Keeping an eye on a few snow chances into early next week; arctic blast possible mid to late next week

  • A little light snow/flurries possible tonight west of Duluth
  • Dry Thursday
  • Snow chances return on Friday followed by briefly cooler temps Saturday
  • Milder Sunday-Monday with a little snow or a wintry mix possible

Tonight’s system looks pretty impressive on water vapor imagery as it churns SE out of North Dakota, but this system will weaken quite a bit as it moves through the Northland tonight which results in little if any snow impacting the Northland tonight.

Loop time 1:51 PM to 3:46 PM CT, Wednesday, December 16, 2020.


There is some light snow falling over parts of western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota late this afternoon with movement to the east. This snow is expected to fall apart as it moves farther east into the Northland tonight, but there is a chance that it could affect parts of north-central Minnesota before weakening (yellow dashed area on map)

Above normal temperatures are expected in Duluth at least through Tuesday, December 22. There’s even a chance we could have highs above the freezing mark early next week, but computer models continue to show a blast of arctic air moving in around the Christmas time frame (December 23-26) this could lead to daytime highs only in the single digits below to single digits above zero in the Northland, with overnight lows possibly as cold as the teens and 20s below later next week. Stay tuned.



Here’s something you don’t see very often in December.

There’s been more snow so far this month in parts of Oklahoma compared to what we’ve seen in the Northland, and also in upper Michigan!

December 2020 Total Snowfall (thru the 15th)

Oklahoma City, OK: 6.6″
Tulsa, OK: 5.2″
Amarillo, TX: 4.9″

International Falls, MN: 4.2″
Marquette, MI: 4.0″
Duluth, MN: 1.7″


A split flow weather pattern has dominated the month of December thus far, and this has resulted in ridging along with well above average temps across the northern tier of the US, while troughing and below average temps have been found across parts of the Rockies and southern US.

Average Monthly Temperature Departures across the Northland for December 2020 (thru the 15th)

International Falls: +9.7 degrees above normal
Brainerd: +7.8 degrees above normal
Hibbing: +7.7 degrees above normal
Duluth: +6.9 degrees above normal

A major winter storm will continue to impact parts of the Mid-Atlantic and northeast US tonight into Thursday as low pressure heads northeast out of southeast Virginia. This is a classic Nor’easter with very warm and moist air moving NW off the Atlantic, while cold/dry air on NE winds occur north of the surface low.

Note: Those bright white colors on the image below represent very heavy snowfall with 1-3″ per hour rates likely late this afternoon.

An impressive amount of very strong lift/forcing also lifting north as this Nor’easter cranks up tonight.


NWS snowfall forecast shows a widespread swath of 12″+ totals by Thursday afternoon including for New York City, Boston, and a large chunk of Pennsylvania where totals could reach 2 feet in some parts of that state.


We’ve got another shot for a little snow on Friday as a somewhat stronger disturbance moves quickly ESE out of the Dakotas. The system on Friday is forecast to have a little more moisture compared to tonight’s system, and the lift/forcing may be a little stronger as well with Friday’s system, so we should see at least a little snow across most of the Northland, but amounts look to remain on the light side.

Here’s the 18z NAM model 700mb forecast valid from 6 AM Friday to Midnight Saturday.


18z NAM 3km simulated radar forecast valid 6 AM Friday to Midnight Saturday shows some snow affecting much of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin Friday into Friday evening, but again this doesn’t look like it will be a major snow event, with amounts of only a half inch to an inch possible the way it looks now.

Note: Timing for when we could see some snow in Duluth and Superior is mid or late Friday afternoon into early Friday evening the way it looks now.


Check out that beast of a low across the North Atlantic today, wow, what a storm!

Goes-16 satellite imagery loop time 3:10 AM to 3:10 PM CT, Wednesday, December 16, 2020.



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