Long Range Forecast for March 2022 and a look back at past snowfall totals at Duluth, MN for March

5:53 PM Monday, February 28, 2022

-Our first 50-degree temperature of the year at Duluth typically occurs in March.

-Daylight Saving Time begins March 13 (spring ahead an hour)

-A 7 PM or later sunset at Duluth begin March 13.

-First official day of spring is on Sunday, March 20.

-Meteorological spring consisting of the three months of March, April and May begins on Tuesday, March 1.

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A look back to last March, and the record warm March of 2012

-March 2021 had 9 days with a high of 50 or warmer and 1 day with a high of 60 or warmer at Duluth, Minnesota.

March 2021 had a snow depth of 12″ on the 1st, but that dropped to a trace on March 21st.

-Remember March 2012? What a warm month that was in Duluth, in fact it was the warmest March on record at Duluth. 14 days saw a high of at least 50 with 6 days at or above 60, and 4 days at or above 70. Warmest temperature was 75 on March 17. Highly unlikely will see a repeat of that this March, and I think it’s unlikely will see a repeat of March 2021 given how the pattern appears to be setting up in March 2022.

-One interesting thing about March 2012 is that we picked up nearly a foot of snow in Duluth between March 2 and March 5, but my midmonth we were torching big time!

Climate Normals and Records at Duluth, Minnesota for the month of March

Normal high on the 1st: 30
Normal high on the 31st: 42

Normal low on the 1st: 12
Normal low on the 31st: 24

Average monthly temperature: 27.0 degrees
Warmest March on record: 39.2 degrees set in 2012
Coldest March on record: 13.5 degrees set in 1923

Normal Precipitation: 1.46″
Wettest March on record: 5.12″ set in 1965
Driest March on record: 0.22″ set in 1959

Normal Snowfall: 12.8″
Snowiest March on record: 48.2″ set in 1917
Least snowy March on record: Trace set in 2010

On average our first 50-degree temperature of the year occurs on March 20
Last year’s first 50 occurred on March 8

Average number of days with a high of 50 or warmer: 4
Average number of days with snowfall of 0.1″ or more: 8
Average number of days with snowfall of 1.0″ or more: 4
Average number of subzero nights: 3

Astronomical Data for March 2022

Sunrise on the 1st: 6:48 AM CST
Sunset on the 31st: 6:49 AM CDT

Sunset on the 1st: 5:55 PM CST
Sunset on the 31st: 7:36 PM CDT
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March has that reputation of being a snowy month in Duluth, but that hasn’t really been the case for about the last 5 years or so.

Here’s a look at past snowfall totals at Duluth, Minnesota for the month of March (2010-2021)
Normal snowfall in March is 12.8 inches

2010: Trace (least snowy March on record)
2011: 7.4″
2012: 11.9″
2013: 25.8″ (11th snowiest March on record)
2014: 20.9″
2015: 8.1″
2016: 17.3″
2017: 5.3″
2018: 5.1″
2019: 6.7″
2020: 10.1″
2021: 8.7″

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Nearly 65% of Lake Superior was covered by ice a few days ago, but that number has dropped to around 45% as of February 27.

The pattern may be quite active in March 2022.

Temperature outlook for the Northland for March 2022: Near normal temperatures.

Precipitation outlook for the Northland for March 2022: Above average precipitation.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Meteorological spring begins on Tuesday (March 1) A little snow possible Wednesday; A bigger system with snow and ice possible this weekend

4:43 PM Monday, February 28, 2022

Well, we made it through another winter, and I’d rank the winter of 2021-22 right up there with the winter of 2013-14 and a few epic winters we had back in the 90s. Of course, we’re not done with the snow and cold just yet, I mean this is the Northland, and we can easily get snow well into April and even into May, but winter can’t hang on forever. Days continue to get longer, and the sun angle is getting stronger! We’re almost there…

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A storm system may impact the upper Midwest including for us in the Northland this weekend, but there are differences on the storm track, and on how much precipitation we see in our area this weekend.

Basically, seeing two camps when it comes to the storm track this weekend.

One camp is farther northwest with the storm track, the other camp is farther southeast.

