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Winter storm warnings issued for the Northland

A biker makes his way through a steady snowfall near East Superior Street in Duluth in March 2014. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Northland residents shouldn’t have much trouble getting to work and school on Wednesday morning. Getting home may be another story.

A late-season snowstorm remains on track to bring a swath of heavy snow to much of the region during the day Wednesday. The heaviest snow is expected from Pine County east across Northwestern Wisconsin, including Hayward and Ashland, where snow totals may exceed a foot.

The Twin Ports will be on the northern edge of that band, the National Weather Service reported, with forecast accumulations of about 6 to 10 inches. There is likely to be a sharp drop-off in snow totals toward the Iron Range.

In addition to the heavy, wet snow, northeast winds may increase to 30 to 35 mph near the Lake Superior shore on Wednesday, with gusts possibly in excess of 45 mph.

“It’s going to be a nasty day,” said Brian Tentinger, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Duluth.

The storm’s timing may be especially problematic for workers and students. There may be little if any snow during the Wednesday morning commute, but the precipitation is expected to pick up by late morning. The brunt of the storm is forecast to hit in the afternoon, when snowfall rates may reach 1 to 2 inches an hour at times.

“(Driving conditions) will deteriorate pretty rapidly, especially late Wednesday morning and early afternoon,” Tentinger said.

The heaviest snow is forecast to wind down Wednesday night. Winter storm warnings and advisories are in effect for most of the region from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning; scroll down for more specific forecast information.

Ice ashore

Gale warnings are in effect for western Lake Superior, and Tentinger said the strong northeast winds may drive lake ice ashore on Minnesota Point and the South Shore.

Record low

International Falls set a record with a low of 5 above zero on Tuesday morning; the previous record low for April 15 was 12, set in 1962.

Tuesday’s low at the Duluth airport was 12 above zero - just one degree from the daily record of 11, set in 1935. The average low in Duluth for April 15 is 30 degrees.

Warm-up by the weekend

After a blustery day with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s today, a warm-up is in the forecast to help melt any snow that falls.

The forecast for Thursday in the Twin Ports calls for highs near 40 under partly sunny skies. Highs should climb into the 40s by Saturday, and perhaps touch 50 degrees on Sunday.

EXPANDED FORECAST INFORMATION

Duluth, Cloquet, Two Harbors

A winter storm warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. Light snow Wednesday morning is forecast to increase in intensity by midday, with the heaviest snow falling during the afternoon. The snow is expected to diminish Wednesday night.

Storm snow totals of 6 to 10 inches are expected, with the heaviest amounts from southern Carlton County into Duluth. Lesser totals are expected north and west of Duluth.

Sustained northeast winds off Lake Superior may reach 30 to 35 mph, with gusts possibly in excess of 45 mph near the lake. The winds, combined with the snow, may reduce visibilities to less than a quarter-mile at times.

Superior, Ashland, Hayward, Hurley, Spooner

A winter storm warning is in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. Light snow Wednesday morning is forecast to increase in intensity by early afternoon, with the heaviest snow falling during the afternoon hours. The snow is expected to diminish early Thursday morning.

Storm snow totals of 10 to 15 inches are expected, with the heaviest amounts forecast from Minong and Gordon east toward Ashland and Hurley.

Sustained northeast winds may reach 20 to 25 mph, with gusts possibly in excess of 35 mph near Lake Superior. The winds, combined with the snow, may reduce visibilities to less than a quarter-mile at times.

Hinckley, Grantsburg, Aitkin, Brainerd

A winter storm warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. Light snow is forecast to increase in intensity by late Wednesday morning, with the heaviest snow falling during the afternoon. The snow is expected to diminish Wednesday night.

Storm snow totals of 10 to 14 inches are expected in Pine and Burnett counties, with 6 to 9 inches to the west.

Sustained northeast winds may reach 15 to 25 mph, with higher gusts. The winds, combined with the snow, may reduce visibilities to less than a quarter-mile at times.

Iron Range, Grand Marais, Lutsen

A winter weather advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. Light snow Wednesday morning is forecast to increase in intensity by midday, with the heaviest snow falling during the afternoon. The snow is expected to diminish Wednesday night.

Storm snow totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected. Gusty northeast winds, combined with the snow, may reduce visibilities to less than a quarter-mile at times.

Hill City, Pine River

A winter weather advisory is in effect from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. Light snow Wednesday morning is forecast to increase in intensity by midday, with the heaviest snow falling during the afternoon. The snow is expected to diminish Wednesday night.

Storm snow totals of 4 to 8 inches are expected. Gusty northeast winds, combined with the snow, may reduce visibilities to less than a quarter-mile at times.

Check back to www.duluthnewstribune.com for updates on the weather and weather-related closings and cancellations.
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