Cold tonight and Monday; a few snow showers/flurries possible late tonight; highs in the 40s return Tuesday afternoon

A fast moving, but potent winter storm brought a narrow swath of heavy snow to central Minnesota, north-central Wisconsin and upper Michigan today. Snowfall totals of 4 to nearly 10 inches were common under the most intense bands of snow earlier today, while amounts tapered off quickly to the north and south.

Snowfall Reports from Sunday, February 28, 2021 via NWS Duluth, MN.

  • 2 NNW Manitowish, WI: 9.8″
  • 1 E Hertel, WI: 7.0″
  • 3 SW Danbury, WI: 6.8″
  • Spooner, WI: 6.2″
  • 1 N Gile, WI: 5.6″
  • 1 W Hayward, WI: 5.5″
  • 5 W Washburn, WI: 5.0″
  • 1 S Ashland, WI: 4.5″
  • 4 E Iron River, WI: 4.0″
  • 1 WNW Ashland, WI: 3.5″
  • 6 SW Finlayson, MN: 2.8″
  • 1 SSE Oulu, WI: 2.6″
  • 4 SSE Herbster, WI: 2.3″
  • 3 N Amnicon Falls S.P: 2.3″
  • 1 NE West Duluth, MN: 2.0″
  • Kettle River, MN: 2.0″
  • 2 SW Two Harbors, MN: 1.8″
  • Duluth Airport: 1.5″
  • Grand Marais, MN: 1.0″
  • Tonight’s clipper has been trending farther south in model data today, with the main swath of snow streaking southeast out of western Minnesota and into south-central Minnesota, with it just clipping southern portions of the Northland, along and south of a line from around Cass Lake to Birchwood.
  • Low temperatures tonight will range from around 5 below to 15 below in northern Minnesota to the single digits above zero in northwest Wisconsin.
  • Highs on Monday will only be in the teens to around 20 degrees, so a chilly start to March, but we should have a lot of sun on Monday which will make it feel a little warmer.
  • Temperatures will warm into the 40s across much of the Northland Tuesday afternoon, but it does look a tad windy as westerly winds gust to around 20-30 mph on Tuesday.

Here’s my snowfall forecast for late tonight

  • Around an inch of snow for Pine River, Brainerd, Pine City and Siren.
  • Less than an inch of snow for Cass Lake, Hill City, Aitkin, Moose Lake, Hinckley, Minong and Spooner.

Some snow is possible later tonight (~Midnight to 5 AM) across southern portions of the Northland per 18z NAM 3km model simulated radar forecast.

Subzero temperatures return to much of northern Minnesota Monday morning, with a lower chance from eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.


I’m starting to notice a few changes in the pattern for late this week into next weekend, and this change in the pattern could help keep the warmest air farther west over the Dakotas, while the Northland sees somewhat cooler temps, although likely still above normal for early March.

The greatest probabilities for high temps of 50 degrees or warmer remains over the Dakotas, into western/southern portions of Minnesota from March 2-10, but there is still a chance for temps to get into the 50s in some parts of the Northland sometime around March 7-8, otherwise we’re probably looking at more 30s and 40s for daytime highs in our area this week into the middle of next week.

Well above normal temperatures are forecast for the Northern Plains between March 5-10, while above normal temperatures are expected farther east including for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.


Long Range Forecast for March 2021

March Climate Normals and Records for Duluth, Minnesota

Normals for the month

High: 29 degrees on the 1st, 41 degrees on the 31st.
Low: 11 degrees on the 1st, 24 degrees on the 31st.

Averages for the month

Temperature: 25.9 degrees
Warmest: 39.2 degrees set in 2012
Coldest: 13.5 degrees set in 1923

Precipitation: 1.49″
Wettest: 5.12″ set in 1965
Driest: 0.22″ set in 1959

Snowfall: 13.2″
Snowiest: 48.2″ set in 1917
Least Snowiest: Trace set in 2010

8 days have a high temperature of at least 40 degrees
2 days have a high temperature of at least 50 degrees
4 days have a subzero temperature

9 days have at least 0.1″ snowfall
4 days have at least 1.0″ snowfall

Astronomical Data for March

Sunrise on the 1st: 6:48 AM CST
Sunset on the 31st: 5:55 PM CST

Sunrise on the 31st: 6:49 AM CDT
Sunset on the 31st: 7:36 PM CDT

Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2 AM.
Vernal Equinox is on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 4:37 AM in Duluth.

