Long Range Forecast for December 2022

4:37 PM Wednesday, November 30, 2022

An interesting pattern ahead for December which could lead to frequent bouts of arctic air affecting the Northland, but this pattern also holds quite a bit of uncertainty as the computer models are changing quite a bit from day to day especially after the first week of December.

One of the uncertainties is whether or not the arctic air has any staying power, or will it be transient, where we see significant warm-ups between the shots of arctic air throughout the month.

Note – The last time we had a colder than average December in Duluth was in 2017 (-6.6 degrees below average)

Here’s a look at the Climate Normals and Extremes for December at Duluth, Minnesota.

Normal high on the 1st: 30
Normal high on the 31st: 21

Normal low on the 1st: 15
Normal low on the 31st: 5

Average monthly temperature: 17.2 degrees

Warmest December on record: 32.7 F set in 1877
Coldest December on record: 1.8 F set in 1983

Average number of subzero days: 8
Most: 23 set in 2013
Least: 0 set in 2015, 1959, 1918, 1913, 1888, and 1877

Precipitation: 1.47″

Wettest December on record: 3.89″ set in 1979
Driest December on record: 0.07″ set in 1905

Snowfall: 18.7″

Snowiest December on record: 44.3″ set in 1950
Least snowy December on record: 0.9″ set in 1905

Average number of days with at least 0.1″ snowfall: 13
Average number of days with at least 1.0″ snowfall: 5

Here’s a look at past December snowfall totals at Duluth, Minnesota (2017-2021)

2017: 13.4″ (Below Average)
2018: 19.8″ (Above Average)
2019: 27.7″ (Above Average)
2020: 16.5″ (Below Average)
2021: 25.9″ (Above Average)


CFS model – Long Range Outlook for December 2022

Temperature Forecast

Below average temperatures in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

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

Temperature Anomaly trend per last 5 model runs from the CFS model.

Precipitation Outlook for December 2022 per CFS model

Below average to near normal precipitation for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Green: Above average precipitation
Yellow: Below average precipitation

Precipitation anomaly trend per last 5 model runs from the CFS model.

European Model Temperature Anomaly Forecast for December 2022

For Duluth: +0.4 degrees above average.

Here’s the past 6 December 2022 temperature outlooks for Duluth per European model.

+1.0 degree above average
+1.3 degrees above average
+0.2 degrees above average
+1.6 degrees above average
+0.7 degrees above average
+0.4 degrees above average

Euro model temperature anomaly forecast for the U.S. for December 2022

Below average temps (blue)

Above average temps (yellow and orange)

Thanks for reading!


Accumulating snow ends this evening in far eastern MN and northwest WI; Gusty NW winds tonight-Wednesday with a few lingering snow showers; Another snow event possible Friday evening/overnight

5:49 PM Tuesday, November 29, 2022

System producing the snow in northwest Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota today is a complex winter system consisting of two surface lows, one over southern Manitoba, and the other over south-central Wisconsin. In addition to that, we have a mid/upper-level trough approaching from the Dakotas. Strong forcing ahead of the trough and lows has led to widespread snow impacting parts of the upper Midwest today with narrow intense snow bands embedded within the larger shield of light snow, with these heavier snow bands being most common from south-central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin this afternoon.

Snowfall Reports from Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Source: NWS Duluth, Minnesota

3 WSW Lake Nebagamon, WI: 7.5″
Brule, WI: 7.0″
Mellen, WI: 7.0″
2 WSW Washburn, WI: 6.7″
Washburn, WI: 6.0″
Winter, WI: 6.0″
Mason, WI: 5.8″
4 SSW Ashland, WI: 5.0″
Hayward, WI: 5.0″
1 N Lake Nebagamon, WI: 4.5″
Ashland, WI: 4.4″
3 N Amnicon Falls State Park, WI: 4.2″
2 E Butternut, WI: 4.0″
South Range, WI: 3.1″
3 W Bayfield, WI: 3.0″
2 WNW Duluth, MN: 2.3″
Duluth, MN: 2.1″ (Official NWS total thru 4 PM today)
Moose Lake, MN: 1.7″
3 N Mahtowa, MN: 1.6″
3 ENE Rice Lake, MN: 1.5″

Such a cool radar loop showing the multiple narrow bands of heavy snowfall (lighter green/yellow colors) in northwest Wisconsin this afternoon.

Radar loop from 12:56 PM to 4:54 PM Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

18z NAM 3km model radar forecast through Noon Wednesday.

