10 Year Anniversary of Northland Blizzard
A powerful winter storm aimed at the Northland at the end of February and continued through the Beginning of March. It was an interesting setup that began this storm. The winter of 2006-2007 was observed by a weak El Nino which typically calls for warmer temperatures and less snowfall. The winter season was just that with snowfall well below average. Near the end of February, on the 22nd, Duluth only recorded 24 inches of snow when the average was 62.5 inches. This was roughly 39 inches below average. A weaker snow storm came into the Northland a week before the blizzard providing about a foot of snow across the area, but the main storm system was still over the Pacific.
There were two low pressures that combined into one mammoth storm system. Snow began late on the 28th from a Northern low pressure that was moving through the Northern Plains and Northern Midwest. In the meantime, another low pressure was quickly developing over the Texas Panhandle. This storm has bought a winter aspect and a severe weather aspect. As this low pressure moved north, the two levels of energy combined into one large system over Iowa. The strength of the storm which is measured in pressure reached 977 millibars. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. A normal snow storm that comes through the Northland is impressive if you see a pressure of around 990 millibars.
Snow continued all day on the 1st and ended late on the 2nd. Wind gusts from 40 to 60 mph caused snow drifts well over 10 feet especially along Park Point where snow drifts reached the roofs of homes. Snowfall totals were in excess of 20 inches for many Northland locations but not everyone saw the heavy snow including International Falls. The Duluth International Airport saw around 20 inches of snow.
Farther south in the warm sector of this storm, 68 tornadoes were reported as well as 136 wind reports and 67 hail reports totaling 271 reports on March 1st. Tragically 20 people were killed from the severe weather and 27 people were injured from these storms including some students at a local school in Enterprise Alabama where a hallway wall collapsed.
-Meteorologist Gino Recchia