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10/11-13 FCST: Lake Superior Snow and Wind event

I'm very seriously considering heading out the door at the crack of Dawn to experience one of the strongest wind events in the last couple of years for Upper Mich. and the Lake Superior shoreline areas from the Keweenaw on west to the IWD area. :eek:

Brief synopsis: Cyclogenesis evolving over Wisc. and bombing out to a 982mb. low by 0Z Thurs. W to NW flow behind the storm over western Lk. Sup. will open the floodgates of only slightly modified artic air from Wed. night thru Thurs. 850mb. temps progged to be as low as -12C... couple that with water temps around 12-13C across most of the lake creates delta T's around 25C difference... lapse rates will be amazing, localized lake effect precip. bands may harbour small hail, maybe a waterspout or two... just inland away from the lake, r/s mix changes quickly to S+ due to lake enhancement... best chances of that will be between Ironwood and Bruce Crossing around the 0Z timeframe. GFS has the system slowly occluding and taking its sweet time moving to the north and weakening whilst the ETA has it deeper yet (974mb) but moves it a little quicker to the NE.

I'm hoping the GFS stays consistent with this being they have a tendency to get overly hyped up on pressure depth... and oh, those lessons learned last year on exaggerating the lower heights...but still, I'm expecting Thursday to be a wild day on the western shores of my beloved adopted home of the Keweenaw Peninsula... winds to 45-50kts, wave heights to 15ft. should make for some great, albeit chilly video.

Snow wise, the NWS in MQT has issued a winter storm watch for Wed. evening thru Thurs. not sure on the amounts they are expecting... but I'm going for localized amounts up to 10"... if cyclogenesis occurs further west... the Keweenaw may get dryslotted and amounts will be lower, but will still get at least 3-6". Also up in the CMX area, elevations above 1000ft may get several inches. As you may know, unidirectional winds surface to the 700's are optimal for good lake effect... this should be the case except the winds may be too strong for bands to get real heavy.. still, a respectable amount of snow is to fall and my concern is for power outages and some tree damage due some being still foliated.

If I'm able to do this, I'll be leaving OKC at dawn, should make DLH by 11pm Tue. and then to CMX by early afternoon Wed. I'll be returning home by Sunday most likely.

Now... your probably thinking... poor Rocky's elevator is not going all the way to the top :D ...this is almost equally my passion as severe weather is, I may not have the opportunity again for awhile...so I'll seize the moment.... hopefully I'll be able to scrape up the funds and appease the Mrs. Plus, this is my most favourite area in the world...and is always a blessing to witness a great storm like this expected on the lake.


Cell: 405-226-2996
Never under-estimate the Keweenaw... The areas that experience the greatest snowfalls are typically around the ghost town of Delaware, which has good uplift from topographical features AND can benefit from lake effect snowfall from ANY direction. I've been seriously considering putting a "research station" (more like cabin) around that area just to get the full experience of +300 inches of snowfall (per year).

One thing to note is that quite a few roads in the Keweenaw are "seasonal". If you travel too far before the snow starts, you may very well find yourself stuck. If you stick to the main highways, you'll be fine - they do a very good job at keeping those roads clean, even in 18-24 inch storms.

Another issue is downed trees and loss of power. When I was up there last Monday, almost all of the trees still had leaves (most with vivid colors)... There was also a minor windstorm that took down many trees (across the road), and it usually takes 24-36 hours before a crew can remove them. I've never experienced a power outage up there, but the power only runs across a few major lines... If one of those major lines go down, entire towns can be without power for +12 hours.

Also, if you're too close to the lake, you'll get most rain in a situation like this... Another issue is strong winds shearing apart any convection, with a limitation on lake residence time.

My target for the best combination of snow and wind: Delaware, Michigan
Robert wrote:

Also, if you're too close to the lake, you'll get most rain in a situation like this... Another issue is strong winds shearing apart any convection, with a limitation on lake residence time.

My target for the best combination of snow and wind: Delaware, Michigan

Precisely, and Keweenaw County may be almost too far north for signifigant accumulation despite their elevation due to greater influence of the lake this time of year with surface temps still in the low 50'sF... HOWEVER, tonights GFS and WRF have some amazingly low heights for Thursday afternoon... still with the very deep low a little north of Lake Nipigon... good cyclonic curvature aiding in lift plus those heights... your target may have merit.

