1:00 PM When I first saw Blizzard Watch in the forecast I thought, "Oh, that's nice." I've been teased then scorned by forecasters in the past and now have a "Prove it!" attitude to the whole thing. Yesterday when the forecast was updated to Blizzard Warning, I started to believe.
I was more than a little annoyed and disappointed when the folks north of Duluth got two feet of snow last weekend and we got nothing, but fortunately it looks like it is our turn now. The current forecast has the warning in effect from 7 PM tonight to 7 AM Saturday, with 50 mph winds, drifting and whiteout conditions, and 11-16 inches of snow.
I took a long saunter along the Lakewalk this morning and enjoyed the waves crashing on shore and whitecaps covering the Lake in the 35 mph NE wind. Noreasters were always the best storms in New England, with the unobstructed wind blowing moisture off the ocean, and Duluth's location at the western tip of Lake Superior (the next best thing to an ocean) makes the same hold true here. At the shipping canal, waves were reaching up toward the top of the walls; no doubt they'll be crashing over those walls later tonight. Wanna watch?
The cat's enjoying watching the trees rattle around outside. I imagine when he tries to look out tomorrow morning, he'll be staring at a wall of white caked onto the screen.
10:00 PM I repeated my Lakewalk late this afternoon, and it was clear the weather was getting serious. It was no saunter this time as the wind at my back pushed me toward downtown, with much higher waves and several sections of the trail had standing water from wavespray. The creeks I passed were running strongly with whitewater of their own from the ongoing snowmelt but were quickly overwhelmed as they met the incoming waves.
After I turned the corner toward Canal Park, the wind and spray came hard from my left side; the walkway here was completely wet. There was a party atmosphere by the canal as a crowd of families, college students, and storm junkies like myself laughed and talked to strangers while television crews looked on. The area where I'd stood this morning now had a couple inches of standing water. People photographed the waves and spray using everything from cellphones to tripods. Though it was not raining or snowing, my coat and pants were soon soaked. A small stone, waveblown, bounced off a tooth as I smiled at the crowd enjoying the power of nature. Gulls hung motionless in the air until they were blown backward with wings flapping, looking like a film in reverse.
The wind is roaring, and there is snow to the north, west, and just south of us, but so far nothing here a couple hours after it was forecast to begin. This may work out well because I've been concerned that there will be so much heavy wet snow on the ground in the morning that I'll have a hard time making it to the Lake. I'd gladly trade a couple total inches (which will all be melted within a few days anyway) for easier walking in the morning. Will it snow or has Duluth been punked?
Saturday It was almost midnight before the snow started in my neighborhood Thursday. When I woke up Friday, I found the screens and windows snowpacked as predicted. The cat was peeking, twisting, craning, standing on back paws, to see out through small areas where snow had fallen off.
The electricity had been off during the night and went off a couple more times during the day. One TV station was off the air and another had only audio. I looked out two of the doors of my apartment building to see how the world looked. Most of the snow we would get (only about 10 inches) had already fallen but the wind remained ferocious. I tried to use the link above to check waves, but found the camera snowcovered. Bus service was canceled, and though I could have walked the Lakewalk to the canal, I didn't want to make the return trip into the wind. So I decided to learn from species wiser than homo sapiens and remain in my snow cave. I took a couple books and the toasty cat back to bed.