A look back at April snowfall totals at Duluth, MN, and a look ahead to April 2022

8:05 PM Thursday, March 31, 2022

Climate Normals and Records for April at Duluth, Minnesota

Normal high on the 1st: 43
Normal high on the 30th: 56

Normal low on the 1st: 24
Normal low on the 30th: 36

Average monthly temperature: 39.6 F

Warmest April on record: 46.1 F set in 1987
Coldest April on record: 28.7 F set in 1950

Number of 50-degree days: 13
Number of 60-degree days: 5
Number of 70-degree days: 1

Average date for first 60-degree high temperature is April 8. Last year’s first 60 was on March 29.

Average date for first 70-degree high temperature is April 23. Last year’s first 70 was on May 1.

Normal precipitation: 2.53″

Wettest April on record: 8.18″ set in 2001
Driest April on record: 0.24″ set in 1987

Normal snowfall: 9.1″

Snowiest April on record: 50.8″ set in 2013

Number of days with at least 0.1″ snowfall: 6
Number of days with at least 1.0″ snowfall: 2

Average date for last 0.1″ or greater snowfall: April 26
Average date for last 1.0″ or greater snowfall: April 11

Astronomical Data for April

Sunrise on the 1st: 6:48 AM CDT
Sunrise on the 30th: 5:54 AM CDT

Sunset on the 1st: 7:38 PM CDT
Sunset on the 30th: 8:17 PM CDT

A look back at past April snowfall totals at Duluth, Minnesota
(2010-2021)

Normal snowfall in April is 9.1″

2010: Trace
2011: 10.6″
2012: 0.6″
2013: 50.8″ (snowiest April on record)
2014: 26.3″ (3rd snowiest April on record)
2015: 1.2″
2016: 9.8″
2017: 1.9″
2018: 18.5″ (8th snowiest April on record)
2019: 6.3″
2020: 2.7″
2021: 2.3″

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A pretty active weather pattern is possible across the upper Midwest during April 2022 with several low-pressure systems possibly affecting the region throughout the month, whether or not these systems bring rain or snow or a little of both will depend on storm tracks and temperatures.

Temperature Anomaly Trend for April 2022

Orange and Red colors: Above average temperatures
Blue colors: Below average temperatures

Precipitation Anomaly Trend for April 2022

Green colors: Above average precipitation
Yellow and Brown colors: Below average precipitation

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Milder temps finally return to the Northland with highs in the 40s on Friday; A little rain/wet snow possible (southern parts of the Northland) Friday night; A messy storm possible mid to late next week

6:35 PM Thursday, March 31, 2022

The month of April will begin with 16″ of snow still on the ground at International Falls and 9″ of snow on the ground at Duluth (Airport location) Needless to say we need some warmth around here to help melt this snow so spring can get underway.

Temperatures will warm up over the next few days, with temperatures at least getting back to where they should be this time of year (highs in the 40s), but I’m still not seeing any strong signals in the computer models for a widespread major warm up (highs in the 50s or warmer) anytime soon.

  • March 2022 was definitely colder than last March at Duluth, with March 2021 going into the record books as the 8th warmest March on record at Duluth, but March 2022 will finish around -3.0 degrees colder than average at Duluth and will be the 3rd month in a row with a below average monthly temperature.
  • Monthly snowfall total at Duluth for March 2022 was 6.9″, this is -5.9″ below normal, and March 2022 was the 6th consecutive March with below normal snowfall at Duluth. March 2016 was the last time we had above normal snowfall at Duluth for the month of March.
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An active weather pattern will continue into this weekend, although no major storms will be impacting the Northland at least through early next week, and most of us should stay dry through early next week, but southern parts of the area or from east-central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin (south of the Twin Ports) may see a little rain or wet snow Friday night into early Saturday morning, and possibly again Sunday night into early Monday morning.

500mb forecast valid 7 PM Friday to 1 AM Monday shows two systems of interest as they track SE out of the Northern Plains, with the first system moving through Friday night/Saturday morning and the other moving across the area Sunday night.

