Winter storm follows warmest day in 3 months
The Northland saw its warmest day in three months on Tuesday as the official temperature soared to 40 in Duluth, 41 in Hibbing, 42 in Ashland and even 46 at Aitkin.
That was the warmest day since before Thanksgiving, when it hit 44 at Duluth International Airport on Nov. 20, and the first time above freezing since it hit 34 on Jan. 12.
Joggers dodged puddles and people ventured out without jackets for the first time this winter -- one of the few warm spells in what has been a persistently cold winter. The melt will continue with highs expected to vault back into the upper 30s today and Thursday, but not quite as warm as Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
The good weather fortune will come crashing down Thursday into Friday when heavy snow is expected across much of the region.
Forecasters are tracking a major winter snowstorm that was expected to come off the Pacific Ocean, dip into the U.S. southwest and then rise full-tilt toward Wisconsin, where up to a foot of snow is possible in some areas. A winter storm warning has been posted for the northern two-thirds of the Badger State. A blizzard watch has been posted for southeastern Minnesota.
A winter storm warning also has been posted for extreme eastern Minnesota, from the Twin Cities through Duluth and up the North Shore, where significant snow, up to 8 inches or more, is possible, depending on the exact track of the storm.
Snow should hit the Northland on Thursday evening, snow hard overnight and should diminish by Friday morning.
Areas to the north and west such as Brainerd, Grand Rapids and International Falls are expected to see less snow.
The winter storm also will bring strong winds, causing drifting and reduced visibility for drivers, then usher in much lower temperatures on its heels. High temperatures will hit only the mid-teens on Friday and around 10 Saturday and Sunday.