Residents along the South Shore of Lake Superior may be measuring their snow in feet by the time the snow ends which may not be until Friday morning!
In addition to the synoptic snow associated with an eastward moving surface low, we’re also looking at a prolonged period of very favorable conditions for lake effect snow (heavy at times) from Wednesday into Thursday night along the South Shore impacting portions of Ashland and Iron Counties. It’s possible that snow totals exceed 24″ especially around the Hurley and Gile areas by Friday morning.
- WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for the North Shore and South Shore of Lake Superior including the cities of Hovland, Grand Marais, Lutsen, Tofte, Silver Bay, Two Harbors, Superior, South Range, Solon Springs, Poplar, Brule, Port Wing, Bayfield, Ashland, Mellen, Butternut, Gile and Hurley.
- WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY covers the rest of the Northland including the cities of International Falls, Bigfork, Grand Rapids, Cass Lake, Walker, Pine River, Brainerd, Aitkin, Hill City, McGregor, Pine City, Hinckley, Moose Lake, Cloquet, Duluth, Hibbing, Virginia, Ely, Cook, Crane Lake, Danbury, Grantsburg, Siren, Minong, Shell Lake, Spooner, Hayward and Winter.
-Travel could be very difficult.
-Occasional whiteout and near blizzard conditions are possible near Lake Superior tonight and Wednesday, impacting Highway 13 and Highway 2 around the Bayfield Peninsula and Chequamegon Bay from early Wednesday morning until about mid-afternoon Wednesday, and Highway 61 along the North Shore tonight.
-Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.
We may see a period of near-blizzard conditions develop later this evening along the North Shore of Lake Superior, and then along portions of the South Shore of Lake Superior from early Wednesday morning through about mid-afternoon Wednesday, but whether or not we actually meet blizzard criteria which is 3 hours of winds of at least 35 mph and visibility of less than one-quarter mile due to blowing snow or a combination of blowing and falling snow is uncertain which is why no blizzard warnings have been issued near Lake Superior, but this may change especially along the South Shore.
Snow totals of 4-6″ are possible in Duluth by late Wednesday afternoon, but winds during a lot of this event will be out of the NNW in Duluth, and that type of wind direction usually isn’t very favorable to get a lot of snow in Duluth, so if we don’t get much snow tonight when winds will be out of the NE, then totals may end up less than 4″. On the other hand, snow ratios look quite high due to a cold air mass moving in, with computer models showing ratios ranging from a low end of 15:1 to as high as 23:1, in other words a fluffy snowfall, and if the flakes are large, then we may see the snow add up rather quickly despite what the wind direction is.
Here’s my snowfall forecast through 6 PM Thursday, but keep in mind that accumulating snow should be done well before 6 PM Thursday except along the South Shore, in those 11-14″ and 14-24″ areas.
TIMING THE SNOW
Snow will continue to develop across northern Minnesota this evening while it slowly spreads further south/east.
Snow continues Wednesday but is expected to taper off from NW-SE during the day, ending earliest in far northern Minnesota, and probably not until later in the afternoon in eastern Minnesota.
If you’re along the South Shore, snow is forecast to linger into late Thursday night.
For Duluth — Snow develops this evening, after 7 PM. Snow through the night and into the day Wednesday (heaviest snow rates tonight into mid-morning Wednesday) Snow tapers off late Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday evening. Gusty NE winds this evening 15-35 mph. Winds become N-NW late tonight into Wednesday 15 to 30 mph. Areas of blowing snow tonight and Wednesday. Total snowfall accumulations of 4 to 6 inches are possible in Duluth by late Wednesday afternoon.
NAM 3km model simulated radar forecast ending 1 AM Friday (snow in blue colors).
Moderate to Major Potential Winter Storm Impacts are expected along the South Shore of Lake Superior from late tonight through Thursday with mostly minor winter storm impacts expected for most of the rest of the Northland, although some moderate impacts are possible along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
An area of low pressure was analyzed over south-central Minnesota late this afternoon. This low will move ENE tonight as it reaches northeastern Wisconsin (north of Green Bay) by 6 AM Wednesday. This area of low pressure will deepen from 997mb early this evening to 992mb by 6 AM Wednesday.
A tight pressure gradient between the low to our south and high pressure over western Canada combined with such a big contrast in temperatures will lead to gusty winds in the Northland through Wednesday evening.
A nearly 20-degree difference in temperatures late this afternoon in southwest Minnesota with Slayton at 19F and Worthington at 38F (only a 30-mile difference between the two locations).
Strong winds aloft (brown arrows) of up to 140 knots blasting SE out of the Central Rockies with another corridor of strong winds aloft centered north of Lake Superior. Low pressure sits in between the two wind maximums this afternoon.
Goes-16 water vapor loop from Tuesday afternoon, January 4, 2022.
Blizzard Warning (red)
Winter Storm Warning (pink)
Winter Weather Advisory (purple)
Wind chill warnings or advisories (blue colors)
Note: Parts of north Texas and southwest Kansas are under Red Flag Warnings (fire weather warnings) into early this evening which will be followed by a wind chill advisory which begins later tonight, that’s pretty wild!