Local Forecast

Friday, May 29, 2015 3:30 AM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Saint Cloud State University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast


Morning Rain, Yielding to Cooler But Sunny Weekend

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For the second straight day, temperatures broke into the 80's in central Minnesota (see Yesterday's High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany) with at least noticeable humidity (dew points in the 50's on the NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). More clouds streamed in for the second half of the day and there have been a lot of clouds overnight (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). However, the actual thunderstorms (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop) have remained close to the cold front, which has become stuck in the eastern Dakotas (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). This has led to slow-moving thunderstorms raining heavily around the Sisseton Hills to the Lake Traverse and Big Stone Lake areas. There is a flash flood warning out for southeastern North Dakota and a flood warning in Wilkin County, which includes Breckenridge and Pelican Rapids.

This front will eventually push through central Minnesota this morning, so our best chance of showers and thunderstorms will be during the morning hours. There have been new storms forming in eastern South Dakota and southwest Minnesota, but the overall trend has been for storms to become more scattered. So, I give us a 60-40 chance to see some rain this morning, but the timing of the storms should keep the rainfall totals down. Storms will become more widespread along the front this afternoon, but by that time, the threat for heavy rain will have moved through the Twin Cities and into southern Minnesota. The main threat of any widely scattered severe weather should stay in Wisconsin.

With all of the clouds around, temperatures will stay in the 60's until the rain arrives this morning, then drop back into the 50's during the rain. We could see some late day clearing today, but temperatures will only rebound back to the lower 60's.

An Actual Sunny and Dry Weekend(!!)

After the front goes by, dry air will actually take over for the weekend. Temperatures will stay on the cool side with highs in the 60's both weekend days and lows in the lower 40's each morning. 30's are possible in Lake Country to the north. But, at least it will stay dry. It looks like the dry weather will last into Monday with highs returning to about 70.

Warmer and more humid air will begin to return next week. At this point, it looks like we will only see some high and middle clouds Sunday night into Monday. I do have a slight chance of a thunderstorm, since sometimes the thunderstorm threat can be underestimated three days in advance. We might see a few scattered storms again Monday night into Tuesday, but it looks like the main warm-front related thunderstorms will hold off until late Tuesday through Tuesday night. At this point, it looks like we could break out into the hot and humid air on Wednesday, so that would be our next best chance to see highs in the 80's.

Unfortunately, as Friday's front comes through, it looks like it will hang up over the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley, setting the stage for more unwanted rainfall in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Catching Up on Rainfall (Continued)

The new US Drought Monitor insists on a small area of moderate drought in pockets of northern Minnesota and from the eastern Twin Cities into Red Wing. Most of the state retains its abnormally dry rating, except from Lac qui Parle through Benson, Willmar, and Annandale. Since late April, a large swath of central and west central Minnesota have picked up 5-7 inches of rain.

Going into today's potential rainfall, the St. Cloud Regional Airport has picked up 5.85 inches of rain in May so far. That's 3.11 inches over the average rainfall of 2.64 inches, but still 0.65 inch short of cracking one of the 10 wettest Mays in St. Cloud records. Because of the morning timing of the storms, I think we may have some trouble getting enough rain to crack the 6 inch mark, so I doubt we'll climb into the top 10.

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Weekly Crop Report shows that the drought effects are over with 96% of topsoil and 89% sub-surface moisture rated as adequate or higher. A month ago, 31% of topsoil moisture and 39% of sub-surface moisture were rated short. However, some areas may require replanting due to flooding and frost was experienced over the northern two-thirds of the state early last week. Streamflow now is average to well above average in nearly all of Minnesota according to the USGS, thanks to the recent rains. The Minnesota DNR stream discharge map shows average to above average streamflow across all of Minnesota except in parts of the Boundary Waters.

See Forecast Below

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Friday 5/29: Cloudy with a good chance of morning showers and thunderstorms. Maybe some clearing during the afternoon. Breezy and humid in the morning, turning cooler and drier in the afternoon. Morning temperatures between 65 and 70, falling back into the 50's during the rain and only returning to near 60 in the afternoon. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH in the morning, becoming N 10-25 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 70% in the morning, 10% in the afternoon.

Friday Night: Partial clearing, breezy, cooler, and drier. Low: between 42 and 46. Winds: NE 10-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday 5/30: Sunny, breezy, relatively cool, and dry. High: between 62 and 66. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Partly clear, a bit of a breeze, cool, and dry. Low: between 40 and 45. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 5/31: Some sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and continued cool. High: between 64 and 68. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty

Sunday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, not quite as cool. A slight chance of a late night shower. Low: between 48 and 53. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday 6/1: A slight chance of an early shower; otherwise, lots of clouds with perhaps some sunshine, breezy, and a shade warmer. High: between 68 and 73. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and milder with a chance of a scattered shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 55 and 60. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Tuesday 6/2: Mixed sun and clouds, warmer and more humid with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, both early in the morning and late in the day. High: between 77 and 82. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50%.

For Entertainment Purposes Only.

Extended: Thunderstorms Tuesday Night. Very warm and humid on Wednesday. Highs in the 80's.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Thursday through Friday, 6 Friday night through Sunday, 5 Sunday night, 4 Monday, 3 Monday night and Tuesday, 2 Wednesday.

Yesterday's High: 82F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 65F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation: None; SCSU 24-hour Precipitation (Through 3 AM Friday): None

Normal Temperatures for May 29 - High: 72F; Low: 48F
Next Update: Monday, June 1, 2015 8:00 AM (or as needed)

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Let me know what you think about this forecast and discussion by emailing SCSU meteorology professor Bob Weisman. Please note that I make the forecast, not the weather!

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