As much as I want to see the snow, its that lake I want to experience, and I have numerous points I know of for good vantage points to film from. I'm hoping to capture the essence of the threatening clouds and the stormy lake... instability with those delta t's ought to be incredible... could easily see a couple of thunderstorms as well, especially Wednesday PM into the evening.

Snow wise, NWS in MQT is expecting up to a foot total in favoured areas... and this maybe a reality above 1300ft elevation. By Friday... the artic air pretty much starts draining out and with the large circulation of the cyclone... modified air pumped in from the Atantic will get entrained, hence the reason that a rain/snow mix is expected by Sat. ... and unfortunately, I'll be heading home that day with a stop in MSP Sat. night.

Looking further down the road... models are consistent with an active pattern that not only may bring additional bouts of below normal temps and possible snow but chances for severe weather in the southern plains and lower Mississippi Valley...

As of now, first measurable rain in two weeks here at the farm in Piedmont, and I have a feeling this is the first of several rain events between now and month's end... bring it on!!

Anyway... hopefully I can give a summary of what I saw once I return and even some pics if possible.

Peace Rocky&family
Well, looking at the Eta, it is better looking then most of the tropical systems that have hit the USA this year. Ahh the frozen hurricane.

One problem, look at the major drop in temps from today through Thursday. I'm busting out the cold weather gear early as the forecasts overnight temps will be in the 20s.
I'm thinking about heading up... AFD from the NWS (along with the latest 18Z NAM) suggests over 30 inches of snow over a +36 hour period. As for wind, the pressure gradient is awesome as the storm really winds up to 970-975MB. I am kind of concerned about the lack of strong winds within the column across much of the area. Even with such a tight pressure gradient, 850MB winds actually struggle to get much above 50knts. I'm going to be somewhat liberal and call for gusts up to 55mph inland, with 60mph possible along the shore.

Latest 18Z NAM cross sections are pretty unstable, with high VV's centered across the M28 corridor from Ironwood eastward to roughly L'Anse. I suspect that area and points northward to just south of Houghton will experience 36 hour storm total accumulations of over 24 inches, with isolated higher amounts. As for the dry slot, it stays well east of the western UP as the system curls up...

Blizzard conditions call for wind gusts over 35MPH and visibility 1/4 mile or less for three hours or more. I'm going to say we'll be looking at an extended period of blizzard or severe blizzard conditions form most of the western UP.
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I've decided to sit this one out... NAM and GFS have been backing off on QPF over my chosen area in the 3-6 hour timesteps. Total QPF looks to be in the 1.25 to 1.50 inch range, but that gets pretty thin when stretched out over 60 hours on a 9 to 1 ratio. NAM has been pushing the storm further and further north, rather than being almost stationary over Lake Superior. Instead, the SFC system makes a giant circle from Superior to the Hudson Bay, and then back again.

One thing very interesting was a local run of the WRF at 20km resolution. It was based on the 00Z NAM and had this thing remaining relatively close to Lake Superior while deepening to an incredible 962MB!

I'll take my chances further south and hope that a strongly forced line of showers and isolated thunderstorms are able to transport down the 50knts at 850MB. All in all, this storm really seems like a dud for it's depth at the SFC and at 500MB. The lack of +60knts anywhere between the SFC and 700MB in the CAA region really puts a lid on wind potential, most likey isolated advisory criteria stuff along the windward lake shores. The area that might be the most interesting would be the higher elevations of the Keweenaw, which might pick up 20-30 inches of snow.
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Looks like the big wind show won't arrive until tomorrow. RUC forecasts 50-60knts sustained at the Big Mac by 12Z as the low drops south and increases pressure gradient force dramatically. It FINALLY looks like that secondary jet axis will develop with 50-60knts within the mixing layer stretching across most of central Canada, southeastward across most of Michigan, and stretching into southwestern Ontario.

NAM isn't as aggressive as the RUC, but still has a solid 50knts in the mixing layer across a widespread area. If your goal is to see wave action and winds, I wouldn't leave just yet. Looks like the best play will be the Keweenaw and and the northwestern facing shorelines. The bridge would also be a pretty interesting play with 50-60knt storm force winds.

As for current observations, I did see a few upper 40's to lower 50's (gusts) on some METARs up in Canada earlier, so the models don't seem to be too far off. NAM has been trending stronger and stronger with low level winds.

I'm guessing many areas will see high end advisory criteria / low end warning, with solid warning criteria experienced along the lake shores.