Snowfall tailing off in Duluth; strong winds to continue
The region's first winter storm dropped 3.1 inches of snow on Duluth by noon today. That's about all the Twin Ports will receive. "We are still bombing the South Shore, but it is starting to tail off here," National Weather Service meteorologist ...
The region's first winter storm dropped 3.1 inches of snow on Duluth by noon today. That's about all the Twin Ports will receive.
"We are still bombing the South Shore, but it is starting to tail off here," National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Steward said shortly after noon. "The winds are going to stay up. That is going to be the main focus for a while."
Snow is expected to dissipate across most of the region today, but strong north winds will blow the snow around, causing poor visibility and slippery roads.
Police officers and state patrol troopers were busy handling accidents in and around Duluth this morning.
"It's slick out here," Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Mark Baker said via cell phone from an accident scene on Piedmont above I-35. "There's a lot of crashes, slippery roads. Slow down, give yourself plenty of space."
Because winds never materialized out of the northeast to spur lake-enhancement, and because the snowfall center of the storm tracked farther east than expected, Northeastern Minnesota fell short of what had been forecast Tuesday.
But early the entire state of Wisconsin has been buried in snow, especially areas of the South Shore snowbelt, where more than a foot fell overnight.
The highest reports came from near Washburn and Bayfield where 15-17 inches had fallen and it was still snowing hard this morning.
"There was very heavy snow in Wisconsin just east of Superior. There's a report of 13 inches in South Range and heavy snow all the way across through Ashland along the South Shore," NWS meteorologist Tom Lonka said.
People near Lake Superior along the North Shore, in Duluth and down into Carlton County can expect to see north winds of 25 to 35 mph today, with gusts to 45 mph near the lake. The winds will cause blowing and drifting snow and local whiteout conditions. Driving will be hazardous today and this evening.
Cold Arctic air will spread across the region as the storm departs, the NWS said. Wind chills will drop as low as the 20s and 30s below zero tonight and Thursday morning.
Officials expect to decide by 3 p.m. whether Bentleyville will open tonight.
"It depends upon the weather," Bentleyville founder Nathan Bentley said. "As I told the city, I'm not hardcore about closing it down. I'll just play it by ear."
The Christmas lights display at Bayfront Festival Park has, so far, apparently weathered the storm well.
"I got some information from Park and Recs that everything held up fine down there overnight," Bentley said.
While Bentleyville has held up well to the storm, the wind did take a toll on many of the Bentleyville banners fastened to light poles around downtown. Many were flapping in today's winds, the plastic fasteners that were to hold their bottom edge in place broken.
"We need to get our crews out there and get those things fixed so they don't look tacky," Bentley said.
There was little to no snow up the North Shore on Tuesday night. Grass was still visible in yards in Two Harbors and the expressway was relatively clear. The wind matched that seen in other areas but only wisps of snow came across roads.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office reported no accidents related to the weather.
The temperature at 8 a.m. was 8 degrees.
Lake County Highway Department plows are hitting patchy spots where snow is sticking, said Neil Udenberg, the county's maintenance foreman. He said north-south roads have little snow as it blows right across. "There's a little more on the east-west roads."
He reported few slippery spots and no accidents in the county.
Crews are plowing and sanding but are being careful with salt because it will create melted snow spots on the road and cause more accumulation.
Udenberg said there is little to no snow as you go north from Two Harbors.
Mike Creger of the Lake County News-Chronicle contributed to this report.