System snow ends from SW-NE before Midnight tonight, but a few lingering snow showers with little to no accumulation follows from late tonight through Wednesday morning.

Colder temperatures are likely Wednesday with highs in the low to mid 20s.

Note: Snow should end in Duluth between 6-8 PM this evening with additional accumulations less than an inch. Snowfall storm totals will end up in that 2–3-inch range.

A dual jet structure will aid in the development of a potential severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak over parts of the southeast U.S. tonight through early Wednesday morning.

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

Gusty northwest winds will develop across the Northland tonight and will linger through the day Wednesday.

Wind gusts of 25 to 40 mph are possible with even stronger wind gusts up to 45 mph near Lake Superior.

Areas of blowing snow are likely tonight and Wednesday for areas that received new snow today.

HRRR model wind gust forecast thru 6 PM Wednesday.

Another low-pressure system could bring some more snow or possibly a mix bag of precipitation types to the Northland from late Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning.

There is a potential for a few inches of snow with this system, but the overall quick movement of this system should limit the amount of snow that falls in our area later this week.

Stay tuned!

A very amplified pattern sets up over the next two weeks with incredibly high heights (strong ridging) setting up near/over Greenland and also over Alaska. This type of pattern can open up the arctic air flood gates directing it into the upper Midwest.

EPS model 500mb height anomaly forecast valid November 30, 2022, thru December 14, 2022.

Here’s the temperature anomaly forecast for next week (December 4-9, 2022)

Well below average temps (blue and purple)

Well above average temps (red and white)

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday morning weather update – Snow on the way, greatest accumulations in northwest Wisconsin

4:25 AM Tuesday, November 29, 2022

This has definitely been a difficult forecast over the last few days in regard to today’s (Tuesday) upcoming snow event, but it finally appears that the computer models have settled in on a solution so now will just wait and see how today plays out.

-Winter Storm Warning now covers all of northwest Wisconsin through Midnight tonight.

-Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the Arrowhead of Minnesota, and also for Pine County in eastern Minnesota including the Hinckley, Pine City and Bruno areas.

-Expect snow covered and slippery roads by this afternoon in northwest Wisconsin, and also in far northeast into far eastern Minnesota.

-Reduced visibility in snow.

-Gusty west to northwest winds develop later today and will continue through Wednesday with wind gusts of 25 to 40 mph with the strongest winds arriving tonight and during the day Wednesday. Areas of blowing snow are likely to develop in areas that see new snow today.


I did make some more changes to my snowfall forecast.

*Duluth: 1 to 3 inches of snow.

*Up to 5 inches of snow in the Arrowhead of Minnesota, far eastern Minnesota, and also for much of far northwest Wisconsin.

Highest snow amounts remain over portions of northwest Wisconsin with a swath of 5 to 9 inches of snow, with more than 9 inches of snow possible in the snowbelt region of Ashland and Iron County from around Butternut to Hurley and Gile.

Snow is forecast to begin in the Duluth area between 7 AM and 9 AM this morning with snow coming to an end between 4 PM and 6 PM this evening.

There will be a very sharp western edge in today’s snow, so if this system nudges ever so slightly to the east, then we probably won’t see a whole lot of snow in Duluth today.

Also, with such a sharp gradient in the snow, there is a possibility that will see heavier snow bands setup especially in parts of northwest Wisconsin where snowfall rates could approach 1″/hour later this morning through this afternoon.

06z NAM 3km model radar forecast valid 6 AM Tuesday to Midnight Tuesday night.

Thanks for reading!


Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories in effect in northwest Wisconsin Tuesday

5:23 PM Monday, November 28, 2022

Accumulating snow is likely Tuesday in all of northwest Wisconsin, with some snow also possible over far eastern Minnesota to the Twin Ports, North Shore and Arrowhead.

*Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 3 AM Tuesday to Midnight Tuesday night including the cities of Port Wing, Bayfield, Washburn, Minong, Spooner, Shell Lake, Ashland, Mellen, Butternut, Hayward, Winter, Hurley and Gile in northwest Wisconsin.

*Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 3 AM Tuesday to Midnight Tuesday night including the cities of Lake Nebagamon, Solon Springs, Gordon, Danbury, Grantsburg, Webster, Siren and Hertel in northwest Wisconsin.

Expected Impacts Tuesday and Tuesday night

-Plan on slippery road conditions.
-Travel could be very difficult especially in the winter storm warned area.
-Poor visibility in falling snow.
-Patchy blowing snow is possible Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday as gusty northwest winds develop.

