A little light snow, freezing drizzle and patchy fog possible Saturday; Winter Storm Threat early next week (Highest snow totals south of Duluth) Long Range Forecast for January 2023

5:58 PM Friday, December 30, 2022

After a cooler day today (highs closer to normal for this time of year) will see temperatures warm back up this weekend with highs in the mid 20s to low-mid 30s Saturday and Sunday.

Areas of fog are possible late tonight through Sunday morning, and some light snow and patchy freezing drizzle is also possible Saturday into Saturday night.

Duluth needs an additional 0.5 inches of snow by Midnight Saturday to set a new monthly snowfall record for December. Snowiest December on record in Duluth was in 1950 with 44.3 inches of snow. So far this December Duluth has picked up 43.9 inches of snow and it doesn’t look very likely that will squeeze out another 0.5 inches of snow the rest of this month.

Advertisements

A winter storm could impact portions of the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes early next week.

  • There has been a notable trend toward a farther south storm track in model runs today, with the majority of the computer models trending toward what the European model had been showing for a few days now.
  • This does appear to be a fairly quick moving system with Tuesday looking like the day that could have some heavier snowfall and travel impacts across southern portions of the Northland, or from eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.
  • Some light snow could affect the Twin Ports Tuesday and Tuesday night, but significant snow accumulations are not expected at this time.
  • This potential storm is still a few days away and some more changes to the storm track and timing could occur through this weekend.

Note — The Twin Ports isn’t out of the woods just yet on getting into the swath of highest snow accumulations early next week, but the trend in the computer models last night and today is definitely toward the heavier snow setting up south of Duluth and Superior.

Looking at the 12z EPS 50-member snowfall forecast for Duluth for early next week shows 6/50 (12% of members) with 10″+ snow totals, while 17/50 (34% of members) have 6″+ snow totals. The number of members showing 10″+ and 6″+ snow totals continue to decrease.

The blue area on the image below represents the area with the greatest chance for significant snowfall accumulations of 6 inches or more for early next week. This area could shift a bit more to the north or a little farther south over the next few days.

A warm front lifting north out of southern Minnesota combined with an area of low-pressure moving ESE out of Alberta could bring enough forcing to the Northland to produce a little light snow and freezing drizzle for Saturday and Saturday night but no major or widespread impacts from snow and ice are expected.

18z NAM 3km model radar forecast valid from 6 AM Saturday to 6 AM Sunday.

A light glaze of ice accumulation is possible in parts of the Northland Saturday afternoon into Saturday night.

Advertisements

Euro ensemble model continues to show a mild temperature pattern for the Northland next week.

GEFS model has been trending a bit cooler for the Northland next week per last 3 model runs.

Blue – Below average temperatures
Orange, Red and Pink – Above average temperatures

Advertisements
A look at the climate Normals and records for January at Duluth, Minnesota

Normal high on the 1st: 21
Normal low on the 1st: 5

Normal high on the 31st: 21
Normal low on the 31st: 2

Average monthly temperature for January: 11.2 degrees

Highest: 23.7 degrees set in 2006
Lowest: -7.2 degrees set in 1912

Average precipitation: 0.95″

Wettest: 4.70″ set in 1969
Driest: 0.13″ set in 2008

Average snowfall: 16.8″

Snowiest: 46.8″ set in 1969
Least snowy: 2.0″ set in 1921

Average number of subzero nights: 14

Most: 27 set in 1982 and 1929
Fewest: 1 set in 2006

13 days have at least 0.1″ of snow
5 days have at least 1.0″ of snow

Snowfall Totals for Duluth, Minnesota for January (2011-2022)
Normal snowfall is 16.8″

Only 3 Januarys dating back to 2011 have had above average snowfall in Duluth.

