DULUTH, MN– The first few of Spring have been rather kind to us, however, Mother Nature is deciding to throw a big curveball at us.
A strong storm system is set to slam the Northland with very strong winds and moderate to heavy snow.
Winter Storm Warnings are up for the entire Northland, which will continue through Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., but will expire at 1 a.m. Friday for Gogebic county.
Meteorologist Austin Haskins says the snow is set to move in during the mid to late morning Thursday across east Central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, reaching the Twin Ports around the noon hour and reach the Iron Range heading towards the mid to late afternoon. The models have been pushing the timing back due to the strong east winds at the head of the lake and some drier air at the surface.
As the low tracks to the north, snow will eventually spread over the Northland and become moderate to heavy throughout Thursday afternoon into Thursday Night. Folks in northern Wisconsin will see just enough warm air to see a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain, which in return will limit snow totals.
Haskins says the worst of the weather is expected to be Thursday afternoon into early Friday morning.
Along with the snow, very strong winds will accompany the storm, with the combination of a high to our far northeast, plus the low to the southwest. Winds will be out of the east and northeast around 15-30 mph, but 25-35 mph in the Twin Ports. We could see wind gusts as high as 35-50 mph, and could approach 60 mph in the Twin Ports.
With the strong winds in the forecast, a Lakeshore Flood Warning is in place through 1 a.m. Friday for parts of the North Shore, the Twin Ports and the South Shore.
Waves could reach 16 to 20 feet over Lake Superior with wind gusts as high as 60 mph. This could lead to Lakeshore flooding and damage, plus there are some ice chunks floating over the lake still, which could also cause damage. The lake level at the head of the lake sits at 603.32′, which is slightly lower from the October 2017 and 2018 storm, but slightly higher than April 2018’s storm. The current lake level is forecasted to rise.
The good news is that the precipitation is expected to decrease in intensity along with the winds decreasing throughout the day Friday, but we will still see some scattered rain and snow showers.
When the system departs Friday night into early Saturday morning, some parts of the Northland could see a decent amount of snow.
8-13″ is the possibility in the Twin Ports, Silver Bay, Aitkin, Grand Rapids, Walker and Brainerd areas. 5-9″ is expected for the Arrowhead, Borderland, Hinckley, and parts of northern Wisconsin. 3-7″ is expected areas SE of an Ashland to Hayward to Cumberland line. The lesser totals are expected in northern Wisconsin due to the potential of the snow mixing with sleet and freezing rain.
Either way, road conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday afternoon into Friday morning, so if you plan to travel, use extreme caution and pack an emergency kit should you become stranded.
Stay with CBS 3 throughout the day Thursday and Friday as Haskins and Dave Anderson will provide updates regarding this spring storm. Also download our mobile app and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates as well, and let us know what you are seeing via email or social media.
Here is a Facebook live Haskins did at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning on the winter storm.