Blustery conditions cause power outages; snow possible in Northland later this week

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Duluth News Tribune

Howling northerly winds gusting to near 60 mph downed trees, caused power outages and made driving difficult at times in the Northland on Tuesday. Relatively calm conditions are expected Wednesday before another storm system may bring snow to the region Thursday into Friday.

Duluth city crews were at work along the 2800 block of East First Street in the Congdon Park neighborhood during the morning hours Tuesday after a couple of large limbs from a silver maple fell and crushed the roof of a parked car.

Officials with Bentleyville, the annual holiday light display that’s currently in setup phase at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, reported that some displays and tents were downed and damaged by the wind. Volunteers are needed tonight from 5-8 p.m. and this Saturday and Sunday from 8:30-4 p.m. to construct the display, which opens to the public on Nov. 18. Find details at bentleyvilleusa.org.

At the peak Tuesday morning, Minnesota Power reported about 660 customers without power. Nearly all customers had power restored by late afternoon.

The highest wind gust in the Northland reported to the National Weather Service was 59 mph, at the Silver Bay Marina early Tuesday. Duluth's Sky Harbor Airport reported a gust to 51 mph, and there were gusts of 49 mph at the Grand Marais harbor and 47 mph at the Duluth International Airport and the Cloquet Carlton County Airport.

To the east, a weather station at Stannard Rock — a lighthouse on an isolated reef in eastern Lake Superior about 45 miles north-northeast of Marquette, Mich. — reported a gust of 77 mph.

Utility crews were kept busy in the Northland, responding to several outages in Duluth — the Chester Park and Congdon Park neighborhoods saw some of the largest outages — as well as on the Iron Range and in the Esko area.

“The majority of our outages are in the Duluth area — all weather-related,” Minnesota Power spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said Tuesday morning. “For how windy it is, we are actually seeing fewer outages than one might expect.”

Lake Country Power, Xcel Energy and other utilities serving the Northland also had crews responding to outages in their service areas.

In the wake of the wind, a relatively quiet day is expected across the Northland Wednesday before another storm system arrives for Thursday and Friday, bringing a chance of rain and snow.

“Accumulating snowfall is forecast Thursday night continuing through Friday. Snow may continue into the weekend, especially over northwest Wisconsin where lake enhancement is possible,” the Weather Service reported Tuesday. “There is still a decent amount of uncertainty regarding snowfall amounts due to low confidence in the track of the system. At this time, the best chance for several inches of snow will be over the Arrowhead of Minnesota and along portions of the South Shore of Lake Superior.”

To the west, winter storm watches have been issued for northwestern Minnesota for Thursday and Friday, for the potential of 2 to 4 inches of snow.

And looking into early next week in the Northland, the Weather Service is keeping an eye on another storm system that may bring snow to parts of the region late Sunday into Monday.