National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Enhanced Risk for Severe Thunderstorms Across the Upper Midwest; Flash Flooding Possible from the Upper Midwest to Southern Plains and Desert Southwest Through Friday

Portions of the Upper Midwest will see an increased threat for severe thunderstorms through this evening, with a few strong tornadoes possible. The same region remains on alert for additional flash flood concerns. Heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding across the Desert Southwest today, and Southern Plains by Friday. Finally, Major-to-record river flooding continues across the Carolinas. Read More >

 

   

Storm Summary
The heaviest snow, of generally 8-12 inches, was found along a line from Brainerd to Mille Lacs Lake and Hinckley in Minnesota, then east to Hayward and Park Falls in Wisconsin. Sarona and Hayward in northern Wisconsin, both reported 14 inches of snow.

Although the Duluth/Superior Area was missed by the heavy snow, intense winds and periods of blizzard conditions pounded the Twin Ports region through Tuesday night, March 22nd. The Duluth, Superior, and Cloquet Airports reported winds gusts in the 40-50 mph range Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. Several communities in and around the Twin Ports reported power outages through Tuesday evening.

A MNDOT weather station on the Blatnik Bridge was gusting well into the 60-65 mph range through the night with a peak wind of 70 mph.  At noon on Wednesday, this station was still gusting to 60 mph.

 

Peak Wind Gusts
Blatnik Bridge/Duluth......70 mph 
Duluth Airport..................56 mph 
Cloquet, M
N.....................51 mph 
Superior, WI......................47 mph 
Park
Pointe/Duluth...........51 mph

Sky Harbor/Duluth...........56 mph
Two Har
bors, MN............51 mph

Grand Maris, MN.............43 mph
Silver Bay, MN.................43 mph
Maple, WI.........................50 mph
Ashland, WI.....................40 mph

 

Preliminary Snowfall Reports
2011 March 22-23
(Click on Image for larger Map)
 
View the List of Snowfall Reports issued by the National Weather Service in Duluth.  
Why wasn't there more snow around Duluth?

During this storm, the Northland was situated between very dry air associated with high pressure over Canada, and low pressure with lots of moisture over Iowa. The contrast led to a sharp cut-off in snowfall. The dry air was able to push the storm track slightly further south, resulting in the heavy snow being found just a county or so further south that expected. However, even the light snowfall resulted in blizzard conditions at times in the communities of West Duluth, Superior, Proctor, and Cloquet when combined with the 50-60 mph wind gusts.

What is a Blizzard?
You can have blizzard conditions with very little falling snow. A blizzard is the combination of sustained winds or frequent gusts ≥35 mph and falling or blowing snow that reduces visibilites to less than a quarter mile for 3 hours or longer.