Heavy snow moving back into Northland, will continue Wednesday (with video)
Light snow continued to fall in Duluth this afternoon on top of 8 to 16 inches reported across the city overnight and this morning -- and there's more to come Wednesday across most of the Northland.
As much as 26 inches had fallen just north of Two Harbors by 8 p.m. and the National Weather Service in Duluth said that, while there may be a lull in the snow Tuesday afternoon and evening, another foot or more could fall on Wednesday before the storm moves east and is replaced by arctic cold.
Strong winds were blowing snow, re-drifting in some areas previously cleared.
"We will see heavy snow redevelop after midnight and into Wednesday," Carol Christenson of the National Weather Service in Duluth said.
The highest snowfall amounts are forecast along the higher terrain on the North Shore, between Proctor and Grand Marais.
A gale warning is posted for Lake Superior, with east winds to 45 mph and pushing waves to 14 feet. A winter storm warning has been posted for all of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin until 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Some Duluth neighborhoods on the hill had received more than 16 inches of new snow as of 2:30 p.m.Some residential streets remain unplowed and impassable, with heavy, wet snow and deep ruts. Several cars and SUVs were stuck at intersections and in alleys, especially those trying to get uphill on unplowed streets.
Superior received about 7 inches of snow, and city streets were slushy but mostly passable. Some rural areas in Douglas County received about a foot of snow, spotters reported. Main roads in the county were in good shape this morning.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that around Duluth, the arterial roads were mostly wet but slick spots were found in outlying areas. Drivers seemed to have acclimated to winter driving, one trooper said, and there were fewer accidents overnight and in the morning than on Monday.
The State Patrol reported 157 weather-related accidents all day Monday through 10 a.m. today. Ninety-eight accidents involved cars going off the road; 52 were accidents with no injuries, and seven accidents involved minor injuries.
There was one fatality near Aitkin when a car slid into the path of an oncoming car on Minnesota Highway 210. Statewide, troopers responded to a total of 265 accidents with damage to vehicles Monday and into Tuesday morning. There were 36 accidents with injuries across the state in the same time frame.
By the time the snow stops sometime Wednesday night, total accumulations from the three-day storm may exceed 20 inches from Grand Rapids through Duluth and up the North Shore. Many other parts of the Northland may see storm total snowfall well in excess of a foot. Gusty east winds are expected moving to northeast Wednesday before they begin to diminish.
The Duluth airport set a record for the date with 7.5 inches of snow Monday; the old record for Dec. 2 was 5 inches, set in 1928. The airport's storm total was up to 11.7 inches by 6 p.m. today.
The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation report difficult driving conditions across much of the region this morning. Several Northland school districts, including Duluth and Hermantown, canceled classes today, while others opted for a two-hour late start. The College of St. Scholastica campus was scheduled to open at 10 a.m.
In the wake of the heavy snow, temperatures are forecast to plummet -- with overnight lows possibly reaching the teens below zero by Thursday and Friday night. Daytime highs on Friday and Saturday may struggle to climb above zero.
Northland residents should try to clear the snow quickly -- because it's heavy, wet consistency means it may freeze like concrete once the cold air arrives in the wake of the storm.
News Tribune staff members Mike Creger and Andrew Krueger contributed to this report along with reporters at the Superior Telegram, Lake County News-Chronicle and Pine Journal.