Friday, March 7, 2014 9:15 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
Best of Warm Surge to Come Late Weekend
Update: Icy Start to Day
A line of freezing rain and sleet showers have been moving through central Minnesota during the pre-dawn (see NWS
Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop ) . You can tell the precipitation is in the form of freezing rain by the sideways S and double arrow symbols on the (see UCAR
Minnesota surface chart loop). This line is easing southward as the cold front (see NWS
HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) comes through. Unfortunately, it's just enough freezing drizzle and freezing rain to put a complete layer on all pavement and even snow pack. Also, temperatures did not make it above freezing overnight, so we are likely to see temperatures only around 30 over the next couple of hours, then falling back into the 20's. So, any untreated surface will have a coating of ice, making it quite the skating rink. Conditions will ease when the pavement is treated and even more when the sun breaks out later today. Until then, it will be treacherous in spots. Note the large number of accidents on MnDOT's travel map.
Dirty Air Problems As Well
The eastern two-thirds of Minnesota are under an air pollution health alert today. Along and in the vicinity of a cold front that just came through, air particles are producing air-quality indices above 100. That means that sensitive groups of people with a history of heart and lung problems, asthma, kids, and the elderly should avoid being outside until the winds pick up this afternoon and blow cleaner air into the region. This advisory includes Brainerd, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities, Rochester, Duluth, and Virginia.
You can find the air quality alert at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Current Conditions site.
Otherwise A Bit Cooler, but More Sun Later
This cold front will bring in cleaner and slightly cooler air, which also will allow better mixing near the ground. So, I expect a lot more sunshine to develop today. Northwest winds will be strong for a while this morning (see UCAR
Minnesota surface chart loop), with speeds of 15-25 MPH common. However, without any recent snow, there won't be much in the way of blowing and drifting. Look for temperatures to kick up a few degrees to the lower 30's after the cold front passes, then settle back into the 20's.
We will have this relatively cooler interlude, although compared to the past couple of days, the only difference will be some colder low temperatures tonight and tomorrow night. We could make a run at 0 again by tomorrow morning and see lows in the single digits Saturday evening. Look for highs tomorrow to return to the 20's, only with less wind than today.
Next Warm Surge Begins Sunday
The next system due to start the heat pump will begin doing its work on Saturday night. In this case, the warm air appears to be even drier than what we had, so I don't expect any precipitation with the warm front pushing through Saturday night and Sunday morning. The big question is whether we can get the warmth all the way to the ground or will the cold air remain trapped, keeping temperatures down. The warm air push looks a bit stronger in this weekend's case, so I'm going for middle to upper 30's Sunday and 40's on Monday. That crucially depends on few clouds and enough wind to help push the cold air along.
Not As Cold Midweek As I Had Earlier Thought
We should see another minor cool down for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Highs may only be around freezing on Tuesday and in the 20's again Wednesday. The overall steering winds will turn more to the west-northwest. However, the long-range forecasts don't have any really cold air in west central Canada, so we could be back on the temperature uphill as early on Thursday. The best news is that there doesn't appear to be any major storm system in the forecast for the next week, so we won't be adding to the snow cover.
See Forecast Below
Ground and Air Travel
Air Quality Health Advisory Through This Afternoon
Friday 3/7: Cloudy this morning, then clearing this afternoon. Turning windy. Temperatures holding between 28 and 32 this morning, falling into the 20's this afternoon. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH early, then becoming NW 15-25 MPH by late morning, 10-20 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10% after 7 AM.
Friday Night: Clear, diminishing wind, and colder. Low: near 0. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH evening, diminishing late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.
Saturday 3/8: Sunny to partly cloudy, and continued seasonably cool. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.
Saturday Night: Clear early, some high clouds late, becoming breezy, and not quite as cold. Low: between 5 and 10. Winds: SW 5 MPH evening, 8-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Sunday 3/9: Sunny, breezy, and actually warm for this time of year. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Sunday Night: Partly clear and not as cool. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds:
5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Monday 3/10: Sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and warm again. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty
Monday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and mild with a slight chance of a snow shower. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: W 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.
Tuesday 3/11: Partly sunny and not quite as warm. High: between 30 and 35. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Tuesday Night: Clear and colder. Low: between 0 and 5. Winds: light. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Wednesday 3/12: Partly sunny and a bit colder. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Extended: Milder again on Thursday. Highs above freezing
Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will
cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday through Saturday, 7 Saturday night, 6 Sunday through Monday, 5 Monday night, 4 Tuesday, 3 Tuesday night and Wednesday, 2 Thursday.
Yesterday's High: 28°F; Overnight Low (through 7 AM): 25°F
St. Cloud Storm Total Precipitation: 0.08 inch/0.1 inch ice; SCSU Precipitation: 0.07 inch/0.1 inch ice
Normal Temperatures for March 7 - High: 34°F;
Next Update: Monday, March 10, 2014 8:00 AM (or as needed)
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.