Lake effect snow is certainly something that CAN happen in Duluth, but it is not something that happens often, thanks entirely to the fact that it is on the northwest shore of Lake Superior, and is rarely downwind from the Lake. There was some easterly flow, though, early this week, and though most of the snow fell up the shore, there was quarter inch of liquid in Duluth, but the big impact was the thick layer of clouds smothering town, keeping temperatures fairly static through the period. Victoria-Weather put together the top forecast. Actuals: Monday – .11 inches of liquid in snow, High 39, low 35 Tuesday .13 inches of liquid in snow, High 39, Low 31
Lets start the week with a road trip. We’re going to head from southeastern Pennsylvania to the shores of Lake Superior. It will take us two days to cover the 1134 miles between our two cities. Day one will be over after 8 hours at a pace of 67mph. We’ll keep that pace on Day two, but travel a bit longer, after covering 547 miles on Monday, with the rest on Tuesday.
DAY ONE (Monday)
A big trough covering the country is bringing cold air to the country, but is also extremely disturbed. A low in the western Great Lakes will stick a tendril of moisture southeast towards Virginia, with showers — rain, exclusively — falling in the Alleghenies, making our drive difficult right from the start. Lighter sprinkles are going to be possible as we reach the Allegheny Plateau and head into Ohio. Overcast is a certainty throughout the day, but it will probably thin a bit after we pass Sandusky. It’s around there that the drizzle will end, and give us some reprieve as we continue on to Middlebury, Indiana, which is just outside of the Elkhart-Goshen region.
DAY TWO (Tuesday) Not long after we arrive in Middlebury, a strong system will sidle into town, and batter the region with heavy rain and wind. It will taper off by the time we depart on Tuesday morning, with all that nastiness of Monday lifting into Michigan. We’ll traverse Chicago without any precipitation, and head into Wisconsin as clouds start to darken. After we’ve passed Madison, likely in the Wisconsin Dells/Baraboo area, we’ll start to encounter some precipitation, likely to be rain, but potentially mixing with snow. It’s going to be this tightrope that we’ll be watching for the rest of the drive up to Duluth.
I’m not entirely sure the reason, but we’ve definitely been pulling in a lot of Minnesota forecasts lately. One would hope that this homefield advantage does us some favors, though.
At 802PM, CT, Duluth was reporting a temperature of 35 degrees with light snow. The airport lies uphill and away from Lake Superior, so the downtown area, and Superior across the border in Wisconsin were reporting rain. Snow was more vigorous in Arrowhead, and accompanied by strong winds coming off of the Lake. A broad trough lies over the northern US, and there is an embedded shorter wave over the upper Midwest, leading to a surface wave centered over Wisconsin, with the back end bringing the wet weather to the North Shore. The short wave will merge into the broad trough, and the low over Wisconsin will spiral back into a broader surface low arriving from the Dakotas. Lingering rain and snow showers will continue through most of the day tomorrow, particularly north of Duluth, before the larger system moves into northern Minnesota by tomorrow evening. Tuesday will be a wet day, with some rain, but snow as well, particularly in the afternoon and evening, as cold air pivots into the region. Up to 2″ are possible. Tomorrow – Generally overcast with a few spots of snow and rain showers, High 38, Low 34 Tuesday – Rain snow mix, High 39, Low 34
TWC: Tomorrow – Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers in the afternoon. High 41, Low 36 Tuesday – Occasional light rain. High 40, Low 35
AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, a stray shower High 43, Low 36 Tuesday – Periods of snow and rain; breezy High 43, Low 36
NWS: Tomorrow – A slight chance of rain and snow before 9am, then a slight chance of rain after 5pm. Cloudy High 41, Low 35 Tuesday – Rain. High 41, Low 34
WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy. A slight chance of light snow in the morning, then a slight chance of light rain in the afternoon. High 41, Low 36 Tuesday – Light rain possibly mied with snow. High 40, Low 35
WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light wintry mix likely, High 40, Low 35 Tuesday – Cloudy with light wintry mix, High 40, Low 36
FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting in the evening. High 43, Low 38 Tuesday – Light rain overnight. High 43, Low 37
Temperatures are pretty borderline, but the fact that some snow has already fallen, and more cold air is going to fill in aloft, I fell comfortable putting snow in the forecast. Here is the radar with snow across Lake Superior.
