Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Duluth, MN

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FXUS63 KDLH 172051

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Duluth MN
251 PM CST Sat Feb 17 2018

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Sunday)
Issued at 251 PM CST Sat Feb 17 2018

A cold front was moving through the forecast area at 1930Z. Some low
and mid clouds have formed behind the front over much of northeast
Minnesota. Last of the low stratus was moving out of Price County. A
mainly clear sky is expected through the evening with surface
ridging covering the region. Late tonight, the ridging moves over
eastern Lake Superior, while a closed mid level circulation moves
out of eastern Montana into the Northern Plains by 12Z Sunday.
Meanwhile, its surface reflection reaches western South Dakota.
Still expecting snow to develop ahead of this system and reach the
southwest quad of the forecast area after 09Z. Models have com into
better agreement with this onset of the snow, including the short
term hires models. The ARW/NMM/GEM are a bit strong/fast with some
moderate snow bands well into the St. Croix River valley by 12Z
Sunday. Prefer the slower timing of the other models and keeping the
snow farther west.

Model differences in the QPF amounts, snow amounts, placement are
still a concern Sunday. The NAM/ECMWF favor the northern half of the
forecast area for the higher QPF/snow in the morning, while the
GFS/GEM favor the central/southern sections. Regardless, they do
agree on the location of the surface low center to the MN/SD border
by 18Z. There is also some displacement in the FGEN signal over the
region, but there is plenty of omega moving through the area, along
with upper level divergence. Thaler Q-G divergence points to the
best lift being focused over the southern sections in the morning.
With these differences, have a blend for pops. Forecast soundings
point to all snow.

Differences in the QPF placement and snow amounts continue Sunday
afternoon. The GEM has the most QPF/snow and was discounted. Blended
the GFS/NAM/ECMWF for the coverage of QPF/snow and a more northerly
track. Based on the more northern track, have opted to add
Koochiching, Itasca, northern Cass, northern and central St. Louis,
as well as inland Lake and Cook counties to the winter storm watch.
A disjointed FGEN signal, and best upper level divergence bisecting
the forecast area, points toward the need for a blend of solutions.
Soundings still favor all snow in the afternoon. Some lingering
snow on the backside of the departing surface low over northwest
Wisconsin may provide an additional half inch.

.LONG TERM...(Sunday night through Saturday)
Issued at 251 PM CST Sat Feb 17 2018

A positively tilted trough will dig from the Pacific Northwest late
on Sunday into the Intermountain West by late on Monday. At 850 hPa
a baroclinic zone will setup across the Mid Mississippi River Valley
and extend southwestward to the Central Plains. Along the baroclinic
zone a quasi-stationary front will set up and be the focus for
developing an elongated area low pressure somewhere in the Mid
Mississippi River Valley. This will bring the next round of
precipitation to the Northland. Guidance shows a broad swath of
light precipitation extending northwest of the developing low
beginning early Monday morning continuing through Tuesday, with a
frontogenetical band setting up somewhere in MN/WI. This is due to a
shortwave trough embedded within the longwave trough lifting
through. There is a lot of spread between the GFS/ECMWF/NAM and GEM
guidance in the location and intensity of the precipitation band
that sets up over the CWA, so confidence is low in precipitation and
snow totals at this point. The difference is likely due to
convection developing along where the low pressure system is
developing. Suspect that the latest GEM is the most realistic
solution at this point in time with a tighter precipitation swath,
which would bring less QPF/snow to northern Minnesota. However,
opted to keep a blended solution as guidance is still all over the
place. High temperatures on Monday through Wednesday will generally
be in the teens. Low temperatures will be in the single digits above
and below zero.

Precipitation will come to an end late on Tuesday. High pressure
will build in behind the departing system, shifting flow aloft to a
westerly. This will advect warmer air into the region on Wednesday
and Thursday. Highs on Wednesday and Thursday range from the teens
to the upper 20s. Thursday morning lows will be in the single digits
below zero. The forecast becomes less certain Friday and Saturday as
guidance is all over the place with timing, location and intensity
of the next trough digging in from the Pacific Northwest. The
GEM/ECMWF are currently the slower and drier solution for the
region, while the GFS is faster with more precipitation for the
Northland. Due to the uncertainty stuck with a compromise solution.
This brings chances of snow on Friday/Saturday with highs in the
30s and lows in the teens.


.AVIATION...(For the 18Z TAFS through 18Z Sunday afternoon)
Issued at 1137 AM CST Sat Feb 17 2018

Fair weather cumulus has developed across parts of northeast
Minnesota early this afternoon per observations. This has been
well handled by the latest RAP/HRRR guidance, so have leaned
heavily on this data for the next 6 to 12 hours. Ceilings are
right around 2000-2500 feet, so there may be periods of MVFR
ceilings. In addition, winds will be gusty as the mixed layer has
developed in the wake of a departing cold front.

Expect a return to VFR conditions this evening as the cumulus
layer dissipates once the sun sets. Gusty winds will also subside
as the mixed layer decouples. Snow will gradually spread in from
west to east Sunday morning and into the afternoon as a warm
front lifts across northern Minnesota. This will gradually lower
ceilings to MVFR levels with MVFR/IFR visibility. Most confident
in visibilities at HIB/INL, less certain at DLH/HYR and BRD as the
latest high resolution guidance keeps these sites on the southern
periphery of the precipitation shield.


DLH   5  23   7  17 /  10  90  10  50
INL  -1  15  -8  11 /  10 100   0   0
BRD   7  28   6  16 /  50  60  20  50
HYR   5  33  13  20 /  10  60  30  70
ASX   9  30  13  18 /   0  80  50  70


MN...Winter Storm Watch from Sunday morning through Sunday afternoon
     for MNZ010>012-018>021-025-026.



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