2011: 18.5″ (above average)
2012: 5.1″ (below average)
2013: 9.2″ (below average)
2014: 9.4″ (below average)
2015: 6.6″ (below average)
2016: 13.0″ (below average)
2017: 15.5″ (below average)
2018: 9.1″ (below average)
2019: 10.4″ (below average)
2020: 17.7″ (above average)
2021: 9.1″ (below average)
2022: 17.1″ (above average)

Temperature Anomalies for Duluth, Minnesota for January (2011-2022)
Average temperature is 11.2 degrees

Note — Dating back to 2011, there’s been 7 Januarys with an above average monthly temperature compared to 5 which have had a below average monthly temperature.

2011: -4.1 degrees
2012: +6.8 degrees
2013: +0.9 degrees
2014: -9.6 degrees
2015: +1.5 degrees
2016: +1.6 degrees
2017: +4.8 degrees
2018: -0.2 degrees
2019: -3.6 degrees
2020: +4.9 degrees
2021: +6.7 degrees
2022: -6.5 degrees

Outlook for January 2023

CFS model

For Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin — Above average temperatures

Last 10 CFS model runs temperature anomaly trends for January 2023

Orange, red and pink: Above average temperatures

Precipitation

For Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin — Above average precipitation

Last 10 CFS model runs precipitation anomaly trends for January 2023

Green and blue: Above average precipitation
Yellow and brown: Below average precipitation

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Some snow and a wintry mix tonight followed by breezy and cooler weather Friday; Model mayhem for the early to middle of next week

5:28 PM Thursday, December 29, 2022

Temperatures will fall back toward more seasonal levels on Friday with highs in the mid 10s to low to mid 20s in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. It also looks blustery as northwest winds increase with gusts of up to 15 to 25 mph late tonight into Friday.

High was 35 in Duluth today (December 29th) First time above freezing since December 15th, and today’s high of 35 matches the warmest temperature for the month which first occurred on December 2nd.

An additional 1.3 inches of snow is needed in Duluth by Midnight Saturday night in order to break the December snowfall record which was set in 1950 with 44.3 inches of snow. If we’re going to break this record, I think it will have to happen with tonight’s system.

Advertisements

A fast moving but fairly strong system continues to lift northeast into the upper Midwest late this afternoon.

This system for tonight consists of two parts, one with some northern energy, the other associated with some southern energy, and it’s that southern piece of energy which will lift quickly NE through parts of the Northland tonight bringing stronger vertical lift which will cause some heavier snow in a relatively narrow band somewhere from east-central to northeast Minnesota into far northwest Wisconsin.

A narrow band of snow and a wintry mix will affect portions of the Northland tonight with precipitation coming to an end from SW-NE early Friday morning.

For Duluth — Freezing drizzle and drizzle possible through about mid-evening followed by a period of snow from around 8 PM to 1 AM tonight.

21z HRRR model radar forecast through 6 AM Friday.

No changes made to my snowfall forecast for tonight’s event.

For Duluth — Total snowfall accumulations ranging from a trace to 2 inches.

Warm air is in place across parts of the Northland late today with 850mb temperatures of around +1 to +5C so these temperatures will need to cool at least to 0C before we see some snow.

Note — If precipitation occurs prior to when 850mb temps fall to 0C or lower then we could see some rain or sleet and perhaps even some patchy freezing rain.

There’s quite a variation in temperatures across the region today ranging from the single digits and 10s in eastern North Dakota to the middle 30s in eastern Minnesota to the mid 50s to the 60s from southern and eastern Iowa to Illinois into far southern Wisconsin.

A look at the system which will affect parts of the Northland tonight.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Thursday, December 29, 2022 (loop time ends 3:46 PM CT)

Advertisements

STORM POTENTIAL EARLY TO MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK

Another set of model runs today hasn’t cleared anything up in regard to the storm track for next week with big time differences continuing between the GFS and Euro models.

The Euro camp remains the furthest south, and even nudged a little more south compared to 24 hours ago, while the GFS, Canadian, German-Icon and UK models are farther north with the storm track for early next week.

