St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:00 AM

Prepared by Bob Weisman
Meteorology Professor
Saint Cloud State University
Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department

(forecast below this discussion)

Losing Battle Against Cold Air This Week

Got Front?

At this time yesterday, there was a front located right over central Minnesota (see 24-hour loop of NWS WPC surface maps). That front shifted northward during the day, allowing some sunshine through the high and middle clouds (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu), so temperatures climbed to their warmest in the past week (see 5-day St. Cloud temperature graph from MesoWest), reaching the upper 60's and even 70's across southern Minnesota (see Yesterday's High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany). However, the low pressure area has moved from the western Dakotas into Minnesota (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map), pulling another wave of rain (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop) and even snow over the Northwest Angle (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart). More importantly, you can see the front with temperatures in the 50's and a southeast wind on the warm side and temperatures in the 30's and a northwest to the west of it.

Next System for Tonight: Most Likely Rain (Freezing Rain to North)

The rain showers will be winding down shortly as this first low moves on. However, the next storm in this series is already moving through Wyoming (see counterclockwise circulation on the infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Rain is already breaking out in Nebraska and Kansas (see radar loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) with rain and even snow in Colorado and Wyoming. The precipitation from this system is expected to push into Minnesota this afternoon, reaching central Minnesota late this afternoon and lasting overnight. The forecasts of this next storm have been all over the place, and have only settled down a little bit. Still, the main trend for this storm over the past couple of days has been a track close enough to Minnesota to keep the ground warm enough so that all the precipitation would be rain here. There still could easily be more than half an inch of rain here with over an inch in southeastern Minnesota.

The main threat for some mixed precipitation or some freezing rain would be in north central and northeastern Minnesota. It could really be a bad Wednesday morning commute, possibly beginning as close to us as Brainerd, Aitkin, or Grand Rapids. However, the US computer forecast that is thought to handle the storm the best actually has enough cold air building in to raise the possibility of freezing rain in the St. Cloud area late tonight into early tomorrow. I'm discounting that possibility.

Lingering Wet Spots, Drizzle to Produce Icy Spots Wednesday Night??

The overall precipitation will be the heaviest from late today into the early morning hours, then taper to occasional rain showers tomorrow. As the storm slows down and moves into Ontario, we will stay in the clouds. On Wednesday night, this could cause some problems even here, since the cloud layer could be thick enough to produce drizzle or fine rain and temperatures will fall back below freezing. So, we could have some scattered icy spots coming into Thursday's commute.

Return to March Temperatures

While temperatures will be falling back into the 40's from early morning readings in the 50's (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations), it should dry out enough around midday for temperatures to return to the 50's. But, that's as mild as we will see from now likely through the weekend. By the time the rain arrives, temperatures will fall back into the 40's with a biting northeast wind. Look for temperatures to drop into the middle to upper 30's tonight and stay there tomorrow. Lows will drop into the 20's on Wednesday night when that threat for icy spots will develop. On Thursday, highs will only be in the lower 40's.

We should dry out a little bit Thursday and Friday, but with this series of low pressure systems, it will be hard to find cloudless air. So, there will be only a few sunny breaks on Thursday afternoon, but a shot at some sunshine on Friday. Low temperatures will again drop into the 20's Thursday and Friday nights.

Weekend Storm? Yes, But..

Then, there is the promised stronger storm for the weekend. That storm is actually the strong one off the Aleutian Islands of southwestern Alaska (see University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Center GOES-West infrared loop). This storm is expected to blast the Rockies late this week and move into the Plains over the weekend. We will be on the cold side of this system. Most of the precipitation from this storm, because it's late April, will be rain on the cold side. However, Wyoming and Colorado could see a major snowstorm. And, there is the chance of a narrow band of snow on the extreme northwestern fringe of the cold rain in the Plains. The latest computer trends have nudged the storm track eastward, possibly far enough to put us in light precipitation.

It is far too early to nail down precipitation amount and type, but we will continue to be on the cold side of the storm, so today may be the warmest day we have for at least the next week.

The combination of weekend rain and snow has pushed the Mississippi River out of its banks in the Aitkin area. Minor flooding is expected along the Mississippi between Aitkin and Brainerd. However, more rain (and other precipitation) could produce runoff problems later in the week.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Investigate the Stack of Papers I Have to Grade"

Tuesday 4/25/2017: Mostly cloudy with perhaps a few sunny breaks, breezy, and cooler. A chance of steadier rain late in the afternoon. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20% in the morning, 60% in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and colder with rain likely. Breezy, and colder. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: N 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 90%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Sit on Top of the Pile of Papers"

Wednesday 4/26/2017: Cloudy with occasional light rain or drizzle. A stray snowflake or sleet pellet could mix in at times. Windy and colder. High: between 35 and 40 (record cold high: 35 in 1950 and 2008). Winds: N 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 60%.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy with diminishing wind and colder. Spotty freezing drizzle or fine freezing rain possible. Any wet spots will freeze overnight. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 30%.

Thursday 4/27/2017: Cloudy with perhaps a sunny break, breezy, and continued cold. High: between 40 and 45 (record cold high: 37 in 1950). Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Thursday Night: Clearing with diminishing wind and colder. Areas of fog possible. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Friday 4/28/2017: Sunny in the morning, partly sunny in the afternoon, breezy, and still cool. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Only Eat Parts of the Bad Papers"

Friday Night: Mostly clear, breezy, and still chilly. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday 4/29/2017: Sunshine through increasing high clouds, breezy, and cool again. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Extended: A stronger storm spreads some more cold rain (maybe some snow in spots) Saturday night and Sunday???

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

Yesterday's High: 69°F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM): 55°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 4 AM Tuesday): Trace; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Tuesday): TBA

April 25 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 62°F 37°F
Record Temperatures 88°F (1962) 61°F (1990)
33°F (1950) 21°F (1907)

Next Update: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 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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