thursday, but some areas may see a mix of rain/wet snow, or even a switch over to wet snow at least for a time on Thursday. Winds will become north to northwest at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph possible later in the day.

The period from Friday through Sunday looks cool but dry in the Northland as a strong area of high pressure 1045-1050mb passes by to our north. High temps are forecast to be in the 20s to around 30 degrees this weekend with lows in the single digits and teens, but subzero temps are certainly a possibility, especially in the typical cold spots in our area.


Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Mostly cloudy. Low 30 to 34. Wind east to southeast 5 to 15 mph becoming south.

.Thursday… Some rain which could mix with wet snow at times. High 35 to 40. Wind becoming northwest 10 to 20 mph.

.Friday… Partly cloudy. High 27 to 32. Wind northwest 15 to 25 mph.

Normal temperatures for March 12

High 33
Low 16

Sunrise Thursday 7:26 AM CDT
Sunset Thursday 7:11 PM CDT

Thanks for reading!


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