A few snow and rain showers possible in parts of the Northland Thursday and Friday; chilly through the weekend

The first snow of the season will likely fall in some parts of the Northland Thursday and Friday, but no accumulation is expected, just a few flakes falling out of the sky at times, just another sign that winter is approaching!

Included in this post are past October snowfall totals at Duluth, Minnesota from 2000-2019, just scroll a little further down to find that information.

Note: I don’t think will see any snow in Duluth or Superior Thursday or Friday, just a few rain showers at times, but I guess it’s possible that a few snow pellets (graupel) could mix in at times.

The most widespread shower coverage is expected this evening, then mostly just isolated to widely scattered showers of rain and snow Thursday and Friday. Note: Some lake effect snow and rain showers are possible on Friday along the South Shore of Lake Superior, mainly south/east of Ashland with a chance for a light coating of slushy snow in higher elevated areas inland from Lake Superior.

18z NAM 3km radar forecast ending at 7 PM Friday.

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

The bigger story over the next few days will be the temperatures as it looks like will be stuck in the mid 30s to mid 40s for daytime highs Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Note: I think the record cold high temps for October 1st are safe, but we could get close to breaking or tying the record cold high temps on Friday (October 2nd)

…Record Cold High Temperatures for October 1st…

Duluth, MN: 37 degrees set in 1974

Hibbing, MN: 38 degrees set in 1974

International Falls, MN: 39 degrees set in 1908 and tied in 1974

Brainerd, MN: 40 degrees set in 1985

Ashland, WI: 41 degrees set in 1985

…Record Cold High Temperatures for October 2nd…

Duluth, MN: 40 degrees set in 1888

International Falls, MN: 40 degrees set in 1989 and tied in 1999

Hibbing, MN: 40 degrees set in 1989

Brainerd, MN: 41 degrees set in 1989

Ashland, WI: 45 degrees set in 1944

A cold air mass continues to move further south out of northern Canada today, and will reach the Northland on Thursday as 850mb temperatures fall to around -4 to -8C. A chilly air mass will remain over the Northland through this weekend.

Here’s how the current pattern looks on water vapor imagery – Its a very amplified pattern with a strong ridge covering the western U.S., while a broad upper level trough stretches from central Canada south to the upper Midwest and Great Lakes, this type of pattern is very favorable for early season cold air to spill south out of the Arctic.

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

September 2020 was a dry month over much of the Northland.

Brainerd and Duluth received only around 25% of their normal precipitation this month. Note: I’ll post the climate summaries for September 2020 on Thursday, but it looks like this September will go into the record books as the 7th driest September on record at Duluth.

Source: https://mrcc.illinois.edu/

We’ve seen numerous scattered showers and a few thunderstorms move southeast across the Northland today. Gusty winds, brief downpours and some small hail has occurred with some of this activity today.

Loop time ends at 5:01 PM, Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

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

Local Storm Reports from Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Source: https://www.weather.gov/dlh/

3:49 PM: Hail 0.25 inch. 2 NE Bruno, MN (Pine County) A high quantity of small hail accumulated and made roads slippery along Highway 23 between Bruno and Kerrick.

2:00 PM: Hail 0.25 inch. 2 S Backus, MN (Cass County)

1:45 PM: Hail 0.25 inch. Fort Ripley, MN (Crow Wing County)

1:40 PM: Hail 0.25 inch. Oslund, MN (Itasca County) Pea size hail fell for about 4 minutes.

A look at radar estimated rainfall since early Wednesday morning. Note: The yellow outlined area has picked up the most rain today with radar estimating a tenth to over a quarter inch of rainfall today.

A cool final day of September with temperatures ranging from the middle 40s to lower 50s across the Northland this afternoon. Temperatures will be even cooler on Thursday.

A new month begins tomorrow, and it’s the same old weather pattern. Looks like at least the first half of October will be drier than normal across the Northland.

