You got to love weather forecasting! Here we are less than 24 hours from a snow event, and you have two wildly different forecasts showing up from model guidance. European model shows about an inch of snow in Duluth this weekend, while the NAM shows a 6 to 10 inch thumping in Duluth. For what it’s worth, the Euro model has consistently shown the least amount of snow with this weekend’s event, while the NAM started out pretty dry, but has trended much wetter over the last few runs including the newest run this afternoon (18z) Only thing I can think of as to why the snow totals are so different would be the Euro shows very little lake effect occurring in Duluth, while the NAM is going all in on a fairly significant lake effect snow event this weekend. Bottom line is the snowfall amounts for this weekend are not set in stone as of late Friday afternoon, and big changes in snow totals are certainly possible with this weekend’s event.
Only 5% ice coverage on Lake Superior as of Friday, January 29, 2021, and this makes this forecaster somewhat nervous since we’re looking at a lengthy period of easterly winds this weekend. There’s a lot of open water (moisture source) to get some extra snow along the North Shore Saturday and Sunday, the saving grace would be the fact that the air mass will be relatively mild this weekend which may cut back on the amount of lake enhanced snow we end up seeing, but this is still a situation that needs to be watched closely, because there is a chance that snow totals along the North Shore end up being much higher than the 3-6 inches I’m going with.
Not making any changes to my snowfall forecast for this weekend, but as I alluded to above, I may have to up the totals a bit along the North Shore, and possibly even as far south as Duluth, but I would really like to see other models trend toward the NAM solution before making any big changes.
Should also be noted that the models are in good agreement on precip/snow amounts this weekend for the majority of the Northland, except along the North Shore including Duluth, so confidence is high on the forecast snow amounts shown below, except near Lake Superior (North Shore)
Storm track this weekend is very far to the south to give the Northland a whole bunch of snow, but a trough will extend north of a surface low moving ENE out of the Rockies, and that trough will help draw some moisture northward and this combined with some lift moving through at times will go on to produce some snow Saturday into Sunday.
Goes-16 water vapor loop from Friday, January 29, 2021.
- Most of the Northland should remain dry tonight, although some lake effect snow showers and flurries are possible along the North Shore, and some patchy freezing drizzle and fog could develop during the night around the Brainerd Lakes area, and the risk for some freezing drizzle/fog could continue through Saturday morning.
- Expect periods of snow Saturday through Sunday morning with some breaks in the snow likely.
- Snow looks to end from west to east during the day Sunday, lingering longest around Lake Superior.
- Easterly winds near Lake Superior could gust to around 15-25 mph through Sunday morning and patchy blowing snow could occur at times.
18z NAM 3km model simulated radar forecast valid from Midnight tonight to Midnight Monday.
Note: For the Northland, there is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for portions of east-central Minnesota including the cities of Cass Lake, Walker, Brainerd and Aitkin from Midnight tonight to 6 PM Saturday for the combination of light icing (glaze) and minor snow accumulations.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the North Shore of Lake Superior including the cities of Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Isabella and Grand Marais from 6 AM Saturday to 6 AM Sunday due to accumulating snow.
Plan on slippery road conditions in the advisory areas.
Regional view of the current weather alerts which are in effect this weekend.
Winter Storm Warning (pink)
Winter Weather Advisory (purple)
Winter Storm Watch (blue)