Very cold tonight; Windy with some snow (possible snow squalls) Friday, winter weather advisory in effect; More snow possible early next week

5:30 PM Thursday, February 17, 2022

Timing of the snow

-Snow spreads from west to east across the Northland between 2 and 6 AM Friday morning. Snow starts earliest in western parts of the area, and likely not until after 5 or 6 AM in the Arrowhead, North Shore and northwest Wisconsin.

-Snow chances diminish from northwest to southeast from mid to late afternoon on Friday.

-There is a possibility for scattered snow squall development in parts of the Northland especially from mid to late morning Friday into mid-afternoon. If snow squalls develop, they may produce brief but intense snowfall rates, strong wind gusts, and brief whiteout conditions.

For Duluth — Snow begins around 5 AM Friday with occasional snow showers and possible snow squalls through about 2-3 PM Friday. Total snowfall accumulations of 1-2″. Gusty winds are also likely on Friday which may cause areas of blowing snow.

Simulated radar forecast valid Midnight tonight to 6 PM Friday.

Here’s my snowfall forecast thru 6 PM Friday.

Note: Higher totals >3″ possible in the pink outlined area on map.

Snow Squalls possible Friday

One ingredient that may aid in snow squall development during the day Friday is a potent vort max which dives SE out of southern Manitoba.

Steepening low level lapse rates are also forecast to develop over much of the Northland from late Friday morning into Friday afternoon, these steep low level lapse rates may do two things — One is for stronger winds aloft to mix down to the surface, and two would be to aid in the development of snow squalls.

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A Winter Weather Advisory covers all of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from 9 AM Friday to 9 PM Friday. Impacts include slippery road conditions, areas of blowing snow with reduced visibilities, brief whiteout conditions are also possible.

A Blizzard Warning covers eastern North Dakota into northwest and west-central Minnesota for Friday (6 AM to 6 PM)

Blizzard conditions are expected with winds gusting as high as 60 to 70 mph with widespread blowing snow.

Windy weather is likely on Friday.

Will start the day with southerly winds with gusts to 15 to 25 mph, and then will see the wind shift to the northwest from mid-morning Friday into early Friday afternoon with wind gusts of 30 to 45 mph possible through early Friday evening in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Winds subside later Friday night.

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More subzero temps on the way tonight (shocking I know)

Lows tonight will range from around 10 below to 25 below zero in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, but the coldest temperatures should occur prior to Midnight tonight since clouds will be on the increase later tonight which should help stop the temperature from falling any further.

Temperatures in the Northland do warm up some on Friday but will still be below normal for this time of year, with highs ranging from the teens across northern Minnesota to the 20s in east-central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Even warmer high temps are likely farther south on Friday as temperatures climb into the 40s in parts of southern Minnesota.

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A clear day like we had today helped to see the extent of ice coverage on Lake Superior per visible satellite imagery.

Clouds move on the loop below, while areas of ice show very little movement.

The yellow line represents lake effect clouds as there remains plenty of open water/heat source for lake clouds to form, and with a northwest wind today those clouds were moving to the S-SE.

Areas of ice can be seen west of that yellow line on the image below, but the coverage of ice on Lake Superior has actually decreased once again, from ~45% a few days ago, down to ~35% as of February 16. Normal ice concentration for Lake Superior in mid-February is ~45%.

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Snowy pattern possible early next week

The 500mb pattern remains the same per model guidance for next week and its one that features a trough over the western U.S. and a ridge across the southern/eastern U.S.

There is a chance that we see a few low-pressure disturbances break off that western trough while moving ENE across the Plains, upper Midwest and Great Lakes ~February 21-24. How far north those systems track will determine how far north the snow gets next week.

There has been a slight increase in the probabilities for getting more than 6 inches of snow next week, and also a slight shift north in those higher probabilities compared to 24 hours, but as I pointed out yesterday, this really isn’t too surprising, and I would anticipate more changes in the computer models in the days ahead.

As it stands now, southern portions of the Northland including east-central Minnesota, northwest Wisconsin and the Twin Ports have a higher chance of getting 6″ or more of snow compared to areas farther north for next week per Euro ensemble model.

One other thing will need to keep an eye on is the wind direction as the computer models continue to show winds out of the east-northeast on Monday and possibly into Tuesday as well, and with a very cold air mass moving over Lake Superior this may set the stage for some lake enhanced/lake effect snowfall near Lake Superior including for the North Shore, South Shore and Twin Ports early next week.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

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