It’ll likely take a few more days for the computer models to resolve these storm track differences, but for now either storm track remains plausible.

Note — Euro model has been consistent for 3 runs now keeping the heavier snow south of Duluth early next week.

EPS 50-member snowfall forecast for Duluth for early next week

8/50 (16% of members) show snow amounts of 10″+ — This is up from 12% on Tuesday.

19/50 (38% of members) show snow amounts of 6″+ — This is down from 42% on Tuesday.

Using the EPS (Euro ensemble model) shows the highest probabilities for 6 inches or more of snow for early next week covering areas from south-central Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and western upper Michigan with much lower chances for 6″+ snow amounts across northern Minnesota and into the Arrowhead.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Some snow and a wintry mix possible Thursday afternoon-evening; Winter Storm potential for the early to middle part of next week; A recap of the 2022 severe weather season

5:33 PM Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A bit of a complex setup ahead for Thursday as will see some energy approach from Manitoba and North Dakota, while a somewhat stronger wave lifts northeast out of the central Plains. The ball of energy moving out of the central Plains is forecast to have a small area of enhanced lift which could produce an area of moderate snowfall for a short period of time, but since this area of heavier snow looks relatively small, the computer models are having trouble figuring out where this pocket of snow will setup. The good news in all this is that snow totals look fairly minor due to the progressive nature of this whole system, with snow totals maxing out at around 2 inches under the corridor of heavier snow.

Here’s the 21z RAP model 700mb forecast valid 12 PM Thursday to Midnight Thursday night. Stronger vertical lift shows up in green, yellow and orange on the animation below.

Here’s my snowfall forecast for late Thursday afternoon through late Thursday evening.

For Duluth — Snowfall totals of a trace to 2 inches are possible.

There is a chance for some patchy fog, drizzle and freezing drizzle across the Northland tonight into Thursday, and then we could see some steadier precipitation which should transition to mostly snow affect parts of northeast and east-central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin late Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening.

For Duluth — Timing for when we could see a steadier period of snow which may start out as a mix is from around 3 PM to Midnight Thursday.

12z NAM 3km model radar forecast valid 12 PM Thursday to 6 AM Friday.

Snow (blue)
Wintry Mix (pink)

The current pattern is loaded with storm after storm crashing into the western U.S.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Wednesday, December 28, 2022 (loop time ends 4:50 PM CT)

Advertisements

STORM THREAT NEXT WEEK

Computer models are in good agreement in showing a strong 500mb trough digging into the Southern/Central Rockies late this weekend with the 12z GFS model from Wednesday showing this trough at around -4.0 sigma.

Considerable uncertainty does exist however in regard to the storm track, but this isn’t unusual for a system which is roughly 5 days out.

Euro model guidance remains much farther south with the storm track for next week while the GFS and Canadian models are farther to the north.

A farther south storm track would lead to snow being the main precipitation type with the highest accumulations from south-central Minnesota into northern Wisconsin with lower snow amounts for northern Minnesota.

A storm track farther to the north would lead to a mix bag of precipitation types ranging from snow to rain, and possibly even some sleet or freezing rain, with the highest snow amounts with a farther north storm track likely setting from western to north-central Minnesota.

Either scenario is plausible at this point.

Stay tuned.

EPS model probability for more than 6 inches of snow for early to mid-next week.

Note — The 50-member 12z EPS model from Wednesday for Duluth shows 6/50 members (12%) with 10″ or more of snow, while 21/50 (42%) members show 6″ or more of snow in Duluth during the early to mid-next week time frame.

Advertisements

A recap of the 2022 severe weather season.

Minnesota

1089 severe weather reports in 2022

Tornadoes — 77 (average number of tornadoes 42 — 1995-2014 climate period)
Damaging Wind (58 mph or greater) 625
Large hail (1 inch or greater in diameter) 387

The 2022 severe weather season in Minnesota began in April with 61 reports of severe weather including 4 tornado reports, but the severe weather season peaked the following month in May of 2022 with a total of 568 reports of severe weather including 51 tornado reports.

