Dust plume travels 1,500 miles, turns snow brown around Minnesota

60s-70s by next week across southern Minnesota

Dust plumes
Dust plumes blowing from the southwest into Minnesota Wednesday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admininstratin, via COD Weather Lab and Duluth NWS office

You don’t see this every day.

Our latest storm system is so powerful it’s acting like a giant vacuum cleaner. High winds from this system have sucked up massive amounts of dust from sand dunes in New Mexico and northern Mexico and lofted it airborne before depositing it in Minnesota.

You can see the dusty plume running from the southwest into the Upper Midwest on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s satellite image at the top of this post.

The Duluth National Weather Service office explains further in this tweet.

Snow and ice up north

There are some impressive snow and ice reports coming in from northern Minnesota as expected.

Here are some selected, preliminary snow and ice totals. Snow is still falling in many areas.

Snow totals, in inches

  • Thief River Falls, 12

  • Fargo-Moorhead area, 11

  • Roseau, 11

  • Breckenridge (Wilkin County), 9.3

  • Fergus Falls, 8.5

  • Silver Bay (Lake County), 6.2

  • Hovland (Cook County), 6.1

  • Bemidji, 5

  • Duluth, 2.4

Ice totals, in fractions of an inch:

  • Pine River, .3

  • Finlayson .3

  • Hermantown .25

  • Grand Rapids .25

Highs winds

High winds ripped across much of northern Minnesota Tuesday.

Winds gusted to 70 mph around Duluth Tuesday night.

Winds are gusting over 40 mph in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota Wednesday. Winds will ease late tonight and Thursday across Minnesota as the storm pulls away.

Warmer days ahead

Thursday brings another cold day behind our storm. But then milder air will filter into Minnesota through the weekend and next week.

We’ll very likely see our first 60 and 70-degree days of the season in the next few days.

Forecast high temperatures Sunday
Forecast high temperatures Sunday.

Models from Environment Canada, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and NOAA’s Global Forecast System are cranking out highs in the 70s for the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota next week.

Forecast high temperatures Tuesday
Forecast high temperatures Tuesday

While the spring weather will be welcome, it will also melt snow quickly and cause rivers to rise.

It’s always something in Minnesota.

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