Past March Snowfall Totals at Duluth, Minnesota

Period: 2010-2020

Normal snowfall in March is 13.2″

  • 2010: Trace
  • 2011: 10.6″
  • 2012: 11.9″
  • 2013: 25.8″
  • 2014: 20.9″
  • 2015: 8.1″
  • 2016: 17.3″
  • 2017: 5.3″
  • 2018: 5.1″
  • 2019: 6.7″
  • 2020: 10.1″

The last time Duluth had above average snowfall in March was in 2016, and prior to that 2014 and 2013, but in terms of a major winter storm in March, the last one that pops into my head was back in early March of 2007, so yeah it’s been a while!


Forecast for March 2021 per CFS model.

Temperatures: Odds are tilted for a warmer than average March for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Precipitation: Near to above normal precipitation is forecast for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin for March 2021.


Sunday morning weather update

7:30 AM, February 28, 2021

A snowy Sunday for eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin!

Low pressure was over southeast Minnesota/northeast Iowa as of 7 AM, and this low will continue to move northeast pretty quickly today. This system is intense, but also a short duration type of winter storm, but sometimes those can be more dangerous then the ones that last for 18-24 hours.

  • Swath of heaviest snowfall has shifted a little more to the north compared to what was forecast on Saturday, so much of northwest Wisconsin and also far eastern Minnesota will likely end up with a range of about 3 to 6 inches of snow today.
  • Still thinking up to 2 inches of snow in Duluth and Superior today, similar to what I was thinking on Saturday.
  • Snow will end from west to east today, first in eastern Minnesota between 10 AM and Noon, and then across northwest Wisconsin between Noon and 3 PM. Note: Snow should come to an end in Duluth and Superior around 10-11 AM this morning.
  • Periods of heavy snowfall rates of around an inch or two per hour are possible through early this afternoon from the Pine City and Hinckley areas, east-northeast into northwestern Wisconsin.

Moderate to heavy snow across much of northwest Wisconsin and far eastern Minnesota this morning into early this afternoon (white outlined area on map) while light to at times moderate snowfall continues farther north including in the Twin Ports this morning. The snow will diminish from west to east from late this morning into this afternoon.

Note: Radar loop ends at 7:21 AM Sunday, February 28, 2021.


Goes-16 water vapor loop from Sunday morning certainly showing some convective type elements to the snowfall from central Minnesota into northern Wisconsin, so it’s no surprise we’re seeing impressive snowfall rates of 1 to as much as 2 inches per hour in the most intense bands of snow this morning.


A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for parts of the Northland today, including all of northwest Wisconsin and a small part of eastern Minnesota. The advisory includes the cities of Hinckley, Pine City, Superior, Solon Springs, Grantsburg, Siren, Washburn, Bayfield, Minong, Shell Lake, Spooner, Ashland, Butternut, Hayward, Winter, Hurley and Gile.

Road Conditions

-Travel Not Advised (purple areas on map) over a part of central Minnesota due to heavy snow and some blowing snow creating near zero visibility this Sunday morning.

-Roads are completely covered in the pink areas on map, and partially covered in blue areas extending from southwest to east-central Minnesota.


Link to Wisconsin road conditions –


Accumulating snow likely in eastern MN and northwest WI late tonight-early Sunday afternoon; another round of snow possible early Monday morning; 40s return Tuesday afternoon with even warmer temps possible next weekend

We’re in for some quick changes in our weather over the next few days.

  • Clouds will be on the increase this evening, and this will be followed by a round of snow for late tonight through early Sunday afternoon from eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin, while little if any snow falls across northern Minnesota.
  • Will see decreasing clouds across the area Sunday afternoon, but temperatures will be on the cool side with highs ranging from the upper teens in northern Minnesota to the lower 30s in northwest Wisconsin.
  • Another quick shot of snow is possible over parts of the Northland late Sunday night/early Monday morning, and behind this system will be some cold arctic air which will be over our area on Monday as highs will only be in the teens to around 20 degrees on the 1st day of March, while subzero temps are possible over parts of the Northland on Monday morning.
  • Milder air comes roaring back on Tuesday as strong WSW winds develop. Highs on Tuesday are forecast to range from the mid 30s to mid 40s in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

…Snow late tonight into early Sunday afternoon…

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from Midnight tonight to Noon Sunday for much of northwest Wisconsin, including the cities of Port Wing, Bayfield, Washburn, Ashland, Butternut, Hurley, Gile, Minong, Spooner, Shell Lake, Hayward and Winter. Plan on slippery road conditions in the advisory area due to accumulating snow on Sunday. A period of heavier snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are possible over a small portion of northwest Wisconsin on Sunday, from around 7 AM to Noon.