The 2022 severe weather season saw fewer severe weather reports during the summer months, with 235 severe weather reports (9 tornadoes) in June, followed by 128 reports of severe weather (6 tornadoes) in July, with August featuring even fewer severe weather reports with a total of 66 (5 tornadoes)

Map legend

Tornado reports (red)
Hail reports (green)
Wind reports (blue)

Wisconsin

466 severe weather reports in 2022.

Tornadoes — 34 (average number of tornadoes 23 — 1995-2014 climate period)
Damaging Wind (58 mph or greater) 309
Large Hail (1″ or greater in diameter) 123

Map legend

Tornadoes (red)
Hail (green)
Wind (blue)

Duluth, Minnesota recorded 44 thunderstorm days in 2022 which is above the average of 30 to 40 thunderstorm days per year.

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Chances for a little snow, freezing rain/drizzle and rain through early Friday morning; Highs near or above freezing Wednesday and Thursday; Storm Potential early next week (Jan. 2-4)

4:53 PM Tuesday, December 27, 2022

An active weather pattern is in place as several storm systems affect the western U.S. over the next few days. A few of these systems could affect the Northland through the middle of next week, although chances that a major winter storm/precipitation event hitting our area look pretty low for the rest of this week, but as we get into early to mid-next week there is a chance for a more significant system impacting the upper Midwest, but that system of interest is still a good 5-7 days out so things will likely change in model guidance from what they show today.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Tuesday, December 28, 2022 (loop time ends 4 PM CT)

Patchy light snow, and freezing rain/drizzle is possible at times across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin tonight and Wednesday, but no major impacts are expected, and what the forecast radar is showing is probably a bit overdone in terms of the aerial coverage of precipitation through early Wednesday evening.

18z NAM 3km model radar forecast through 6 PM Wednesday.

Snow (blue)
Wintry mix (pink and purple)

Advertisements

There is a chance for some light snow, rain, and patchy freezing rain across the Northland Wednesday night through early Friday morning, but this doesn’t look like it’ll be a significant snow or ice event for our area.

The setup includes two systems, one approaching from Manitoba, while another system lifts northeast out of the Central Plains. This system doesn’t phase which will likely limit the amount of precipitation we see in the Northland.

20 member GEFS model snowfall forecast through 6 AM Friday, December 30, 2022

A narrow strip of snow is possible somewhere across the upper Midwest Thursday into early Friday, but as you can see there is uncertainty on where that narrow band of snow sets up, with one member having it across southern to northeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin (3), to western Minnesota (7), to southern Minnesota/west-central Wisconsin (13) but regardless of where this band of snow is, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a major snow event.

Snowfall accumulations of an inch or less are possible in much of the Northland Thursday into early Friday.

Here’s what I’m watching for early next week.

A stronger trough digging south through the Rockies with a big ridge farther to the east.

We should see a storm spin up across the central/southern Rockies given the pattern the models are currently showing for early next week but of course the storm track this far out is far from certain, as are precipitation types should this storm affect the Northland.

Advertisements

Temperatures continue to warm across the region today with 850mb temperatures (~5000 feet in the atmosphere) ranging from around 0C in northern Minnesota to as warm as +18C in southern South Dakota.

Here’s a look at the surface temperatures from late Tuesday afternoon.

40s and even some 50s in parts of South Dakota and in much of Nebraska this afternoon with widespread teens and 20s in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Advertisements

Temperature stats for 2022 (thru December 26th)

Average temperatures for 2022 are running about -1.0 to -2.0 degrees colder than average in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin — See below.

Hibbing, MN: 35.7 F; -1.6 degrees below average
Duluth, MN: 39.0 F; -2.0 degrees below average
Ashland, WI: 40.5 F; -1.4 degrees below average
Superior, WI: 40.7 F; -1.3 degrees below average
Brainerd, MN: 41.9 F; -0.7 degrees below average

Note: Average temperatures in the Northland for 2022 are running about -4.0 degrees colder compared to the average temperatures observed in 2021.

