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Snow with Cloud-to-ground Lightning

Duluth, MN

April 5, 2008

Storm details

On the evening of April 5, A mixture of rain and small hail started around 7:30 PM CST, then became mixed with snow and snow pellets around 8 PM and continued in a showery fashion to around 10 PM. The precipitation occasionally changed to all snow with large flakes ranging 1 to almost 2 inches in diameter. Much of the snow did not accumulate but did get 1 inch of a dense soggy mix.

Observed frequent lightning with a few cloud-to-ground lightning strikes from 8 PM to 9 PM. At times the thunder was so constant it almost sounded like a jetliner. This storm is the first time this author had seen cloud-to-ground lightning with snow. As luck would have it, the very next snowstorm which occurred on April 10 to 12, 2008 also produced cloud-to-ground lightning along with wind strong winds gusting over 60 mph. Let the good times roll!

The hail, snow, and snow pellet mix on April 5 was the first main shot of precipitation from a major storm system that dumped heavy snow just northwest of Duluth and extending northwest through the Iron Range and points beyond. The second shot of precipitation fell from mid afternoon into the early morning of April 6 to 7. Heavy precipitation fell at Duluth but it was mostly in the form of sleet with an occasional mix with snow and freezing rain. Glaze from the freezing rain accumulated between 0.25 and 0.50 inches on the trees. Sleet and snow accumulated an additional 1.5 inches approximately for a storm total of 2.5 inches at the National Weather Service and 2.7 inches as a personal measurement. Snow totals to the northwest of Duluth ranged from 12 to 24 inches with local amounts in excess of 30 inches in the vicinity of Virginia, MN!

Storm Evolution

The following map sequences show the evolution of the surface and upper-level features of the storm from early Saturday evening April 5 to early Sunday evening April 6 local time.

Surface analysis

00 UTC Sunday April 6, 2008 (6 PM CST Saturday April 5)

12 UTC Sunday April 6, 2008 (6 AM CST Sunday April 6)

00 UTC Monday April 7, 2008 (6 PM CST Sunday April 6)

Upper-level (500 mb)

00 UTC Sunday April 6, 2008 (6 PM CST Saturday April 5)

12 UTC Sunday April 6, 2008 (6 AM CST Sunday April 6)

00 UTC Monday April 7, 2008 (6 PM CST Sunday April 6)