A farther northwest track to the low would likely bring in enough warm air aloft leading to a higher risk for getting some freezing rain/sleet (ice accumulations) in parts of the Northland this weekend.

Here’s a look at the EPS model storm track for this weekend.

Mean low pressure center (red L) while individual member centers show up as numbers on the animation below.

Forecast from 6 AM Saturday, March 5, 2022, to 6 AM Sunday, March 6, 2022.

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Probabilities for getting more than 3 inches of snow are rather high in the Northland this weekend, with the greatest chances extending from east-central to northeast Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.

Another component to this weekend’s system is the potential for freezing rain and sleet with a chance for significant ice accumulations of 0.10-0.25″+ extending from the southern half of Minnesota into parts of central and southern Wisconsin. Lesser amounts of ice are currently expected in the Northland this weekend, but there is still a possibility for some freezing rain and or sleet, especially over southern portions of the Northland. And there is also a possibility that will see the area of greatest ice accumulations shift a little farther north in later forecasts.

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A big-time temperature contrast in place today.

3 PM temperatures ranged from 69 at Omaha, Nebraska to 26 at Duluth, Minnesota.

Temperatures were running 20 to over 30 degrees above average in parts of South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa this afternoon.

Highs Tuesday look pretty similar to what we saw on Monday with readings in the mid 20s to low 30s across the Northland, while it’ll be much warmer farther south, with 50s to near 60-degree temps in far southwest Minnesota, with temperatures well into the 60s in southern parts of South Dakota.

3 clipper systems through Wednesday.

-The first lingers into this evening with a little snow in far northern Minnesota and over the Arrowhead (north of Duluth)

-A second clipper scoots SE bringing a brief period of snow to central Minnesota Tuesday morning, but this system with its precipitation looks like it will pass south of the Northland.

-A third clipper may bring some snow farther north into much of the Northland Wednesday morning.

Radar forecast ending 12 PM Wednesday (snow in blue colors)

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Clipper parade returns the next few days; A bigger system with snow/freezing rain/sleet possible ~March 4-6

5:15 PM Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Northland will be stuck in a NW flow aloft for the next few days and embedded in this NW flow will be several clipper-like systems which will move SE across the upper Midwest. None of these systems look very strong through midweek with only brief periods of snow expected in some parts of the Northland with mostly minor accumulations/little to no impacts.

500mb forecast valid Monday, February 28, 2022, through Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

Clipper arrives early Monday morning spreading some light snow SE across northern Minnesota, to possibly as far south as the Twin Ports and into parts of northwest Wisconsin, but snow chances are higher north of those aforementioned areas on Monday.

Radar forecast valid Midnight tonight to 6 PM Monday (snow in blue colors)

About an inch or two of snow is possible across far northern Minnesota and Arrowhead on Monday with less than an inch of snow farther south including in Duluth.

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One thing will be seeing over the next few days will be a big temperature contrast, with spring like 50s from southwest Minnesota and southern South Dakota on south, while the Northland will remain much cooler with highs in the mid 20s to low/mid 30s on Monday, and similar high temperatures are likely for Tuesday and Wednesday too.

Average Temperature rankings for February 2022 (thru the 26th)

Hibbing: Coldest February on record
International Falls: 3rd coldest February on record
Duluth: 9th coldest February on record
Ashland: 10th coldest February on record

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It still looks like will see a more active weather pattern develop later this week and beyond as we see lower 500mb heights/troughs/low pressure systems move out of the western U.S represented by the blue colors on the animation below.

Storm tracks and temperatures will determine what type/s of precipitation we see in the Northland, and on the amount of precipitation whether its light amounts/minor events or more significant amounts leading to greater impacts in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

500mb forecast valid March 4-14, 2022

Computer models have been hinting at a possible storm system impacting the Northland sometime between March 4-6, but differences with the storm track/amount of precipitation and precipitation types are evident in the model data today, and that will probably be the case for a few more days.

-Over the last few days, the computer models have been showing the possibility for a significant ice storm in parts of the Northland including in Duluth for Friday night-Saturday but where that zone of greatest ice accumulations sets up has been shifting a little north and south in the models with each run, and the same can also be said on where the greatest snow accumulations setup, with each model run shifting it a little north and south.

-The trend seen in the 12z model run today is for most of the freezing rain to setup from east-central Minnesota into northern Wisconsin with the greatest ice accumulations setting up south of Duluth for Friday night-Saturday.

The issue with this potential late week storm is that we may see a strong push of warm air aloft move north ahead of a low-pressure system approaching from the Rockies with 850mb temperatures of 0C or warmer as far north as the Twin Ports. Surface temperatures, however, look to remain below the freezing mark, so this does lead to the potential for freezing rain and or sleet in parts of the Northland Friday night into Saturday.

Here’s a look at where an area of low pressure is forecast to be Saturday evening (March 5) per EPS model.

The mean is over far southeast Iowa (red L on map) with member centers as far north as the Twin Cities, as far west as north-central Kansas and as far east as north-central Illinois come Saturday evening. So, there is uncertainty on the storm track for late this week/next weekend.

The farther south/southeast the low tracks the less precipitation will see in the Northland.

Probabilities for getting more than 3 inches of snow are rather high in much of the Northland thru March 6, with those chances not really increasing until after March 4.

The potential for getting 6 inches or more of snow thru March 6 have decreased in the Northland and that’s likely due to the potential for freezing rain and sleet which would cut into the snowfall totals.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Warming up close to the freezing mark Saturday afternoon; Active pattern returns next week

6:47 PM Friday, February 25, 2022

Second morning in a row with a record low temperature at International Falls, Minnesota.

New record low for 2/25: -40 F
Old record low for 2/25: -38 F set in 1909

Note: This morning’s low of -40 at International Falls marked the 4th time this winter with a low temperature of -40 or colder, and all 4 of those have occurred this month. The record for greatest number of nights with a low of -40 or colder during a winter at International Falls is 6 and that record was set in 1966.

International Falls has also set a record for greatest number of nights with a low of -40 or colder for the month of February. February 2022 has had 4 nights at or colder than -40. Previous record was 3 nights set in 1966.

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Another night of subzero temperatures tonight although not nearly as cold as it has been the last few nights. Lows tonight will range from around zero to 10 below zero in the Northland.

Temperatures will warm well into the 20s with even some lower 30s in the Northland on Saturday which is right around what our normal high is here in late February.

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The pattern looks to become more active once again as we head into next week.

Looks like we may see a few clipper systems affect parts of the upper Midwest early to mid-next week, and this may be followed by a stronger system coming out of the Rockies sometime in the March 4-7 time frame, with more systems possible beyond March 7.

500mb height anomaly forecast valid March 4-12, 2022

Note how the blue and even green colors take over on the loop below, that’s a sign of lower 500mb heights and possible troughs/low pressure systems. One thing that is lacking (for now) is signs of upper-level ridging, or higher heights/quiet-mild weather across the upper Midwest. So, it’s certainly possible we may be seeing a fairly cool and active first half of March in the Northland. Time will tell.

EPS model probability for 6 inches or more of snow thru March 12, 2022.

Continuing to see fairly high probabilities for seeing 6 inches or more of snow in much of the Northland thru March 12, with those odds really increasing after March 4.

And the GEFS model is in good agreement with the EPS model regarding snow amounts, with the purple colors on the images below representing 6 inches or more of snow thru March 13, 2022.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Frigid tonight (record lows possible again) Breezy and milder Saturday; Active weather pattern may return ~March 4 and beyond

6:11 PM Thursday, February 24, 2022

*February 2022 is on track to be the coldest February on record at Hibbing, Minnesota, while a top 10 coldest February on record is possible at International Falls, Duluth, and Ashland.

*Average monthly temperatures for February 2022 are running -7 to -10 degrees colder than average in the Northland (thru Feb. 23)

*43 subzero nights so far this winter (since Dec. 1) at Duluth, Minnesota. Average number of subzero nights at Duluth during an entire winter (Dec-Feb) is 32 subzero nights. Greatest number of subzero nights in a winter was in 1917 with 63 subzero nights, while the fewest number of subzero nights in a winter was in 1931 with 8 subzero nights.

It’s been a cold winter in the Northland — So far, the winter of 2021-22 ranks as 5th coldest on record by climate district in northeastern Minnesota.

Winter of 2021-22 has been cold in Wisconsin as well, although it currently doesn’t rank in the top 10 for coldest winters on record anywhere in the state.

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The weather pattern locally will remain pretty quiet into early next week, but there continue to be indications of a more active weather pattern returning to the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes beginning later next week and beyond.

500mb height anomaly forecast valid March 4-11, 2022.

Note how the blue and even some green colors take over on the loop below. Blue and green colors indicate lower 500mb heights, potential troughs and low-pressure systems, while orange and red colors on the loop below represent higher heights and upper-level ridging.

Already seeing decent odds for getting 6 inches or more of snow in much of the Northland thru March 11, although those odds don’t really start to increase until after March 4.

EPS model

GEFS model

Almost every single GEFS model member (20 of them) shows 6″ or more of snow falling in Duluth and really in much of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin thru March 12.

Purple colors on the images below represent snow totals of 6″ or more.

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RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES BROKEN IN THE NORTHLAND THIS MORNING

International Falls, MN

New record low for 2/24: -40 F
Old record low for 2/24: -31 F set in 1917

Hibbing, MN

New record low for 2/24: -37 F
Old record low for 2/24: -33 F set in 1965

Blue dots with a white circle around them on the animation below represent stations that broke or tied a daily or monthly low temperature record over the past 24 hours.

Low Temperature Reports from Thursday morning, February 24, 2022

Seagull Lake, MN: -45 F
Ash Lake, MN: -42 F
Effie, MN: -40 F
International Falls, MN: -40 F
Ely, MN: -38 F
Cook, MN: -38 F
Eveleth, MN: -37 F
Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: -37 F
Littlefork, MN: -37 F
Bigfork, MN: -36 F
Orr, MN: -36 F
Cotton, MN: -36 F
Cass Lake, MN: -35 F
Crane Lake, MN: -33 F
Walker, MN: -31 F
Deer River, MN: -30 F
Hill City, MN: -29 F
Aitkin, MN: -29 F
Grand Rapids, MN: -29 F
Longville, MN: -29 F
Brainerd, MN: -27 F
Grand Marais Airport: -26 F
Northome, MN: -25 F
South Range, WI: -25 F
Twig, MN: -25 F
Barnes, WI: -24 F
McGregor, MN: -24 F
Pine River, MN: -24 F
Minong, WI: -24 F
Moose Lake, MN: -24 F
Saginaw, MN: -23 F
Webb Lake, WI: -23 F
Isabella, MN: -23 F
Glidden, WI: -22 F
Moose Lake, MN: -22 F
Solon Springs, WI: -22 F
Siren, WI: -22 F
Hayward, WI: -21 F
Spooner, WI: -21 F
Superior Airport: -20 F
Breezy Point, MN: -19 F
Cloquet, MN: -18 F
Hinckley, MN: -17 F
Ashland, WI: -17 F
Esko, MN: -16 F
Two Harbors, MN: -15 F
Duluth Airport: -13 F
Duluth Sky Harbor Airport: -13 F

Another frigid night ahead in the Northland tonight with lows ranging from around 5 below to 35 below zero (coldest temps across northern Minnesota)

Note: International Falls and Hibbing have the greatest chance to make a run at their record low temps Friday morning.

Record Low Temperatures for February 25

International Falls: -38 F set in 1909
Hibbing: -35 F set in 1967
Brainerd: -28 F set in 1950
Ashland: -26 F set in 1950 and 1967
Duluth: -26 F set in 1990

Still chilly on Friday with highs in the teens to around 20 in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Saturday is looking milder though as will finally see high temps get back to where they should be in late February (mid 20s to low 30s), But it does look rather breezy on Saturday with southwest winds possibly gusting to 20-30 mph.

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There is a system that is passing mostly south of the Northland tonight, but the northern fringe of this system may bring a period of light snow to far southern portions of the Northland (south of the black line on map) this evening into early Friday morning.

Note: Total snowfall accumulations of an inch or less are possible tonight south of a line from Sandstone to Ashland.

Radar forecast thru 6 AM Friday (snow in blue colors)

Thanks for reading!

Tim