Will stay dry in the Northland through the day Friday, after that we could see some rain or a mix of rain/wet snow possibly changing over to wet snow Friday night through early Saturday morning mainly from eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin with any snow accumulation staying under an inch the way it looks now.

Simulated radar forecast valid from 7 PM Friday to 7 AM Saturday

Snow (blue)
Rain (green)

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Storm Potential Next Week

Another messy storm could impact the Northland next week (~April 5-7)

An area of low pressure is forecast to move into southwest Canada on Sunday, this low is then forecast to track ESE into the Northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes from mid to late next week.

There is still considerable uncertainty on the track and intensity of this low-pressure system next week as well as what type of precipitation (rain, snow, ice) will see in the Northland if this system does hit our area, but all of this is typical with a system that is still about 5 days away. For now, it’s all about watching model trends to see how they handle this system for next week.

Here’s the 500mb forecast valid from April 3-8, 2022 — Blue and green colors on the animation below represents a trough with a potential for unsettled/stormy weather.

No consistency seen (yet) on where an area of low pressure may be next Wednesday morning per European model guidance.

The location of an area of low-pressure next Wednesday morning has ranged from it being over western Minnesota to southern Manitoba to southwest Minnesota to far eastern Iowa per latest run today.

And the same holds true for next Thursday morning, with wild swings from one model run to the next on the location of an area of low pressure per Euro model guidance, with the low being centered over northern lower Michigan to southern Ontario to the Iowa-Illinois border to far northeast Iowa per latest model run today.

Bottom line is you can probably throw out the 12-24″+ snowfall totals the Euro model is showing in Duluth and other parts of the Northland with this storm for later next week.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Blustery and cool with lingering snow showers and drizzle tonight; Some sun returns Thursday; Warmer Friday (highs in the 40s!)

5:35 PM Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Some nicer weather is on the way after today’s early spring winter storm which produced up to a quarter inch of ice accumulation in parts of the Northland, and around a half-foot of wet snow in other parts of the Northland, and we even saw a few thunderstorms for the first time this year in parts of northwest Wisconsin last night all associated with this dynamic spring storm!

Temperatures will remain below normal on Thursday with highs in the 30s to around 40 degrees on the final day of March 2022, but I think will see some partial sunshine develop as the day wears on, but it will be blustery on Thursday with a northerly wind gusting 15 to 30 mph.

Temperatures will finally warm up a bit Friday and Saturday with high temperatures climbing back to where they should be at this time of year (highs in the 40s).

We do have two more systems, however, which could bring a little rain or wet snow to some parts of the Northland. The first would be in the Friday evening-early Saturday time frame, the second in the late Sunday-early Monday time frame. Neither one of these systems look very impressive at the moment, but they could drop a light coating of slushy snow in some parts of the Northland assuming they affect our area.

Still no signs of a significant warmup (highs in the 50s or warmer) in our area at least for the next 10 days which will take us to April 9.

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The first part of this two-part storm is wrapping up in the Northland late this afternoon as an area of low pressure along the Wisconsin-Illinois border more or less gets absorbed by a stronger low which is lifting quickly to the NE out of Arkansas late this afternoon.

Goes-16 visible satellite loop from Wednesday afternoon, March 30, 2022.

Water vapor loop showing a large and rather complex storm which stretches from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast today, pretty cool!

Snowfall Reports from around the Northland from Tuesday night-Wednesday, March 29-30, 2022.

3 SSW Wirt, MN: 7.5″
3 WNW Squaw Lake, MN: 6.0″
Bigfork, MN: 6.0″
Marcell, MN: 5.0″
1 WNW Cass Lake, MN: 5.0″
3 ESE Orr, MN: 4.2″
3 NNW Mahtowa, MN: 3.9″
3 ENE Holyoke, MN: 3.5″
Big Falls, MN: 3.5″
Cloquet, MN: 3.5″
Duluth, MN (Airport) 3.1″
Foxboro, WI: 3.1″
2 WNW Duluth, MN: 3.0″
West Duluth, MN: 3.0″
Moose Lake, MN: 3.0″
Ely, MN: 2.8″
7 WSW Pine River, MN: 2.5″
Two Harbors, MN: 2.4″
2 SW French River, MN: 2.3″
2 SE Duluth, MN: 2.0″
3 N Amnicon Falls State Park, WI: 1.9″
3 E Payne, MN: 1.8″
1 N Ashland, WI: 1.7″
2 N Moquah, WI: 1.6″
2 SE Spooner, WI: 1.5″
1 E Hertel, WI: 1.3″

Ice Accumulation Reports from around the Northland from Tuesday night-Wednesday, March 29-30, 2022.

