Some snow on the way this weekend; keeping an eye on another snow event mid/late next week

Tonight looks dry and warmer compared to the last few nights in the Northland with lows staying above zero for most of us. Friday is also looking dry, although a few flurries/snow showers could move through parts of the area at times, and some lake effect snow showers could start to develop and impact the North Shore as well on Friday, but any snow that falls shouldn’t amount to much during the day Friday.

Snow chances ramp up Saturday with some snow possibly lingering into Sunday especially around Lake Superior.

Here’s my preliminary snowfall forecast for this weekend’s event.

  • 1 to 3 inches of snow for most of the Northland, but higher amounts of 3 to 6 inches are possible along the North Shore of Lake Superior due to a persistent easterly wind through the weekend, and this could cause periods of lake enhanced/orographic enhanced snowfall. Note: The potential for 3 to 6 inches of snow could extend as far south as the Twin Ports if winds are more ENE vs. ESE, but at the moment it looks like winds would be more ESE which favors areas mostly north of Duluth.
  • 850mb temperatures are forecast to range from around -8 to -10C this weekend, with lake water temps around +1 to +3C so enough of a difference to cause some lake enhanced snowfall along the North Shore this weekend.

Note: Computer models continue to show differences in precip/snow totals for our area this weekend, with the GFS, GEFS, UK and German-Icon models showing quite a bit more snow compared to the Euro and NAM, this is especially true along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Bottom line is that the forecast below is only preliminary and snow amounts could increase or decrease over the next 24 hours or so. Stay tuned.

…Next week’s storm threat…

Computer models continue to show a system moving out of the Rockies next week, and this system could impact the Northland sometime mid to late next week, with timing looking to be around February 3-5 the way it looks now. This system could bring accumulating snow and possibly some wind to northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin next week. Stay tuned.

We had a meso-low develop over southwestern Lake Superior (white outlined area on map) for a few hours this morning with a band of lake effect snow off-shore, but this feature remained off-shore and eventually weakened early this afternoon.

Radar loop from 5:44 AM to 4:59 PM, Thursday, January 28, 2021.



Potential! The pattern ahead has lots of potential to turn pretty wild in our area. February could be a very active month for both arctic air and snow, key words being potential, and could be…..never know!

Model agreement in the long range is about as good as I’ve seen all winter as both the EPS and GEFS models have consistently shown a much more active weather pattern setting up across the upper Midwest and Great Lakes, and once it does it could have some staying power.

The unknowns which is typical in the long range would be individual storm tracks and where the arctic air ends up, but there seems to be a trend starting to show up in model guidance that most of the arctic air would setup over the Rockies and Northern Plains while occasional brief shots of arctic air spill further east into our area at times which would be followed by brief warm-ups. Where the arctic air and warm air sets up will be important as that will likely dictate where low pressure systems track.

Note: Should also be noted that a few of the GFS model runs over the last few days have shown the mother load of Siberian air moving into our area sometime during early to mid February with 850mb temps bottoming out in the -35 to -40C range, while daytime highs would only be in the teens and 20s below zero, wicked cold should that happen.


Duluth averages 12.4″ of snow during the month of February, and if things set up just right, we may reach or get close to our average snowfall in just the first week of February.

Bitterly cold morning in the Northland – Low Temperature Reports from Thursday morning, January 28, 2021.


Note: Low of -14 F at the Duluth Airport this morning, Thursday, January 28, 2021, this is the coldest temperature we’ve had in Duluth so far this winter. Previous coldest was -12 F on December 25, 2020.

  • 25 E Ely, MN: -33 F
  • Ash Lake, MN: -32 F
  • Cotton, MN: -31 F
  • Crane Lake, MN: -27 F
  • Cook, MN: -27 F
  • Ely, MN: -27 F
  • International Falls, MN: -27 F
  • Orr, MN: -27 F
  • Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: -26 F
  • Eveleth, MN: -25 F
  • Littlefork, MN: -25 F
  • Bigfork, MN: -24 F
  • Barnes, WI: -19 F
  • Clam Lake, WI: -19 F
  • Glidden, WI: -19 F
  • Twig, MN: -19 F
  • Grand Marais Airport: -18 F
  • South Range, WI: -17 F
  • Two Harbors, MN: -17 F
  • Saginaw, MN: -15 F
  • Solon Springs, WI: -15 F
  • Deer River, MN: -14 F
  • Duluth Airport: -14 F
  • Hayward, WI: -13 F
  • Ashland, WI: -12 F
  • Superior Airport: -11 F
  • Duluth Harbor: -6 F

…Atmospheric River Event…

An impressive atmospheric river event continues to hammer parts of California with incredible amounts of snow, rain and wind today.

Water vapor loop from Thursday, January 28, 2021.


Numerous weather alerts continue in much of California into tonight, with Blizzard Warning in red and flood alerts in green.


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