A large fall storm system is taking aim on the Northland, and should control the regional weather for a good portion of this week. There will be a variety of impacts from this storm, and we will detail those impacts on this web page. As other information comes in during the storm, you can also use this web page as a resource to find out what happened.
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Comparisons To November 1998 Storm
This storm is drawing comparisons to one that happened back on November 10, 1998. There are good reasons for that comparison. For example, the upper level pattern is forecast to be remarkably similar to what happened almost 12 years ago:
|Analyzed 500 mb map from November 10, 1998, Image courtesy of NOAA Central Library||Forecast 500mb map for 7 AM Tuesday, October 25, 2010 by the GFS forecast model|
Simply glancing at the two maps side-by-side, you can certainly see the similarities.
Potential To Break A Record?
The November 1998 storm also had a very intense surface low pressure center, as you can see on this archived surface map (also from NOAA Central Library). The 1998 storm set a Minnesota state record for lowest sea level pressure at Austin and Albert Lea. The barometric pressure dipped to 28.43 inches, or 962.6 millibars. Most of the weather forecast models that we use here at NWS Duluth suggest that the surface pressure in the center of the low could approach or even break that record on Tuesday afternoon.
For comparison, 960mb is typically equivalent to approximately a borderline Category 2 / Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic basin. Note that there are big differences between a tropical system (hurricane) and extra-tropical system (what we see around here) that prevent us from seeing similar winds to a hurricane with the same pressure. Also note that hurricane ratings are based on the wind speed of the storm, NOT the central pressure. However, the central pressure often correlates to certain intensities of storms in a rule-of-thumb fashion.
Pressure Records at Duluth and International Falls
The lowest sea level pressure dating back to 1948 at International Falls was 971.9 millibars or 28.70 inches of mercury, which was recorded on October 10, 1949. The lowest sea level pressure recorded at Duluth was 964.3 millibars or 28.48 inches of mercury, which was recorded on November 10, 1998.
What Happened In The 1998 Storm?
The November 1998 storm was an extremely intense low pressure system. Wind gusts up to 90 mph were recorded in the southern parts of Minnesota where drier air wrapped around the southern fringes of the low, and snow fell on the back side of the low in Northwest Minnesota - where blizzard conditions were reported. The heaviest snow total in that area was in Canby, MN where 13.5 inches fell. 8.2 inches of snow fell in Duluth, and wind gusts at the head of the lake near the lakeshore were as high as 77 mph. The winds were likely stronger in the immediate Twin Ports area due to a funnelling effect by the local terrain. Waves reached as high as 20 feet. Otherwise, the strongest winds were in southern parts of Minnesota and into southern Wisconsin.
Historical Duluth Area "Nor' Easters"