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'Winter is definitely here': Snow wallops North Shore

6December 2021

DULUTH — A weekend storm that spanned northern Minnesota began early Sunday and ended overnight with snow totals ranging from a few inches to more than 20. The storm included winds of up to 66 mph in the Twin Ports, power outages, and it closed schools along the north and south shores of Lake Superior.

The highest snow totals were on the North Shore, including 20.1 inches northwest of Grand Marais and 17.2 inches a bit west of the city, said Joe Moore, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth.

Between 8 inches and more than a foot of snow fell from Grand Forks, N.D., to Bemidji and across the Iron Range. International Falls and parts of Duluth and Superior closest to Lake Superior only received about 4 inches, but nearly 7 inches fell at the Duluth International Airport and 15 inches in Chisholm.

“It was a pretty long storm,” Moore said. “Snow started early Sunday and didn’t let up for most places until later Sunday when the wind arrived.”

Winds on Sunday night reached sustained severe thunderstorm speeds on the Blatnik Bridge and on Park Point. Nearly 1,000 Minnesota Power customers lost power about 5:45 a.m. Monday in pockets of Duluth. The utility’s spokeswoman, Amy Rutledge, said high winds and trees falling on power lines are to blame for the outages, which were largely restored by 8:30 a.m.

Most schools in the Twin Ports area were open Monday, but several along the north and south shores of Lake Superior closed, including those in Cook and Lake counties and in Bayfield and Ashland County, Wis.

The Grand Marais area experienced near-blizzard conditions, though it can’t yet officially be classified as a blizzard because there is no longer a weather station to report visibility, Moore said.

“It was a solid, pretty standard storm for the Northland to kick off the winter season,” he said, and areas that didn’t have snow cover on the ground have it now. “Winter is definitely here.”

While snow stopped falling Monday, frigid temperatures arrived. The wind chill across northern Minnesota was expected to vary between 20 and 30 below zero Monday night.

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