Note: Duluth is closing in on a 10″ precipitation deficit for 2020. Currently sitting at 9.77″ below normal for the year thru 5 PM, September 30th.

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

October Climate Averages and Records for Duluth, Minnesota

Normal high on the 1st: 58 degrees
Normal high on the 31st: 44 degrees

Normal low on the 1st: 40 degrees
Normal low on the 31st: 30 degrees

Averages for October

Temperature: 43.2 degrees
Precipitation: 2.85″
Snowfall: 2.3″

Records for October

Wettest: 7.53″ set in 1949
Driest: 0.09″ set in 1895

Snowiest: 14.0″ set in 1933

On average we get 2 days in October with a maximum temperature of at least 70 degrees, and 10 days with a minimum temperature of 32 degrees or lower.

On average we get 2 days in October with at least 0.1″ snowfall.

Astronomical Data for October

Sunrise on the 1st: 7:08 AM CDT
Sunrise on the 31st: 7:50 AM CDT

Sunset on the 1st: 6:47 PM CDT
Sunset on the 31st: 5:53 PM CDT

Past October Snowfall Totals at Duluth, Minnesota

Average Snowfall in October is 2.3″

2000: Trace
2001: 2.0″
2002: 6.3″
2003: 4.5″
2004: Trace
2005: 0.1″
2006: 4.1″
2007: Trace
2008: 0.2″
2009: 3.7″
2010: 7.7″
2011: Trace
2012: 1.1″
2013: 0.3″
2014: 0.1″
2015: Trace
2016: Trace
2017: 11.1″
2018: 1.5″
2019: 0.9″

*Snowiest October since 2000 in Duluth was in 2017 with 11.1 inches of snow. October 2017 was the 3rd snowiest October on record in Duluth.

70% of Octobers since 2000 have had below average snowfall in Duluth, while 30% have had above average snowfall (years where October had above average snowfall include 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2017)

Thanks for reading!


Turning colder late this week; scattered showers (rumble of thunder) tonight and Wednesday; snow flurries/graupel showers Thursday and Friday

-Isolated to scattered rain showers will continue tonight and Wednesday, and we could even hear a rumble of thunder this evening and again on Wednesday thanks to some weak instability and steep mid level lapse rates passing over the area, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if we get a few reports of small hail in the Northland this evening and again on Wednesday.

-Much colder temperatures arrive late this week into the weekend with daytime highs only in the upper 30s to upper 40s for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

-Chance for a few snow flurries and or graupel showers Thursday and Friday.

-Warmer temps next week?

Much of the Northland has a chance to pick up around a tenth to quarter inch of rain thru early Thursday morning.

Note: Duluth needs an additional 0.23″ of precipitation by Midnight Wednesday night in order to keep September 2020 from ranking in the top 10 driest Septembers on record. We’ve had 0.82″ of precipitation so far this month in Duluth, and if September ended today it would finish as the 6th driest September on record at Duluth.

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

Showers will be scattered throughout the Northland over the next 24-36 hours, but like we’ve seen the last 2 days, there will be dry hours between the showers with even some breaks in the clouds.

Here’s a look at the 18z NAM 3km radar forecast ending at 7 AM Thursday.

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

Temperatures warmed into the upper 50s to low/mid 60s across the Northland this afternoon which is close to the normal highs for September 29th.

Highs on Wednesday should mainly be in the 50s.

The average temperature at Duluth for September 2020 (thru the 28th) was 54.9 degrees or -1.1 degrees below normal.

50% of days this month have been below average, while 43% of days have been above average, while 7% of days have had an average temperature.

Here’s a look at the daily average temperature departure at Duluth, Minnesota for September 2020 (thru the 28th) above average temps in red, below average temps in blue.

Note the warming trend we’ve seen this month in Duluth after the 18th, with every day from September 19th to September 28th either above average or average.

Source: https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/

Another day featuring some sun, clouds and scattered showers across the area today.