Here we go, on the road again. It’s a gutshot through the heart of the Chicago metro, which will slow us down enough that the drive will last a day and a half. We’ll cover 784 miles at a pace of 63.6mph, which will lead to a target distance of 508.5 miles on Thursday. Let’s get going. The North Shore of Lake Superior is very pretty this time of year.
DAY ONE: (Thursday)
Tomorrow morning, a slow moving, mostly cut off upper level low will be centered over Richmond, Indiana. A secondary cold front will be parked over Mansfield, leading to blustery winds and rain, and for the most part making us feel good about leaving town. The northern flank of precipitation will lie over northern Indiana and Ohio, which will lead to a steady bout of rain to start the day. The low isn’t moving tomorrow, friends. Instead, it will continue to churn up instability over the Great Lakes, and the threat for showers and storms will drift west so far that we might see some light rain as we traverse Chicagoland. We will finally break through the clouds and rain around Janesville and Madison. It won’t last long, though, as we will call it a day in Wisconsin Dells. It might be tough to leave the Dells on Tuesday if you stay somewhere too nice, so stay somewhere trashy.
DAY TWO (Friday)
That area of low pressure will be retrograding, so as we begin, there may be a bit more drizzle, all of which won’t last more than a half hour or so out of the Dells. It will be dry from at least Tomah onward, but a northwest flow off of Lake Superior can only mean one thing for Duluth: low clouds. Well, maybe two things. They will probably be significantly colder than the areas around them.
The forecast for Duluth is usually a tricky one to handle, with the lake and elevation influencing the climate all the time. There was a VERY brief period of snow flurries Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday, the precip avoided the area altogether. An unexpected dry day for the area! Victoria Weather brought home the win for the day, which is appropriate, considering that’s home turf for this weather forecasting duo!
Tuesday: 0.03″ of rain and afternoon snow flurries. High 43, Low 36.
Wednesday: High 39, Low 31.
Forecast Grade: B
Today we shall embark on a 2-day, 899-mile trip from central Ohio to the shores of Lake Superior. This should be an enjoyable trip through the Midwest, especially with fall foliage in full changeover on the southern half, so it should be picturesque at times!
We can expect a cloudy start to our day as we head westward out of Columbus towards Indianapolis, as a slow-moving frontal system is creeping its way through Michigan and Illinois. We can start to see rain showers as we make our way through central Indiana, turning northwest towards Gary and then Chicago. Thankfully, by the time we pass by Chicago, most of the activity will be behind us and just have some cloudy skies and breezy conditions the rest of the way to Madison, our stop for the night.
A quiet start to the day is expected as we continue up I-94 towards the Twin Cities. By midday, we could start to see some rain showers as an area of low pressure drops through the Dakotas into Minnesota. The tricky part will be what we see when we head north from the Cities towards Duluth. Temperatures could be low enough to mix in some heavier snow showers as we drive up I-35, which could slow us down significantly. However, if the system slows down enough, which it seems to be trending as such, we could scoot up the interstate before the heavy stuff even reaches the area. As long as we make good time in the morning, we should be good to go for a safe afternoon arrival in Duluth.
Today’s forecast keeps us in-state, to a location that’s notoriously difficult to forecast for, Duluth! The waters of Lake Superior can have significant effects on the local climate, leading to steep temperature gradients between the airport and surrounding areas. Will the next couple of days be just as tough?
At 555pm CST, the temperature at Duluth, MN was 47 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. An area of low pressure found over southern Manitoba is extending an occluded/cold front down over MN that continues down over the Central Plains. Scattered rain showers are shifting through the area right now. A bit of a trough looks to shift through during the morning hours, which could kick off a bit of a rain/snow mix over the area, but not anticipating anything to stick should that occur. A lull is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, then an area of low pressure looks to drop in over ND and into the Upper Midwest. It looks like the heaviest of the precip associated with it will be just to the south of Duluth, but a definite chance of rain/snow mix is expected for Wednesday evening and possible persist into Thursday morning. Some minor accumulation is possible Wednesday night, but shouldn’t be anything to terrible. Just enough to make people realize that Winter is going to be coming soon.
Tuesday: Early morning rain showers, slight chance of a few flakes mixing in. High 42, Low 34.
Wednesday: Rain showers in afternoon changes over to rain/snow showers in late evening. High 39, Low 28.
TWC: Tuesday: Early morning rain showers. High 40, Low 33.
Wednesday: Mix of rain/snow showers. High 39, Low 31.
AW: Tuesday: Showers of rain and snow. High 44, Low 35.
