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Boreal Community Media

Weather phenomenon brings strong winds to Grand Marais

Dec 30, 2017 05:11PM ● By Editor
Wind gusts at the Grand Marais harbor reached as high as 55 mph this morning. File / News Tribune

From the Duluth News Tribune - Saturday, December 30, 2017

It was a blustery day in the Northland this morning, with brisk northerly winds hitting 20-25 mph at times in many locations. But residents of Grand Marais saw far stronger gusts thanks to a weather phenomenon called katabatic winds.

The National Weather Service reported that gusts at the Grand Marais harbor reached as high as 55 mph this morning. The localized strong winds were caused by cold air pooling north of town, held back by the Sawtooth Mountains.

“When the pool of cold air gets deep enough to breach the gaps in the ridge, cold air drains downhill” and accelerates, the Weather Service reported. “Much like water being siphoned, the winds continue until the cold pool has been depleted.”

While the harbor was seeing gusts in excess of 50 mph, the Grand Marais airport about 6 miles away, north of the ridge, was reporting gusts of about 25 mph.

Wind chill warnings and advisories remain in effect for all of the Northland through Monday morning. Highs Sunday are forecast to stay well below zero for most locations, making for one of the coldest New Year’s Eves on record in the region. Below-normal temperatures are expected all week in the Northland, the Weather Service reported.