Ojibwa, WI: 0.38″
1 NNW Castle Danger, MN: 0.25″
2 SW Bayfield, WI: 0.25″
4 WNW Red Cliff, WI: 0.25″
4 ENE Nisswa, MN: 0.20″
1 NW Manitowish, WI: 0.15″
1 SSE Hawthorne, WI: 0.13″
5 NE Cohasset, MN: 0.13″
2 WSW Lester Park, MN: 0.13″
Duluth, MN (Airport) 0.10″
Gile, WI: 0.10″
3 ENE Holyoke, MN: 0.10″
Silver Bay, MN: 0.10″
2 WSW Superior, WI: 0.10″
1 SSW Superior, WI: 0.06″
4 NW Minong, WI: 0.05″
3 NNW Mahtowa, MN: 0.03″
3 E Payne, MN: 0.01″

  • A new 24-hour snowfall record was set at Duluth, Minnesota for today, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. New record 3.3″, old record was 3.0″ set on 3/30/1948.
  • March 2022 will be the 6th consecutive March with below average snowfall at Duluth — March 2016 was the last time we had above average snowfall for the month of March.
  • Only one day at or above 50 degrees this month at Duluth — Normal in March is 4 days at or above 50 (1991-2020 climate period).
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We could be looking at another messy system affecting parts of the Northland next week (~April 5-7), but a lot of uncertainty remains on how this system evolves and how it will track, and if it does affect the Northland would it bring rain or wet snow or a little bit of both? Stay tuned.

Here’s the EPS model 500mb forecast valid April 5-8, 2022 — Blue and green colors on the animation below represents a trough/unsettled weather.

500mb forecast valid Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Wet Snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain on the way later this evening through Wednesday, winter weather advisory in effect for parts of the Northland

7:41 PM Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A messy mixture of precipitation is likely in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin later this evening through Wednesday morning with some areas of lingering wet snow or mixed precipitation continuing into Wednesday afternoon.

For Duluth — A mix of rain, sleet and wet snow developing ~9-10 PM tonight. Precipitation switches over to mostly wet snow or sleet Overnight through Wednesday morning with patchy freezing rain also possible. Lingering wet snow or drizzle at times into Wednesday afternoon. Total snow and sleet accumulations of up to 2 inches possible through Wednesday morning.

Simulated radar forecast through 7 PM Wednesday

Snow (blue)
Rain (green)
Wintry Mix (purple and pink)

Here’s my updated snow and sleet accumulation forecast for late tonight through Wednesday.

Parts of northwest Wisconsin could see anywhere from 0.05 to 0.25″ of ice accumulation overnight tonight through Wednesday morning, with a light glaze of ice possible in parts of far eastern Minnesota north to Duluth and Superior.

A look at our messy system moving in later tonight as it lifts NE out of the Central Plains per water vapor imagery.

Goes-16 water vapor from Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

An area of low pressure over southeastern Nebraska early this evening will track NE through Thursday, with the area of low pressure reaching the border of Lake Michigan-Lake Huron and Lower Michigan by around daybreak on Thursday.

Two strong mid and upper-level troughs early this evening, one is digging SE into the Northern Plains while the other heads NE out of the Central Plains.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for parts of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from late tonight through late Wednesday morning in northwest Wisconsin, and through mid-afternoon Wednesday in northeast Minnesota.

Travel could be a bit tricky in the Northland late tonight through Wednesday morning with snow/slush covered roads in parts of the Northland, but as temperatures warm above freezing travel conditions should improve by Wednesday afternoon.

Highs on Wednesday are forecast to be in the mid to upper 30s in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

There is a potential of a few strong to severe thunderstorms across southern Minnesota tonight with the primary severe hazard being large hail up to quarter size.

