Snow totals surpass 20 inches on parts of Minnesota's North Shore

Two people pose for a photo in the snow
David Stieler (left) and Charlie Pavlisich pose for a photo after shoveling snow at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Pete Harris

Snow continued to pile up along Minnesota’s North Shore on Wednesday, as totals from this week’s prolonged early season winter storm surpassed 20 inches in some locations.

The National Weather Service received a spotter estimate of 24 inches of snow northwest of Silver Bay as of Wednesday morning. Other reports included 21.2 inches near Hovland, 21 inches near Finland, and 20 inches along the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais.

A snow covered road
Wolf Ridge Environmental l Learning Center in Finland, Minn. had over two feet of snow land on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Pete Harris

Peter Harris is the citizen science coordinator at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland. He spoke with MPR News at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“It’s kicking in pretty heavily,” he said of the snow. “The snow depth, at 7 o’clock (this morning) it was 18 inches. When I was just out there, we're at 23 inches right now. So it looks like January here.”

Lutsen reported 10.1 inches, with 8.8 inches near Two Harbors and 6.9 inches at the Duluth airport over the past three days, giving a boost to snowmaking efforts on ski hills and trails across the region.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and St. Cloud each have recorded about 4 inches of snow this week.

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All those totals may increase as snow — light for most of Minnesota, heavier along the North Shore — is forecast to continue Wednesday into Thursday. The National Weather Service said additional snow totals in southern Lake County may exceed a half-foot by late Wednesday night.

Difficult driving

Wednesday marked the third straight morning of icy driving across the state — though conditions were not as bad as those seen at the start of the week.

Find updated Minnesota road conditions here.

The State Patrol reported 61 crashes and 54 spinouts along Minnesota highways between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday — after responding to more than 300 crashes and spinouts earlier in the day Tuesday. The Patrol reported more than 700 on Monday — with those numbers only for state highways, and not for county or city roads.

As the snow winds down Thursday, temperatures are forecast to plummet across the region.

Highs are forecast to reach only the teens across the state on Friday and Saturday, with overnight lows dropping to near or below zero Saturday night.

Find forecast updates on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.

MPR’s Dan Kraker contributed to this report.