Several chances for snow through next week; Snowfall Reports from today (December 21, 2021)

Today’s snow event may have been the beginning of what may be an active (potentially very active) stretch of weather for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin through next week.

In the short term we have chances for a little snow Thursday, and perhaps a light wintry mix of precipitation on Christmas Eve followed by a potential for a more significant snow event late this weekend/early next week, and possibly even a bit of snow on Christmas Day, especially across southern portions of the Northland.

The system on Thursday appears to be taking a more northern route compared to today’s system with northern Minnesota having the potential for getting 1-2 inches of snow, with accumulations <1″ possible farther south including for Duluth and for much of northwest Wisconsin the way it looks now.

European computer model simulated radar forecast valid from Midnight to 6 PM Thursday.
Snow in blue colors.

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The entire Northland saw some snow today, but there were two areas that picked up a significant amount of snow, one was in parts of eastern Minnesota into parts of northwest Wisconsin (outlined in black on map) with several 5-6″+ snow totals reported today. The other area was in the Minnesota Arrowhead from Grand Marais and Hovland northeast to Grand Portage, those areas saw anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow today with a good amount of lake enhancement due to a cold air mass and southerly winds over Lake Superior.

This was the radar image from earlier this morning which showed a band of more intense snowfall rates as highlighted by the green colors on the map.

Note: Forecast model snow ratios were off big time (again) in Duluth today. Instead of snowfall ratios close to 20:1 per model guidance, we only had a ratio of 10:1 today. 0.20″ precip total fluffed up to just 2.0″ of snow, but if the ratio would’ve been around 20:1 today, then we would’ve picked up 4.0″ of snow today given the precip total of 0.20″.

Radar estimated snowfall for December 21, 2021 — Those green and yellow colors represent snow totals of 3-6″+ today.

Snowfall Reports from December 21, 2021

7 WSW Hovland, MN: 12.0″
10 NE Grand Marais, MN: 10.0″
Grand Portage, MN: 11.0″
4 SW Grand Portage, MN: 9.0″
Kerrick, MN: 7.8″
2 E Grand Marais, MN: 6.0″
6 W Wascott, WI: 6.0″
Hayward, WI: 5.8″
4 SE Danbury, WI: 5.5″
Moose Lake, MN: 5.5″
4 NNW New Post, WI: 5.3″
7 ESE McGrath, MN: 5.3″
Webb Lake, WI: 5.0″
Butternut, WI: 5.0″
2 ENE Baxter, MN: 5.0″
Drummond, WI: 5.0″
Duquette, MN: 4.8″
3 S Nisswa, MN: 4.8″
3 SSE Kettle River, MN: 4.7″
1 SSW Pine City, MN: 4.4″
Bennett, WI: 4.3″
Cuyuna, MN: 4.0″
4 W Lutsen, MN: 4.0″
Silver Bay, MN: 4.0″
1 WSW Two Harbors, MN: 4.0″
Mason, WI: 3.6″
Cloquet, MN: 3.5″
Hibbing, MN: 3.0″
Rice Lake, MN: 3.0″
4 WNW Pine Center, MN: 3.0″
Cozy Corner, WI: 3.0″
Bayfield, WI: 3.0″
Sarona, WI: 3.0″
2 SSE Proctor, MN: 3.0″
Hoyt Lakes, MN: 2.8″
1 SSE Cornucopia, WI: 2.8″
Chisholm, MN: 2.8″
Cass Lake, MN: 2.5″
2 SE Twig, MN: 2.5″
2 SSW Superior, WI: 2.5″
Littlefork, MN: 2.5″
Gile, WI: 2.5″
2 NNE Duluth, MN: 2.3″
3 E Payne, MN: 2.3″
Duluth, MN (Airport): 2.0″
6 N Cook, MN: 2.0″
Bigfork, MN: 2.0″
Palisade, MN: 2.0″
2 W Iron Junction, MN: 1.8″
International Falls, MN: 1.1″

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ACTIVE WEATHER PATTERN POSSIBLE

The pattern from this weekend into next week has a chance to be pretty unique.

A big-time temperature contrast may setup from the Rockies to the upper Midwest next week with temperatures as cold as 10 below to 40 below zero from the Northern Rockies east to the Dakotas, while temps in the 30s and 40s above zero are found farther to the south and east. This is one ingredient that may lead to an active weather pattern next week.

Temperature forecast valid from December 26 to December 31, 2021.

The other ingredient is the forecast 500mb pattern which features strong ridging over northeast Canada and also from the southern to eastern U.S., while a deep trough covers the western U.S.

Several low-pressure systems look to eject ENE out of that trough over the western U.S. next week, and if those systems take a favorable track, then we could be dealing with several rounds of snow or possibly a mixture of precipitation types in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from this weekend into next week.

Here’s the 500mb forecast valid from December 24, 2021, to January 1, 2022.

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COLD TONIGHT

Tonight, is looking pretty cold after today’s snowfall with lows ranging from around -10 to 5 above zero in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

On average Duluth has 8 days in December with a subzero low temperature but so far this December we’ve only had 2 days with a subzero low (last one occurring on the 7th with a low of -7 F).

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TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR CHRISTMAS

Christmas Eve is looking mild with highs at or above the freezing mark in all of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin with 40s in the forecast in southern Minnesota and central and southern Wisconsin.

Colder temperatures are expected on Christmas Day with highs in the teens and 20s in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Tim

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