An isolated thunderstorm is also possible as far north as southern portions of the Northland tonight as we see some elevated CAPE (instability) lift north out of southern Minnesota, but severe weather is not expected in our area tonight, and the greatest potential for a thunderstorm is south of Duluth tonight.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Wet Snow, Sleet, Rain and Freezing Rain on the way Tuesday evening through Wednesday

6:18 PM Monday, March 28, 2022

Another wintry mess is heading our way with some tricky travel possible from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning before conditions improve Wednesday afternoon.

Highest snow amounts with this next system look to be over parts of north-central Minnesota into the Arrowhead as snow should be the main precipitation type over those areas due to a colder air mass. Farther south we’re looking at a real mess due to a warm layer of air aloft while low level temperatures will be close to the freezing mark (29 to 33 F) this will likely cause different precipitation types ranging from wet snow to sleet to rain to freezing rain. Currently it looks like parts of northwest Wisconsin into eastern Minnesota (south of Duluth and Superior) have the greatest potential for ice accumulations greater than 0.10″ from late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, but a light glaze of ice is even possible as far north as the Twin Ports.

Here’s a look at our approaching system for mid-week as it moves east across the western U.S. today per water vapor imagery.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Monday afternoon, March 28, 2022.

STORM TRACK

Still looking at two low pressure systems ejecting NE out of the Central Plains over the next few days.

The northern most low will have the greatest impact on the Northland’s weather Tuesday night and Wednesday as low pressure tracks from northeast Colorado to northern Iowa.

The southern low is forecast to track from northern Oklahoma to northwest Lake Huron from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, and with a storm track like that, the bulk of the precipitation associated with that low should remain farther south/east of the Northland from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

TIMING OF PRECIPITATION

  • Will stay dry in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin for most of the day Tuesday.
  • Chances for rain, freezing rain or sleet increase late Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday evening.
  • Wet snow, freezing rain or sleet Overnight Tuesday through much of the day Wednesday.
  • Wet snow or a wintry mix tapers off from W-E Wednesday afternoon, but wet snow or a wintry mix could linger into Wednesday evening from eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.

For Duluth — Dry during the day Tuesday followed by a mix of rain, sleet, wet snow and possibly some patchy freezing rain Tuesday evening (after 7 PM). Precipitation switches over to mostly wet snow or sleet late Tuesday night through Wednesday morning with lingering snow showers into Wednesday afternoon. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches by Wednesday afternoon.

Simulated radar forecast valid 1 PM Tuesday to 10 PM Wednesday

Snow (blue)
Rain (green)
Wintry mix (purple and pink)

Here’s my updated snow and sleet accumulation forecast valid Tuesday night through early Wednesday evening.

FREEZING RAIN POTENTIAL

Some freezing rain is likely Tuesday night into Wednesday morning mostly over parts of eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, these areas have a chance to pick up anywhere from 0.05 to 0.25 of ice accumulation during the aforementioned time period.

For Duluth — Ice Accumulation ranges from a low-end amount of 0.00″ to a high-end amount of 0.26″ per 12z EPS model.

Here’s another model forecast (HREF) of ice accumulation for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Black outlined area on map represents where ice accumulations could reach one quarter of an inch.

THUNDERSTORM POTENTIAL

There is a chance for a few thunderstorms Tuesday night into Wednesday morning mainly over parts of southern Minnesota into parts of central and southern Wisconsin as indicated by the green and blue colors on the animation below which indicate a higher probability of thunder occurring late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

WINDS

Strong winds don’t look to be a major issue with this system, although it will still be breezy Tuesday night through Thursday with some of the highest wind gusts occurring on Thursday.

Winds will be out of the east to northeast Tuesday through Wednesday morning, with winds becoming north to northwest Wednesday afternoon through Thursday.

For Duluth — Easterly winds with gusts of 20 to around 30 mph are expected Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. Winds shift to the north-northwest Wednesday afternoon and remain out of the north-northwest on Thursday.

Wind Gust forecast valid 7 PM Tuesday to 7 PM Thursday.

Thanks for reading!

Tim