Loop ends at 4:52 PM CT, Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

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

Big time ridge out west with an upper level low to our northeast resulting in a NW flow across the upper Midwest today. Very little change in the pattern is expected through this weekend, in fact the pattern will amplify even more by late this week causing even colder air to pour south out of the Arctic.

Temps aloft will become cold enough late this week to support some frozen precipitation over parts of the Northland.

850mb temperatures are forecast to drop as low as -5 to -10C, while 925mb temperatures range from around 0 to -1C, so it will come down to near surface temps as to whether or not we see some snow flurries or just rain drops in the Thursday-Friday time frame.

Still seeing some differences in the weather models for next week, as the Euro ensemble (EPS) continues to show warmer temperatures spreading further east compared to the GEFS model.

Note: The difference would mean highs in the 60s, and maybe even a few 70s on a few days next week across the Northland per EPS guidance, while the GEFS model would keep us in the 50s, or very close to normal for early October.

Stay tuned

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

Source: https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/

Thanks for reading!


Breezy and cool with a few showers; snow flurries and graupel showers possible late this week

A mid level low pressure system has been making its way S-SE through the upper Midwest today, this system brought a few rain showers to parts of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin today.

Here’s a look at today’s low pressure system cutting through Minnesota as seen on water vapor imagery.

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

Radar loop from Monday afternoon, September 28, 2020 (ending at 4:46 PM CT)

Isolated showers have been moving south-southeast across parts of the Northland today, but these showers haven’t lasted very long, so they aren’t producing a whole lot of rainfall.

We should see a few more showers in our area Tuesday and Wednesday, but with many dry hours mixed in, and any rain that does fall shouldn’t amount to very much. Note: It looks like September 2020 will finish as the 6th or 7th driest September on record at Duluth, Minnesota with just 0.81″ of precipitation so far this month, and not a whole lot more expected thru Wednesday (30th)

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

Monday afternoon temperatures ranged from the upper 40s to middle 50s across the Northland which is below normal for late September as our normal highs are right around 60 degrees.

Highs on Tuesday will range from the upper 40s to lower 60s, with highs Wednesday in the upper 40s to upper 50s.

Even colder temperatures are on the way for late in the week, and the source region for this cold air will be coming from way up north in the Arctic regions of Canada, but with it being so early in the season this air mass will modify a good 20 degrees or so once it reaches the Northland later this week, so instead of temperatures in the 10s and 20s we’re looking at temperatures in the upper 30s to upper 40s for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

With the colder temperatures for late this week, there will be a chance that some parts of the Northland will see some snow flurries and graupel showers (soft hail/snow pellets) in the Thursday-Friday time frame.

Seeing some differences in the weather models on next week’s pattern.

The euro ensemble model (EPS) has a ridge setting up further east resulting in a warmer pattern for the Northland (daytime highs 60 degrees or warmer on a few days next week)

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

While the GEFS model keeps the ridge further off to the WSW which in turn keeps the Northland in a relatively cool pattern for next week (daytime highs in the 50s, maybe even in the 40s)

Source: https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/

Thanks for reading!


Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for parts of northwest Wisconsin

6:20 PM Saturday – A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for northern Wisconsin, western Upper Michigan and Lake Michigan – This watch is in effect until Midnight.

Primary threats include

Large hail up to 2 inches in diameter and damaging wind gusts to 65 mph.

Counties in the Northland included in this watch are…Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Washburn and Sawyer including the cities of Port Wing, Bayfield, Washburn, Cable, Minong, Spooner, Shell Lake, Hayward, Winter, Ashland, Glidden, Upson, Hurley and Mercer.

A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.

Radar update from 6:10 PM – An area of strong thunderstorms is passing south and east of Hayward. These storms have already produced a few reports of small hail of 0.25 inch diameter around the Winter area.

We could see a few thunderstorms develop further NW in the yellow outlined area on the map, but there is more uncertainty in whether or not will see any storms develop in this area this evening.


