Duluth, MN

Despite the lack of snow across the Upper Midwest, the lack of cold is certainly not an issue. Take a look at the ice coverage from the western tip of Lake Superior looking NE toward the open waters (ice) of Lake Superior.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA’s GLERL, the Great Lakes were nearly 77% ice covered as of Monday, February 16th. Interestingly, this is the 3rd highest ice coverage since 1996 (82%). The highest ice coverage was last year at 92.5%! At the start of February, only 38% of the Great Lakes were covered with ice, now almost double!

Peak Ice Coverage

A look at the peak ice coverage image below and you’ll see that last year (3-6-2014) the Great Lakes had it’s 3rd highest ice coverage since records began in 1973!

Make More Ice

This is a pretty siginificant blob of cold air across the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Unfortunately, some folks across the far north will have a tough time even getting above zero for daytime highs on Wednesday. However, wind chill values will be below zero for a much wider area early Wednesday!

Highs Wednesday

Here’s a look at what highs will look like on Wednesday. Note that several locations across the Upper Midwest will be in the single digits above and below zero, while some in the Lower Mississippi Valley will be in the 30s!

Highs From Average Wednesday

YIKES! That certainly is a big blob of cold weather isn’t it? Many spots east of the Rockies will be nearly -20F to -30F below average with highs along the Gulf Coast nearly -10F to -15F below average, including New Orleans for Ash Wednesday.

Cold Fat Tuesday

This was the EarthCam view of New Orleans during the Fat Tuesday celebrations. Note that most people were wearing coats as temperatures Tuesday morning dipped into the mid 30s with highs running nearly -15F below average!

National Weather Outlook

The cold air is not only plaguing much of the eastern half of the country, but it is also helping to drive storm systems. While the latest impulse of energy isn’t all that impressive, it is once again going to bring more snow to places in the Northeast.

Weekend Storm System?

Take a look at what models are projecting for later this week/weekend! Another blog of significant moisture across parts of the Mississippi/Tennessee/Ohio River Valley with the potential of more snow, sleet, freezing rain and heavy rain/storms along the Gulf Coast.

Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA’s HPC, the precipitation outlook from AM Friday through AM Sunday suggests a fairly big blob of moisture in some of the same areas that just got hit with wintry weather earlier this week. It’ll be interesting to see how this storm develops and how far south our cold air is as this moisture moves in.

Weekend Precipitation Outlook

This is a brief glance at what we could be dealing with over the upcoming weekend. Again – the potential of a wintry mess could make for some significant travel problems across parts of the southern tier of the nation… stay tuned for more!

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX