Northland braces for winter storm

Heavier snowfall and whiteout conditions are forecast starting Wednesday night.

Man walks across snow covered road.
A student crosses Catlin Avenue near UW-Superior’s Hawkes Hall while blustery winds blow snow around Wednesday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

DULUTH — Several inches of snow fell on parts of Northwestern Wisconsin on Wednesday before a second system with significant snowfall and whiteout conditions hit the region that night.

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported the heaviest snow is expected to begin late Wednesday evening in the Twin Ports, North Shore, South Shore and west to Brainerd and St. Cloud. A blizzard warning is in effect for Ashland and Bayfield counties. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Central St. Louis County and along the North Shore.

A lakeshore flood watch has been issued from Two Harbors to the Twin Ports, where northeast winds would generate waves of 10-20 feet near the Lake Superior shore. Wind guests up to 45-55 mph off the lake could produce whiteout conditions.

Total snowfall for Wednesday through Thursday night could total over a foot in areas of Northwestern Wisconsin and closer to 4-7 inches in the Twin Ports, the National Weather Service said. Snowfall rates are forecast at 0.5-1 inches per hour from midnight through noon Thursday. Cook County and the Iron Range, however, can expect just 1-4 inches of snow.

Businesses, schools and events in the Northland announced early closures and cancellations due to the impending storm.


The Maple and South Shore school districts announced Wednesday afternoon they would be closed Thursday. University of Wisconsin-Superior has moved to online/remote learning for Thursday.

The Duluth skywalk system was scheduled to close at 7 p.m. Wednesday and reopen Thursday morning due to the impending storm, Downtown Duluth reported.

Two Section 7A boys hockey semifinal games , Hermantown vs. Hibbing and Denfeld vs. Rock Ridge, were rescheduled from Thursday to Monday at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

The "Big Movies the DECC" presentation of "Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone" on Thursday was canceled and will not be rescheduled, according to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Duluth City Hall is set to remain open on Thursday with some limited staffing. Duluth Public Libraries have delayed opening until noon. All Duluth parks and recreation activities have been canceled on Thursday and the Duluth Workforce Center/CareerForce will be closed.

Student walks through campus as wind blows snow around.
Strong winds blow snow around the UW-Superior campus on Wednesday.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Snowfall totals

As of 10 p.m. Wednesday

  • 13 inches, Benoit, Bayfield County
  • 12.5 inches, Ashland
  • 6 inches, Patzau, Douglas County
  • 5.5 inches, Pleasant Valley, Carlton County
  • 3.2 inches, Maple
  • 3 inches, Oliver
  • 0.5 inches, Amnicon Falls

This story was updated at 10:10 p.m. on Feb. 22 with new snow totals, postponements and winter weather advisory information. It was originally posted at 4:15 p.m.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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