Winter Weather Advisory (purple)

Gale watches and gale warnings (pink colors) in effect Sunday for central/eastern portions of Lake Superior

Here’s my updated snowfall forecast valid thru 1 PM Sunday.

  • 4-6″ for eastern portions of northwest Wisconsin, including Spooner, Shell Lake, Hayward, Winter, Ashland, Hurley and Gile.
  • 2-4″ for Pine City, Siren, Minong, Solon Springs, Washburn and Bayfield.
  • 1-2″ for McGrath, Hinckley and Moose Lake.
  • Trace to 1″ for Brainerd, Aitkin and along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Note: I’m going with a range from a trace to 2″ of snow for Duluth and Superior.

Quick hitting systems – One late tonight through early Sunday afternoon, and the other will approach from the NW (clipper type system) spreading a 1-3 hour period of fluffy snow for late Sunday night/early Monday morning.

Note: Snow is possible in Duluth and Superior Sunday morning (~3 AM to 10 AM) and some more snow is possible early Monday morning (~1 AM to 4 AM)

Here’s a look at the simulated radar forecast from 6 PM this evening to 6 AM Monday per 18z NAM 3km model.


The system for late tonight and Sunday is pretty small, but it has a lot of energy with it as an upper low heads ENE out of Wyoming, while a surface low over western Kansas tracks NE into central Wisconsin by Sunday afternoon.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Saturday, February 27, 2021.


We’re already seeing an area of pretty strong lift over parts of Nebraska and western Iowa late this afternoon (black outlined area on map) and this area of enhanced vertical lift will head NE through midday Sunday. Heavier precipitation rates will occur under the bands of strongest lift late tonight into Sunday, and some of this will impact parts of northwest Wisconsin, and for areas farther south/southeast of our local area.

There’s a chance we could see a few isolated thunderstorms develop late tonight into Sunday morning (black outlined area on map) from southern Minnesota into central Wisconsin as there will be some weak elevated instability and steep mid level lapse rates over those areas combined with very strong lift.

18z NAM-Nest model CAPE forecast from Midnight tonight to Noon Sunday.



A clash of seasons today, with arctic air over Canada spilling into the far northern US while spring warmth covered the Plains. Temps this afternoon ranged from the 70s in Kansas to around 0 in far northern North Dakota, to subzero temps in central Canada.

Looks like much of far northern Minnesota will see more subzero temperatures come Monday morning, with lows in the -5 to -15 degree range, but unlike the previous arctic blast which stuck around for 2 weeks, this one will move out just as quick as it moves in.



…A big warm up coming ~March 5 thru March 10…

Computer models continue to be in very good agreement regarding the upper level pattern for late next week. It’s one that features a very strong ridge across the Northern Plains and upper Midwest with upper lows across the southeast US and just off the west coast. This pattern should lead to widespread daytime highs in the 50s and 60s in the Dakotas into western/southern Minnesota on a few days between March 5th and March 10th, and even here in the Northland we should see highs in the 40s and 50s on a few days during the March 6th-10th time frame the way it looks now.



Accumulating snow possible in parts of the Northland Saturday night-Sunday morning, and again Sunday night

Don’t you just love the transition seasons around here? In this case the slow transition out of winter and into spring. After a few mild early spring like days in the Northland this week, and even some snow melt, will be seeing a minor set back this weekend as two rounds of snow look to affect some parts of the area, along with a quick shot of colder temperatures for Sunday and Monday.

