Rare Inland Lake Effect Snow Hits Large Portions of Northern Minnesota
Lake effect snow is common near Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes due to the fact these large bodies of water generally don't completely freeze over in the winter. This allows evaporating water from the lake to meet cold air, which condenses and forms clouds and can lead to snowfall. This snowfall usually happens downwind from the body of water on especially cold days, which is why places along the Lake Superior South Shore in Wisconsin and the UP see snowfall on cold days with a northwest or north wind. The National Weather Service says temperatures usually need to be colder than 5 degrees Fahrenheit at an altitude of 2,000 feet for this to happen.
Being many of the larger inland lakes haven't frozen over yet, this same phenomenon was able to happen overnight Monday night into Tuesday, as temperatures dipped to single digits in places around the region. The satellite loop, shared on the National Weather Service Facebook Page, shows cloud formation off lakes like Red Lake, Lake of the Woods, Lake Vermilion, and others.
While not totally unheard of to see temperatures like this before lakes freeze over, it isn't extremely common. That makes this rare inland lake effect snow something unique. With temperatures expected to stay cold this week, it shouldn't take too long for many of these lakes to start getting a crust on them, making ice fishermen happy, and cutting down on the chance of seeing an event like this again this year.