Here’s my updated snowfall forecast for Tuesday.

Overall, this is a low confidence forecast especially on the Minnesota side including for the Duluth area as there are a few computer models which show higher snow totals (more into that 1-3″ range) farther west impacting eastern Minnesota and Duluth.

Computer models are in good agreement, however, in showing the highest snow totals setting up over portions of northwest Wisconsin.


Note the sharp cutoff on the western edge of the snow on Tuesday.

Note – If we do get some snow in Duluth on Tuesday it looks to begin around 6-9 AM, with snow coming to an end later Tuesday afternoon (around 3 PM-6 PM)

18z NAM 3km model radar forecast valid Midnight tonight to Midnight Tuesday night

(Snow in blue)


Storm Setup

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

Storm Track Forecast

Low pressure over southeast Colorado this evening reaches east-central Kansas Tuesday morning, then lifts quickly NE to east-central Wisconsin by Tuesday evening. Low pressure will then move north of Lake Superior by Wednesday morning.

A regional view of the current winter weather headlines.


Temperature Forecast for the Northland

Highs Tuesday will range from the middle 20s to lower 30s (warmest temps in northwest Wisconsin)

Colder air moves in for Wednesday with highs in the upper teens to low-mid 20s.

A brief warmup could return on Friday with highs well into the 30s to around 40 degrees from east-central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin, but this looks to be short lived with another shot of colder air possible this weekend, but a more significant shot of arctic air could affect the Northland beginning sometime in the December 5-7 time frame.

Thanks for reading!


A little snow in northern MN Monday; System for Tuesday trending south; Snowfall and Temperature stats for November 2022

3:48 PM Sunday, November 27, 2022

A low-pressure system which was over southern Saskatchewan today will move slowly east across southern Manitoba from Monday into Tuesday. Southerly winds ahead of this system will bring a shot of warm air advection snowfall to parts of northern Minnesota Monday into Monday evening with up to an inch of snow possible.

A few lake effect snow showers are possible along the North Shore of Lake Superior (mainly northeast of Silver Bay) early Monday morning ahead of the system snow which arrives in the Arrowhead later in the day on Monday.

Note – A brief period of snow is possible in Duluth Monday afternoon from roughly Noon to 2 PM with total snowfall accumulations of less than 1″.

18z NAM 3km model radar forecast valid from Midnight tonight to Midnight Monday night

(Snow in blue)

Here’s the NWS Blend of Models snowfall forecast for Monday.

An active weather pattern is in place with several strong low-pressure systems evident on Goes-16 water vapor imagery.



Computer models continue to shift the axis of snow from one model run to the next, but the trend in the models today has been for this area of snow to shift farther to the south/east, and this lowers the potential that will see much snow in Duluth and in far northwest Wisconsin on Tuesday.

An outbreak of severe thunderstorms including a risk for strong tornadoes exists on Tuesday across parts of the lower to mid-Mississippi Valley.

Orange – Numerous severe storms possible

Yellow – Scattered severe storms possible


Frigid air continues to build well to our north, and eventually we may see some of this arctic air push south into the Northland, but it doesn’t look like that may happen until sometime in the December 4-6 time frame, so although temperatures will be cooler this week, we’re not looking at anything too cold through most of this week in the Northland.

The Euro ensemble (EPS) model continues to open up the flood gates for arctic air to push south into the northern tier of the U.S. during the December 4-9 time frame.

Average Temperature and Departure from Normal in the Northland for November 2022 (thru the 26th)

Ashland, WI: 34.3 F (+1.1 degrees above average)
Brainerd, MN: 32.9 F (+1.3 degrees above average)
Duluth, MN: 31.6 F (+0.8 degrees above average)
Hibbing, MN: 28.1 F (+1.5 degrees above average)
International Falls, MN: 27.7 F (+0.4 degrees above average)

Average monthly temperatures for November 2022 have ranged from below average across the western U.S. to above average from the Great Lakes to the eastern U.S.

Snowfall Totals for November 2022 (thru the 26th)

International Falls, MN

Month to Date: 11.9″
Normal to Date: 10.0″
Departure: +1.9″ above normal
Percent of Normal Snowfall: 119% of normal

Duluth, MN

Month to Date: 10.2″
Normal to Date: 11.8″
Departure: -1.6″ below normal
Percent of Normal Snowfall: 86% of normal

Thanks for reading!