Christmas Eve snow could hamper travelIf it seems as if you’ve been shoveling a lot lately, that it’s getting harder to throw snow over those piles, you aren’t alone.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
If it seems as if you’ve been shoveling a lot lately, that it’s getting harder to throw snow over those piles, you aren’t alone.
It snowed at least a trace — and often much more — on 19 of the first 23 days of December in Duluth.
Duluth saw 6.7 inches from Saturday night to Monday morning. So far this month the National Weather Service has recorded more than 37 inches of snow, vaulting into sixth place in the list of snowiest Decembers on record. For the season so far, Duluth has seen 42 inches of snow. And there’s nearly 20 inches on the ground at the airport, with much more in some of the snowiest neighborhoods and up the North Shore.
And more is on the way today.
An Alberta Clipper is forecast to bring 2 to 4 inches across most of the Northland this afternoon and evening, with snow expected across most of Minnesota. Some areas could see up to 5 inches of new snow, said Steve Gohde, observation program leader for the Weather Service in Duluth.
The heaviest snow is expected to hit in the later afternoon-early evening hours, just as many Northland residents are taking to the road for Christmas travel. A winter weather advisory is in effect from noon until midnight tonight, with strong winds pushing the snow around, snarling roadways and reducing visibility.
“It’s going to snow fairly hard for a few hours, but it should be out of here by Christmas Day. Maybe some lingering flurries,” he said.
The Christmas Eve snow will push this month up higher in the record book. And there’s still a week to go in December — plenty of time to take over the 63-year record for snowiest December from 1950.
Meanwhile, the South Shore snowbelt continued to dig out from a major dump of new lake-effect snow from Saturday night through Monday. Ashland reported more than 32 inches of new snow since Saturday evening, with 12-18 inches common along the U.S. Highway 2 corridor from just east of Superior to Ironwood.
Snow-covered roads were reported across the Northland on Monday, and officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation urged motorists to slow down, noting dozens of accidents and spinouts in recent days were caused by motorists driving too fast for slippery road conditions.
State and local plow crews have simply been unable to keep up with nearly constant snowfall and wind-blown drifts. Meanwhile, unusually cold temperatures have rendered melting chemicals such as salt less useful, so motorists shouldn’t expect dry pavement conditions.
Keep gas handy for the snowblower. There’s another clipper system expected Friday and an even stronger snow system could move across the region Saturday night. Expect continued blasts of arctic air in between snowstorms, including wind chill levels this morning ranging from 20 below zero to near 40 below zero across northern Minnesota.