Currently northeast Minnesota is having its 6th coldest year on record by climate district.

Temperature rankings by climate district for 2022 (thru December 26th)

Thanks for reading!

Tim

Warmer temperatures this week with a few chances for snow, rain and a wintry mix of precipitation; Last 7 days featured temperature anomalies of -15 to -20 degrees in the Northland

4:58 PM Monday, December 26, 2022

The pattern remains fairly active over the next 7 days as a trough sets up over the western U.S. while a ridge sets up across the southern/eastern U.S. Several low-pressure systems should eject ENE out of that aforementioned western trough, but whether or not these systems affect the Northland will depend on the storm tracks, but I’d say the odds are pretty good that will see at least 1 or 2 systems impact the Northland by early next week.

Note — Duluth is only 1.3 inches away from setting a new record for snowiest December, but time is starting to runout to set a new record, and I’d say the chances that Duluth break’s the December snowfall record of 44.3 inches (set in 1950) aren’t looking too good right now. Looks like it will come down to two systems this week, one on Tuesday, the other Thursday-early Friday, between the two, can we squeeze out 1.3 inches of snow in Duluth? Time will tell.

A clipper system with a shot of strong warm air and moisture advection will bring some snow and a wintry mix of precipitation to parts of the Northland for Tuesday and Tuesday night. Most of this precipitation on Tuesday is expected to remain over northern Minnesota, North Shore and Arrowhead.

18z HRRR model radar forecast valid Midnight tonight to 6 PM Tuesday.

Snow (blue)
Wintry mix (pink)

Most of the snow on Tuesday should stay north of Duluth, but I can’t rule out a brief period of snow sometime Tuesday morning (in that 5 AM to 9 AM time frame) but accumulations should remain under an inch in Duluth.

Snow amounts with Tuesday’s clipper will remain on the light side ranging from a trace to an inch or two, with up to 3 inches of snow possible in the tip of the Minnesota Arrowhead.

All 20 members of the GEFS model keeps the accumulating snow confined to far northern Minnesota or even a little farther to the north through 6 AM Wednesday.

Patchy sleet or freezing rain/drizzle is possible over parts of the Northland Tuesday into early Wednesday with a chance for minor icing of around a trace or so.

Advertisements

An arctic air mass is on the way out and will be replaced by a milder Pacific air mass over the next several days.

*12 subzero nights so far this month in Duluth (average in December is 8 subzero nights) Most was in December 2013 with 23 subzero nights. Looks like we might get one more subzero night in Duluth tonight, but after tonight it doesn’t look like will get anymore subzero temperatures for the rest of this month and through the first week of January the way it looks now.

Average temperature and departure from normal in the Northland from December 19-25, 2022

Hibbing, MN: -6.3 F; -16.4 degrees below average
Brainerd, MN: -5.4 F; -19.9 degrees below average
Duluth, MN: -4.8 F; -19.9 degrees below average
Superior, WI: -0.4 F; -18.5 degrees below average
Two Harbors, MN: 0.6 F; -18.8 degrees below average

The last 7 days were very cold across the upper Midwest with average temperatures from December 19 through 25 running -15 to -25 degrees colder than normal.

Note — The average temperature in Minnesota from December 19-25, 2022, was -5.1 degrees, this was -20.8 degrees colder than average

Widespread cold arctic air over much of the Lower 48 over the last 7 days with the exception to this being in Maine which saw warmer than average temperatures, and also over parts of the southwest U.S. which had near normal temperatures.

Advertisements

We are looking at an extended period of milder temperatures across the upper Midwest for the rest of this week and into early next week and possibly beyond.

GEFS model temperature anomaly trend for December 28 through January 2.

Orange and Red – Above average temperatures
Blues – Below average temperatures

Thanks for reading!

Tim