Wednesday: More rain/snow showers expected. High 41, Low 28.
NWS: Tuesday: Chance of snow showers in morning, then rain/snow showers in afternoon. High 45, Low 38.
Wednesday: Chance of rain/snow showers throughout the day. High 43, Low 33.
WB: Tuesday: Early morning rain/snow mix possible, then mostly cloudy. High 45, Low 32.
Wednesday: Partly sunny in morning, then mostly cloudy with slight chance of more rain/snow showers in afternoon. High 42, Low 29.
WN: Tuesday: Partly cloudy with isolated showers. High 45, Low 37.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with chance of light wintry mix. High 43, Low 34.
Here we see some rain showers lifting northeastward over the region ahead of a front working through the state. A mix of precip will be keeping people busy over the next couple of days.
Here we go, back on the road again. We’re going from the Atlantic Coast to the Lake Superior shore, covering 1533 miles over the course of 3 days. Our pace will be 64.7mph, and our daily mileage will cover 517.6 miles. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
DAY ONE (Friday)
It appears that the only real threat for shower activity tomorrow will be in north Florida. It will be remote, as we will be through before noon and steer north into Georgia by the time convection really starts firing. We will stop for the day at the very apex of the Cumberland plateau in the city of Manchester, Tennessee.
DAY TWO (Saturday)
A dome of high pressure will be receding, pulling away from the center of the lower Ohio Valley, but we will be too far north by the time return flow kicks back in, and instead of worrying about light rain filtering north, we will simply enjoy some sunny skies and pretty boring driving. The day will end in La Salle, Illinois.
DAY THREE (Sunday)
High pressure also resides over northern Ontario, or it will over the weekend. Of course, this is cool Canadian high pressure, and at the southern flank of it, there is forecast to be an active boundary over southern Canada. Rain will move into northern Minnesota by the end of the weekend, and though we should anticipate a generally dry, pleasant day of driving, we should also expect a little bit of rain to finish things off.
I think we saw the worst forecast I have ever seen in the history of Victoria-weather. The Weather Channel was off by 23 degrees on the high temperature in Duluth on Tuesday AND Wednesday. I would give them some credit if they were forecasting for the airport on the shores of Lake Superior, but they were too warm for that as well. Accuweather had the best forecast, with Victoria-Weather checking in in 2nd place. We both forecast highs of near 80 on Tuesday, but the temperature climbed all the way to 87. By comparison, though, our forecast was pinpoint accurate.
Actuals: Tuesday, High 87, Low 65
Wednesday .10 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 80, Low 61
A little over a year ago, Duluth was victim to some terrible flooding that washed away streets, severely damaged the zoo an turned life upside down for many residents of the community. Let’s hope things go a little more smoothly this time around.
At 955AM, CT, Duluth was already reporting a temperature of 78 degrees with clear skies. West wind off of the cliffs on the west side of town helped to ensure summerlike temperatures and the sunny skies, avoiding an onshore, Lake Superior flow. A broader but weak trough north of the US is helping to produce a lower level shortwave over the Omaha area that is helping to inject moisture into southern Minnesota at this time, though in Duluth and the surrounding environs, things are quite comfortable.
The eddy moving through the Missouri Valley will lift north aided by some large scale lee troughing in the northern Plains. With the energy in place across Minnesota, this small twist in the atmosphere will prove to be quite noisy, with showers and thunderstorms expected across the state tomorrow evening. Those storms will lift north to Duluth by tomorrow evening, with showers and storms continuing to rage through the day on Wednesday, though with significantly less threat for severe weather, as the parent wave will have shifted towards Michigan. This system won’t do much for temperatures in the long term, but the preponderance of clouds and rain on Wednesday will likely mean temperatures will be a shade cooler.
Tomorrow – Late showers and storms, some of which may be intense, High 81, Low 60
Wednesday – Cloudy, with chances of rain through the morning, High 73, Low 60
TWC: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy High 64, Low 57
Wednesday – Scattered T-Storms High 57, Low 52
AW: Tomorrow – Very warm with times of clouds and sun High 80, Low 59
Wednesday – Variable cloudiness with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm; humid High 77, Low 61
NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, High 70, Low 58
Wednesday – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms High 65, Low 54
WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms High 71, Low 57
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming partly sunny. A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 75, Low 58
Well that’s interesting. Someone is going to do very very very badly on this forecast. What a remarkable difference in forecasts.