Windy and turning colder; rain or snow showers tonight; a few rain or snow showers Thursday and Friday; accumulating snow possible in parts of the Northland Saturday

*Northwest winds will be increasing across the Northland this evening as low pressure moves off to the east. Winds of 15 to 25 mph are likely tonight with gusts of 25 to 45 mph possible.

*Colder air will also drop SE out of far northern Minnesota tonight with temperatures by daybreak Thursday falling into the upper 20s to middle 30s.

Radar image from late Wednesday afternoon shows some rain across the Northland with movement to the east-southeast. Some of the rain is starting to mix with snow late this afternoon north of an Orr to Ely line (blue colors on map)

Rain or mixed rain and snow will continue in the Northland tonight but should diminish from NW-SE by later this evening and overnight. Note: Locations that see a rain/snow mix shouldn’t see any snow accumulation tonight.

*There will be some snow and rain showers at times across the Northland Thursday and Friday, but we should also see at least a little sun from time to time as well. Highs will only be in the 30s to lower 40s Thursday and Friday.

Rainfall Reports from Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Note: Totals listed below are thru 4 PM Wednesday.

Grand Marais, MN: 0.79″
International Falls, MN: 0.72″
Silver Bay, MN: 0.65″
Orr, MN: 0.66″
Bigfork, MN: 0.60″
Ely, MN: 0.53″
Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: 0.52″
Isabella, MN: 0.49″
Two Harbors, MN: 0.45″
Duluth Airport: 0.33″
Longville, MN: 0.30″
Hill City, MN: 0.29″
Grand Rapids, MN: 0.28″
Saginaw, MN: 0.27″
Cass Lake, MN: 0.23″
Cloquet, MN: 0.20″
Washburn, WI: 0.19″
Moose Lake, MN: 0.15″
McGregor, MN: 0.14″
Walker, MN: 0.13″
Ashland, WI: 0.12″
Glidden, WI: 0.11″
Clam Lake, WI: 0.10″
Minong, WI: 0.08″
Aitkin, MN: 0.07″
Solon Springs, WI: 0.07″
Hayward, WI: 0.06″
Brainerd, MN: 0.06″

There continues to be differences on the storm track and intensity of Saturday’s system in today’s model runs so expect a few changes in the forecast over the next few days.

Greatest chance for accumulating snow on Saturday looks to be across portions of north-central, northeast and east-central Minnesota with a lesser chance NW and SE.

Temperatures aloft look sufficiently cold enough for snow on Saturday with models forecasting 850mb temperatures of -2 to -5C and 925mb temperatures of around -1 to -3C, so it will come down to the temperatures near the surface as to whether or not we see snow or a mix or just rain, and right now those look to be in the 31 to 35 degree range while precipitation is moving through parts of the Northland during the day Saturday, so this would be cold enough for mostly snow.

With this being the first snowfall of the season (possibly) and with ground temps still on the mild side it will likely take a little while before snow starts to accumulate, so subtract an hour or two of when snow may be falling to when it might begin to accumulate, plus the fact that this looks to be a fairly progressive system lasting maybe 6 hours leads me to believe that it will be difficult to get more than 2 inches of snow out of Saturday’s event, but if the system trends stronger and slows down some, or if heavier snow bands develop, then we could certainly see more than 3-4 inches of snow over a portion of the Northland.

As for lakeside locations – Probably looking at more rain than snow on Saturday as water temps over western Lake Superior are still in the upper 40s so an east wind coming off that water will modify the temperature just a bit, or at least enough where we will probably get more rain than snow on Saturday, but even lakeside locations could see an hour or two of wet snow especially before Noon Saturday.

The door is now open for colder air to push south out of northern Canada and into the Northland as today’s system exits to the east.

Today’s low pressure system brought more rain to the Northland, also of note is the small area of clearing or the dry slot which moved quickly east out of central Minnesota this afternoon.


A powerful jet stream adding energy to today’s system across the upper Midwest – This jet is crashing ashore over the Pacific northwest and extends ESE into portions of the northern Rockies and upper Midwest with wind speeds >140 knots per RAP model analysis.


There is a chance that a wetter pattern will continue across the Northland over the next 2 weeks with more frequent precipitation events possible.

Source: 12z European ensemble model 10.14.2020;

I’ll be keeping an eye on model trends for next week as there certainly are signals showing up where we could see a major fall storm develop across the Rockies or Plains sometime next week.

Cold air diving south into the Rockies, warm air out east, this type of temperature pattern opens up the possibility for one or more low pressure systems to track along the temperature gradient.

If the pattern amplifies even more next week, then we could see the warmer air shift farther west, and the storm track shift farther west as well.

Stay tuned.

Source: 12z European ensemble model 10.14.2020

Late Tuesday afternoon at around 5:30 PM, a wildfire was reported north of Cotton, near Melrude in northeast Minnesota. Smoke plume (blue and green colors on map) from this wildfire showed up nicely on Duluth’s doppler radar late Tuesday afternoon. Note: Radar image below was from 5:36 PM, Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

It’s been a fairly mild October so far in Duluth with 69% of days above average (red) while 31% of days have been below average (blue) This chart should look quite a bit different for the rest of this month, likely a lot more blue or below average temps.


Thanks for reading!


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