Thursday, May 16, 2013 4:59 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
Warm To Give Way to Badly-Needed Wet
Showers and Thunderstorms Late Week into Weekend, But Not Sure How Good a Chance
It was 12 degrees cooler than yesterday (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations), but high temperatures still made it into the lower 80's on Yesterday's
High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany. That's a feat we didn't manage before Tuesday.
We have the potential for yet another really warm day today with highs in the lower 80's, especially considering another mild start with lows in the middle to upper 40's (see UCAR
Minnesota surface chart loop). However, there's quite a weather change ahead. Already, there are high and middle clouds pushing from Montana into the Dakotas. We will see those clouds later on today and tonight, although I think we will stay dry until late tonight or tomorrow morning.
The cold front that has pushed to our south (see 24 hour loop of NWS WPC surface maps) is expected to begin moving back to the north tonight (see NWS HPC Short-Range forecast map). Immediately on the warm side of the front, the air is already very sticky (dewpoints in the 60's and higher (brown) from Missouri southward on the UCAR hourly dew point map). That is already fueling strong showers and thunderstorms across the Southern Plains (see infrared loop from College
of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) ahead of a Texas upper-air low (see water vapor loopfrom College
of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu).
This will set us up for periods of showers and thunderstorms affecting Minnesota and the Dakotas from late tonight likely into next week. There will be the possibility of heavy rainfall, especially during the early part of next week when a strong West Coast storm pushes into the Northern Plains. hows highs only in the 70's in Montana and the southern Prairie Provinces and in the lower 80's in the Dakotas. So, that slightly cooler air will work its way in. The other change is that the strong winds have eased off a bit since 1 AM. Those 25-45 MPH gusts have calmed a bit to winds around 10 MPH since midnight (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations).
There is still quite a bit of uncertainty with the forecast, mainly from Saturday on, but I think the first wave of showers and thunderstorms will develop in the Dakotas and eastern Nebraska tonight, pushing into southern Minnesota and Iowa as the night goes on. However, it now looks like these storms will travel northeastward, so we are likely to see the leftover showers and thunderstorms very late tonight through the morning and midday hours. We could have a bit of a break in the rain for a while tomorrow afternoon, but more showers and thunderstorms will develop along the warm front tomorrow afternoon into the evening. At this point, it doesn't look like anything severe, but skies will remain mostly cloudy, keeping temperatures mostly likely in the 50's during the period of rainfall. During the drying out stage, we could see temperatures top out in the lower 60's, but that will do it.
It looks like the warm front will push northward into central Minnesota by midday Saturday. That would mean a lesser chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday night into Saturday. If we can get some sunshine, temperatures will climb into the 80's on Saturday with uncomfortable humidity. There is a smaller chance of a late day shower or thunderstorm, but I think most of those storms will be to our north.
It still looks like we will be in the warm sector on Saturday night, which would keep the bulk of the showers and thunderstorms in northern Minnesota and Canada and to our west in the Dakotas. The Red River Valley, unfortunately, could end up with heavy rainfall on Saturday into Saturday night. It may be possible that some of the storms to our west could kick off some storms here Saturday night, but I'm keeping the chance relatively small. So, we could eke out another warm and sticky day on Sunday, but that's a bit more uncertain.
Most likely, we will have loads of showers and thunderstorms around Monday and Tuesday. More clouds will likely keep highs in the 70's on Monday and maybe only in the 60's on Tuesday. It won't be the nicest weather, but it could take a big step towards easing the dry ground water conditions leftover from last summer and fall. It is possible that we could see multiple inches of rain.
Even though surface water conditions show the possibility of improvement, there are a lot of fuels in northeastern Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and the Michigan Upper Peninsula since it hasn't been warm enough long enough to green up. That has helped to produce the wildfire probably in western Wisconsin. Winds aren't going to be as strong today as yesterday, but there will still be a high fire danger across eastern Minnesota. In the fire area, there is an air quality alert for smoke problems. With over 9000 acres burned, this is the largest northern Wisconsin fire in 33 years.
Ice Out On Smaller Lakes to Our North
The smaller lakes in the Brainerd area and along Hwy,. 210 became ice-free this past week. Lake Itasca became ice free on Monday and yesterday's heat will have helped. Still, there are no reports that Mille Lacs Lake is completely ice-free and the large lakes along Hwy. 2 are still icy. You can find more details about the average and latest days of ice out in Minnesota lakes. In most cases, this is the latest ice out on record.
Yesterday's high resolution MODIS satellite picture from the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin (push the 250 m button) still shows gray or white on the larger lakes, including half of Lake Mille Lacs. (not a great look at Lake Winnibigoshish or Leech Lake due to clouds) Note: the black appearance of the smaller lakes doesn't necessarily mean they are ice free.
Pollen counts from Pollen.com are very high and will continue to be this way through the end of the week. However, lighter winds beginning tomorrow will help somewhat. And, any rain we get will at least temporarily ease conditions.
Thursday 5/16: Sunny in the morning, partly sunny in the afternoon and continued warm. High: between 77 and 82. Winds: ENE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.
Thursday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and not quite as cool. A chance of showers and thunderstorms late. Low: between 50 and 55. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.
Friday 5/17: Showers and thunderstorms likely through the morning. Maybe a dry period from midday through the early afternoon, but scattered showers and thunderstorms redeveloping in the middle to late afternoon. More humid, but cooler. High: between 60 and 65. Winds: ENE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 80% in the morning, 30% in the early afternoon, 50% in the middle and late afternoon.
End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty
Friday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and mild. A chance of an evening scattered shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 55 and 60. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40% evening, 20% after midnight.
Saturday 5/18: A slight chance of an early shower or thunderstorm, then partly sunny, breezy, warm, and becoming uncomfortably humid. A slight chance of a thunderstorm possible late. High: between 80 and 85. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.
Saturday Night: Breezy, warm, and humid. A slight chance of a late night shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 60 and 65. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.
Sunday 5/19: Partly sunny, windy, warm, and humid. A chance of late day showers or thunderstorms. High: between 80 and 85. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.
Sunday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms late? Low: between 60 and 65. Winds: S 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.
Monday 5/20: Showers and thunderstorms likely with heavy rain possible. High: between 70 and 75. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 70%.
Monday Night: Rain or showers likely. Low: between 54 and 58. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 70%.
Tuesday 5/21: Cloudy and cooler with rain or showers likely. High: between 64 and 68. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 60%.
For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Extended: Maybe some improvement by Wednesday.
Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will
cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 9 Thursday, 7 Thursday night and Friday, 5 Friday night through Monday, 4 Monday night and Tuesday, 2 Wednesday.
Yesterday's High: 83░F; This Morning's Low (through 4 AM): 49░F
St. Cloud Storm Precipitation (Through 4 AM): None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 4 AM): None
Normal Temperatures for May 16 - High: 69░F;
Next Update: Friday, May 17 8:00 AM (at conference early next week)
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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go to the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department home page.