  • The system for Saturday night and Sunday morning continues to trend a bit stronger per model guidance, but where exactly the main band of snow sets up remains a bit fuzzy this afternoon, although model consensus would have that band of snow (perhaps 3-5″ amounts) going from south-central Minnesota into north-central Wisconsin, with most of the Northland on the fringe of this system, with snow amounts in the trace to 3″ range the way it looks now. However, should this system trend a little more to the north, that would put more of our area into the higher snow amounts. Stay tuned.
  • Sunday night’s system will move through quickly (Alberta Clipper type system) so we’re really not looking at a lot of snow with it, maybe around an inch of total accumulation.
  • Temps on Saturday will remain mild especially across southern parts of the Northland where highs will get into the 30s and 40s once again, but cooler temps will be found across northern Minnesota, with highs in the 20s.
  • Colder air will cover the entire Northland Sunday and Monday with highs Sunday in the low 20s to around 30, with highs Monday mainly in the 20s. Note: Subzero temperatures are possible in parts of the Northland for Sunday night/Monday morning.

Here’s my preliminary snowfall forecast for Saturday night and Sunday (ending Noon Sunday)

  • Highest amounts across far eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin, with 2 to 5 inch totals possible along and east of a line from Pine City to Ashland.
  • An inch or two of snow from Hinckley northeast to Solon Springs, Port Wing, Washburn and Bayfield.
  • A trace to one inch of snow from the Brainerd Lakes to the Twin Ports and along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Note: Snowfall amounts and gradients may shift around a bit over the next 24 hours, stay tuned for later updates.

Low pressure moving across the Rockies today will move out into the Plains on Saturday, and is forecast to lift pretty quickly to the northeast Saturday night and Sunday (forecast storm track in red on the animation below)

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Friday, February 26, 2021.


The good news about this next shot of arctic air is that the coldest part of it will pass by to our north/east, with only a quick shot of chillier temps expected in the Northland for Sunday and Monday.

Shown below is the 850mb temperature forecast for Saturday afternoon per 18z NAM model.

A lot of wind in parts of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin today thanks in part to a strong southwesterly low level jet of 45-55 knots which was aimed right over our area. We had good mixing over the area today which caused these strong winds aloft (~5000 feet) to mix down to the surface. The high winds did lead to a few power outages in parts of the Northland today.

Peak wind gusts from Friday, February 26, 2021


  • Ashland, WI: 48 mph
  • Brainerd, MN: 47 mph
  • Duluth Airport: 47 mph
  • Hayward, WI: 46 mph
  • Minong, WI: 43 mph
  • Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: 41 mph
  • Ely, MN: 39 mph
  • Aitkin, MN: 39 mph
  • Duluth Sky Harbor Airport: 39 mph
  • International Falls, MN: 39 mph
  • Siren, WI: 39 mph
  • Superior Airport: 38 mph
  • Cloquet, MN: 37 mph
  • Hinckley, MN: 36 mph
  • Hill City, MN: 36 mph
  • Solon Springs, WI: 35 mph
  • Saginaw, MN: 35 mph
  • Washburn, WI: 35 mph

Average monthly temperatures for February 2021 continue to run well below average across the Plains thanks to the arctic blast earlier this month.

Only a few pockets of above average temps this month (highlighted in red on the map below)


Note: Average monthly temps for February 2021 are still running -9 to -12 degrees colder than normal in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, but with the recent warmer weather lately, February 2021 might not even remain in the top 10 coldest Februaries on record in our area.

Average Temps/Departure from normal for February 2021, and where February 2021 ranks as of the 25th.

  • International Falls, MN: 0.1 F; -9.7 degrees below normal (8th coldest February on record)
  • Hibbing, MN: 0.8 F; -10.6 degrees below normal (3rd coldest February on record)
  • Brainerd, MN: 3.5 F; -12.5 degrees below normal (7th coldest February on record)
  • Duluth, MN: 4.6 F; -9.9 degrees below normal (9th coldest February on record)
  • Ashland, WI: 7.9 F; -9.4 degrees below normal (9th coldest February on record)

Computer models remain in good agreement on showing a pattern favorable for a rather significant warm up across the Northern Plains and upper Midwest late next week into the second week of March, or from around the 4th thru 10th (give or take a day)


The forecast below shows the probability for high temps to exceed 50 degrees from March 2 thru March 11 per 12z European ensemble model.

Note: Greatest chances for high temps >50 degrees currently extend from western to southern Minnesota and points west from there (black line on map) and also represented by the yellow, orange and red colors.