Winter struck back with record May snowfalls over the past two days - coating the Northland in snow, and causing weather alerts lasting until 11 a.m. today.
All told, 10.6 inches of snow accumulated at Duluth International Airport, a record for May that also included a single day record of 8.3 on Wednesday alone. It was the snowiest May day on record since 5.5 inches fell in 1902.
Lake freighters and ships were moving all over the east end of Lake Superior but were hesitant on the western tip, where few moved out on the open water as the National Weather Service warning for gale force winds remained in effect.
Gusts up to 40 mph were reported on the lake with waves reaching 9-11 feet.
The heavy wet snow met temperatures above freezing Thursday morning, when main roadways started to clear.
“The precipitation should be moving out of here by noon or so,” said Steve Gohde, hydrologist and observing program leader for the National Weather Service in Duluth. “We’ll have maybe a little bit more snowfall on our snowboard - that record might change slightly.”
Gohde described county roads as gripped by slush and warned drivers to take it slow.
The Winter Storm Warning for snow was expected to continue to make travel “very hazardous or impossible in places,” the National Weather Service said.
A final 1-3 inches was expected by late morning, with the best chance for snow coming along the North Shore and Bayfield Peninsula. The snow fell throughout the Arrowhead region. Duluth and Cloquet registered the most snow - 10 inches each. Two Harbors was at 9.5 inches and Hermantown 9.1.
Two Harbors 9.5
Red Cliff 9.1
Lake Nebagamon, Wis. 8.5
Brule, Wis. 8.5
Poplar, Wis. 8.3
NE Duluth 8.1
Cornucopia, Wis. 7
Brule, Wis. 7
Washburn, Wis. 6.9
NW Two Harbors 6.5
Lester Park 6.2
The National Weather Service has been measuring snowfall since 1885. The snowiest May on record until this one came in 1954, with 8.1 inches for the month. The third most: 1950 with 6 inches. More recently, 4.5 inches fell in May 2010.