Northern Minnesota Facing First Significant Snowfall of 2016 Season
Just in time for the opening of Bentleyville and the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, significant snow appears to be a possibility for the region. Forecast discussion on this storm system is starting to clarify, pointing to a possible shovelable snow event for the Duluth area, with greater snowfall possible as you get away from Lake Superior.
As the storm system approaches, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the inland areas of St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties and points west. Duluth and Superior are not currently in the watch area.
The National Weather Service points out they still don't know precisely where the heaviest snow will fall or the timing of the worst conditions, but it is looking like parts of Northeastern Minnesota will see 6+ inches of snowfall before this system moves out Saturday.
For folks in Duluth not quite ready for a big snow storm, you might be in luck. Lake Superior's currently warm water will likely keep places like Duluth, Superior, and elsewhere along the North Shore a little warmer, delaying the changeover from rain to snow, and thus cutting down on snowfall totals. Further inland, it will likely be a different story.
Latest breakdown of the storm's impact on the Twin Ports
If things go as these models are suggesting for the Duluth/Superior area, here is how things will shake out:
Rain will move into the area with temperatures falling to around the 40 degree mark.
Rain and temperatures around 40 degrees will start the day and will fall through the day. Rain will turn to snow around midday for the Duluth area, with rain expected to change to snow around 6 am on the Iron Range. Snow will be heavy at times, and strong wind gusts will lead to blowing snow and degraded driving conditions. Snow will continue into the evening hours, with windy conditions continuing and temperatures falling to around 25 degrees.
Snow chances will decrease through the morning hours of Saturday, with clearing through the midday. Temperatures will be near 32 degrees and breezy conditions will continue.
So, how much are we getting?
Right now, the current track appears to put he heaviest band of snow (between 8 and 12 inches) in a line from Alexandria toward Grand Rapids and the Iron Range and up into Canada. Downtown Duluth and Superior will likely see trace amounts up to maybe 2-4 inches, while areas inland from the lake a little could see 4-6 inches.