Occasional showers and a few t-storms tonight; breezy on Sunday with a few afternoon showers

An area of low pressure along with its warm front and cold front will move quickly NE out of southern Minnesota tonight. This system will produce some rain this evening across parts of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, and there will also be a chance for some thunderstorms this evening over northwest Wisconsin and possibly further west into east-central Minnesota as well.

Note: A few strong to severe thunderstorms are possible through late this evening over northwest Wisconsin, with the greatest chances roughly along and east of a line from Ashland to Hayward including cities such as Cable, Winter, Loretta, Mellen, Glidden, Upson, Hurley and Mercer. Large hail of quarter to hen egg size is the primary severe weather threat this evening.

Areas of fog and drizzle will also persist through most of tonight, but these conditions will improve on Sunday as drier air along with a stronger west wind develops behind tonight’s low pressure system

Some rain this evening followed by some dry weather overnight into Sunday morning, and then will see a few showers pop-up once again for Sunday afternoon.

Note: Highs in the Northland on Sunday are forecast to be in the 50s and 60s, even cooler on Monday with highs in the mid 40s to mid 50s.

18z NAM 3km radar forecast thru 7 PM Sunday.

Source: https://weathermodels.com/

Much of the Northland is forecast to get a tenth to quarter inch of rain by Sunday evening, but up to a half inch of rain is possible over far northeast Minnesota, and a swath of a half to one inch of rain is possible covering far SE portions of northwest Wisconsin.

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

Our next weather maker is moving quickly to the ENE out of the Northern Plains and into the upper Midwest and Great Lakes this afternoon – Today’s system has a lot of upper level support with RAP model analysis showing 70-80 knot 500mb winds, and >100 knot winds at 300mb spreading NE out of South Dakota.

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

Similar to Friday’s setup, today’s setup also has very favorable wind shear in place for severe weather across north-central Wisconsin into upper Michigan with Surface-6 KM shear of 60 to around 80 knots. Along with the high shear comes enough instability (elevated CAPE up to 1000 J/kg) to create an environment conducive for a few severe storms over portions of north-central Wisconsin and upper Michigan through late this evening.

Parts of the Northland have seen a little rain today, including here in Duluth and Superior, but rainfall amounts for those that got some rain have only been in the 0.01 to around 0.10 inch range so far today.

Note: Radar loop ends at 3:33 PM, Saturday, September 26, 2020.

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

Our weather over the next few days will be dominated by cold air aloft, a mix of sun and clouds along with chances for scattered showers, most of these showers should occur during the afternoon and early evening hours once we build up enough surface heating.

Shown below is a 500mb temperature forecast from 7 AM Sunday to 7 PM Monday per NAM model which shows H5 temps of around -20 to -25C, a pretty chilly air mass up at around 18,000 feet.

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

Still looking at a very chilly air mass pouring into the Northland late next week, from around October 1st-3rd. Daytime highs late next week are forecast to only be in the 40s, and there is even a chance that a few locations struggle to make it out of the upper 30s! Along with these cold temps comes the risk for a few graupel showers, and possibly even a few snow flurries for late next week.

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


Additional Storm Reports from Friday, September 25, 2020

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

9:15 PM: Hail 0.70 inch. 2 ENE Mercer, WI (Iron County)

9:09 PM: Hail 0.70 inch. 1 S Mercer, WI (Iron County)

9:06 PM: Hail 1.25 inch (Half dollar size hail) Mercer, WI (Iron County)

8:51 PM: Hail 0.70 inch. 2 ENE Mercer, WI (Iron County)

8:00 PM: Thunderstorm Wind Damage. 3 S Mellen, WI (Ashland County) Tree down on Highway 77.

7:55 PM: Hail 2.00 inch (Hen Egg size hail) 3 NW Morse, WI (Ashland County)

Thanks for reading!