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Today’s weather was absolutely fantastic for late January.  What a warm up!  We saw widespread highs in the low 40s, and indeed across a lot of the Upper Midwest, temperatures were able to rise well above average region-wide.  Duluth specifically had a high of 41 today; close to a record (our record for today is 46, set back in 1908).  This warmth isn’t expected to continue past today, but it has been a nice respite from the extreme cold we’ve had most of the month of January so far.

Tonight, with mostly cloudy skies, we’ll cool back down toward the 20s and teens.  It’ll be coldest in the Iron Range and up toward the Canadian border.  But overall temperatures will remain above average and above zero overnight tonight.  Tomorrow, we’ll have some patchy fog in the morning that will likely be gone by 9:00 or 10:00.  Clouds remain constant in our sky and we’ll see high temperatures near freezing by Sunday afternoon.  We’ll be watching the development of this Midwestern low pressure; it is the storm system that’s expected to be a snow-maker for our region by late Sunday night and through the day on Monday.

There’s been a lot of attention paid to this storm this week – and unfortunately there is still quite a bit of uncertainty with certain elements.  Let’s first talk about what we are certain of: it seems quite certain that there will be a lot of moisture with this storm, which will mean that there will be some very high snow totals for the area that is hardest hit by the core of this storm.  It is likely that the core of this storm will propagate through some portion of the Northland, but the uncertainty of where that will be has caused a drastic difference in some areas in terms of the expected snowfall.  For Duluth, there is a chance for less than an inch on one model and a chance for more than six on another.  Why the difference?  Just a 20-mile difference east or west on the center of this low pressure could have that big of an impact on where the cutoff of snow or “not” snow will occur.  It still remains most likely that the snow will begin in earnest for our region on Monday morning and be heaviest during the day in Wisconsin and the U.P.  We should prepare for high winds, low visibility, and difficult driving conditions.  It also looks quite certain that the further north in Minnesota you are, the less likely you are to get measurable snowfall from this storm.

After Monday, the chilly air comes back.  We’re not expecting the extreme cold again, but seasonable highs in the upper teens and low 20s look likely for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week.  Those days will be relatively quiet as well, with variable cloud cover, quite a bit of sunshine, and calmer winds.  Long range models are predicting a chance for a brief warm up on Friday, ahead of another potential snow-making storm system on Saturday.  With highs expected to be in the mid-30s by Friday, a light wintry mix is possible by Friday evening as well.

-Meteorologist WILLIAM SEAY