Very windy with areas of blowing snow as arctic air returns tonight; Temps near 50 in southern Minnesota Sunday afternoon

4:56 PM Friday, February 18, 2022

This post will focus on the clipper impacting our area through this evening along with the next round of arctic air to impact our area. I’ll have a separate post on the snow chances for early next week.

Peak Wind Gusts from Friday, February 18, 2022 (thru 4 PM)

Brainerd: 54 mph
Duluth Airport: 52 mph
Ashland: 46 mph
Hibbing: 43 mph
International Falls: 40 mph

A lot of quick changes in the weather across the Northland today thanks to a strong area of low pressure which passed just north of our area today.

-We saw a burst of snow early this Friday morning associated with the warm advection portion of this system.

-A nice but brief warmup sent temperatures into the mid-teens to mid 20s in parts of the Northland late this morning through about mid-afternoon today, but arctic air quickly returned to the Northland with rapidly falling temperatures from mid to late afternoon. Note: Temperature at the Duluth Airport dropped from 18 degrees at 1:55 PM today to 8 degrees at 2:55 PM today as the arctic air moved in.

-We’ve also seen the development of scattered snow showers and snow squalls in parts of the Northland this afternoon with favorable parameters in place for the development of brief but intense snow squalls.

-Wind has been a big issue this afternoon on the leading edge of the arctic air. Wind gusts >45 mph have been reported in some parts of the Northland this afternoon, and this has led to areas of blowing snow.

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Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for all of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin until 9 PM this evening. Impacts include slippery road conditions. Strong winds with areas of blowing snow and reduced visibility. Scattered snow showers with additional snowfall accumulations of up to an inch.

Numerous roads in northwest Minnesota are closed due to ongoing blizzard conditions as of late this afternoon.

Windy weather will continue in the Northland for much of tonight with the highest wind gusts of 35-50 mph occurring through this evening. Winds will finally diminish Saturday morning (around daybreak)

HRRR model wind gust forecast thru 8 AM Saturday.

Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for all of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from later this evening until 9 AM Saturday. Wind chills as low as 30 below to 35 below zero.

Frigid in the Northland tonight with lows ranging from around 5 below to 20 below zero.

Note: 39 nights so far this winter with a subzero temperature in Duluth. Average number of subzero nights in a winter season (Dec-Feb) is 32. Last winter had 26 subzero nights in Duluth. Personally, I think an epic winter in terms of cold weather is 40 or more subzero nights in Duluth, and will hit that magic number of 40 after tonight, and we still have a little over a week to go in meteorological winter 2021-22.

Very cold Saturday with highs in the low to mid-teens.

It is looking much warmer on Sunday with highs at or above freezing, possibly as warm as 40 degrees in east-central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, with even warmer temperatures expected farther south with highs in the 50s on Sunday in far southern Minnesota. Note: This warmup will be brief, however as more arctic air returns starting Sunday night.

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Snowfall Reports from Friday, February 18, 2022

International Falls, MN: 3.5″
2 ENE Cherry, MN: 2.5″
3 E Payne, MN: 2.0″
2 E Celina, MN: 2.0″
3 WNW Remer, MN: 1.5″
Two Harbors, MN: 1.3″
1 SSE Cornucopia, WI: 1.2″
Duluth Airport: 0.7″

You could actually see where a blizzard was occurring this afternoon on Goes-16 visible satellite imagery, and also where we’ve seen convective type snow showers/squalls.

Here’s a loop of the still frame above.

And finally, here’s a look at today’s clipper system on water vapor imagery — Certainly one of the stronger clippers we’ve seen this winter, and we’ve had plenty of clippers this winter.

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As I mentioned earlier in this post, conditions became favorable for snow squall development in parts of the upper Midwest this afternoon as indicated by the blue and purple colors on the image below.

A Snow Squall Warning was issued (blue outlined area) for Duluth and nearby areas around 1:20 PM today due to an intense snow squall which was moving east at 50 mph!

Basically, all a snow squall is, is a short duration burst of heavy snow accompanied by strong wind gusts. Think of a summertime thunderstorm caused by a cold front, or in other words a squall line which produces gusty winds, downpours and lightning for about 10-20 minutes, that’s basically what a snow squall is, minus the thunder and lightning, and rain.

Snow squall warnings have been used since 2018 by the National Weather Service, but prior to today it’s been 679 days since the last snow squall warning was issued in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, so they are kind of rare.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

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