Apparently, two air masses ran into each other over the western part of Lake Superior and the resulting lift sucked the moisture out of the open lake water and turned it into snow. Lots of snow. Snow that fell all day. We shoveled three times just for the joy of shoveling. Meteorologists, at a loss for words, called it a "lake swirl." Over a foot of fluffy snow fell over places in Duluth.
Here are the forecasters trying to figure out what was happening:
UPDATE...A VERY INTERESTING SITUATION WAS SHAPING UP ACROSS THE NORTHLAND DURING THE EVENING. IT APPEARS THAT A "LAKE SWIRL" HAS SET UP AT THE HEAD OF THE LAKES. HAS ALREADY BEEN A GOOD COUPLE INCHES OF SNOW ALONG THE HILLSIDE OF DULUTH AND INTO THE SUPERIOR AREA. HAVE NOT SEEN A SWIRL LIKE THIS FOR MANY YEARS PERSONALLY. FROM PREVIOUS RESEARCH...THE SWIRLS TEND TO SET UP WITH WE HAVE WEAK OFFSHORE WINDS AT THE HEAD OF THE LAKE...CREATING CONVERGING WINDS IN THE BOWL LIKE TIP OF LAKE SUPERIOR. CONCERNED THAT WE COULD SEE SOME IMPRESSIVE SNOWFALL RATES OVERNIGHT. WILL NEED TO WATCH FOR POSSIBLE AMOUNTS JUMPING OUT OF THE ADVISORY CATEGORY INTO THE WARNING CATEGORY IF THE SWIRL CONTINUES TO JUST SIT THERE. ...WENT FOR 5 TO 7 INCHES THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING...AND WILL WATCH VERY CAREFULLY FOR THE POTENTIAL FOR HIGHER AMOUNTS.
It's early March in what had been a nearly snow-less winter, so our sense of the season was all thrown off. Not sure what to do, Sally and I headed for the Hartley ski trails. It was perfect conditions for snowshoeing, much less so for cross country skiing. In fact, I think we got passed by some snowshoers. But it was lovely and amazing just to be out in the midst of a big dump like that. I love this place.