More than 21 inches of new snow near Washburn
Ongoing heavy snow is expected through Monday night into Tuesday.
DULUTH — A two-day storm moving across the Northland has already brought 18 inches of new snow to some areas.
The National Weather Service in Duluth issued winter storm warnings for much of the region, mainly south of U.S. Highway 2 in Minnesota and all of Northwestern Wisconsin, in effect through Tuesday night. A winter weather advisory is posted for far-northern Minnesota, where less snow is expected to fall.
By 7 p.m. Monday, the Weather Service reported widespread 2-9 inches of new snow across the Northland. But strong easterly winds pulling extra moisture off Lake Superior had produced snowfall of more than a foot on the Bayfield Peninsula, including 21 inches reported 5 miles west of Washburn, as well as nearly 8 inches in parts of Duluth. Ashland also saw reports of 11 inches of snow by Monday evening. Snow reporters on the Weather Service’s Facebook page reported difficulty gauging the exact new snow amounts due to drifting from the winds.
Snow continued throughout the day Monday and became heavier in the afternoon, affecting the afternoon and evening commute. Snowy conditions contributed to temporary closures of lanes on both the Richard I. Bong and Blatnik bridges between Duluth and Superior around 5 p.m. due to crashes. Both bridges have since reopened, with officials such as the Superior Police Department reminding drivers to remain cautious during the wintry conditions.
Snowfall is expected to become light overnight, or could stop in portions, but will intensify again by Tuesday afternoon.
Citing the inclement weather, the city of Duluth has decided to close City Hall, all Duluth libraries and the CareerForce (Workforce development) Tuesday. Online services will continue to be provided where feasible. As of 5:30 p.m., the city had not declared a snow emergency. According to a news release, the city will determine whether or not to declare a snow emergency Tuesday “based on the amount of snow continuing to fall and the rate of snow falling per hour.”
"There are many dynamic and complicated parts to calling a snow emergency. The city takes this declaration seriously as it has potentially serious implications for cars that get ticketed and towed. The City appreciated the public’s patience during these storms,” read the release.
The Twin Ports area could see well over a foot of new snow by the time the storm moves out early Wednesday, with more than 18 inches in parts of the South Shore snowbelt, where lake-effect snow could continue Wednesday.
The storm, which is forecast to be the largest of the winter so far for snowfall totals, also comes with unusually cold temperatures, with highs for much of the week only in the single digits above zero and lows in the single digits below zero. Windy conditions also could reduce visibility in some areas.
Some schools, including the School District of Superior, the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the South Shore School District, canceled classes for Monday. The University of Minnesota Duluth and College of St. Scholastica also reported reduced campus operations due to the snow.
Duluth Public Schools and Hermantown Community Schools are off for winter break, but the Duluth Public Schools has closed Key Zone and canceled all school activities and athletics for Tuesday.
This story was updated at 7:23 p.m. Feb. 21 with snow totals and additional information on closures by the city of Duluth. It was originally posted at 7:51 a.m. Feb. 21.