St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Friday, March 24, 2017 3:37 AM

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

(forecast below this discussion)

Dampness to Ease a Bit This Afternoon and Tomorrow

Nothing Like a Chilly Thunderstorm

The push of warm and sticky air over the top of the chilly air at the ground ended up producing showers and thunderstorms yesterday afternoon. One batch of storms near 4 PM ended up producing nickel-sized hail, which then hung around, thanks to temperatures staying in the middle 30's (see 2-day graph of St. Cloud temperatures from MesoWest). The main edge of the showers and thunderstorms are again building from Nebraska and South Dakota into southern Minnesota early this morning (see radar loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). There have also been a few scattered showers that pushed from North Dakota across northern and central Minnesota. We've been brushed by the southern end of this band, which has produced some sleet mixed in with the rain in spotty evening and late night showers. There has been more widespread sleet and freezing rain to our north, so a trip towards Duluth or Grand Rapids could bring you over partially ice covered roads early this morning (see MnDOT road reports).

However, while the storms to our south have been moving northeastward, the influence of the strong high pushing into northern Manitoba is going to win out as the day goes on (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). The brunt of today's rainfall will be in southern Minnesota and ease southward into Iowa. So, the best chance of heavy rain today will stay in that band from Nebraska into southern Wisconsin. The best chance for severe thunderstorms will be in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

In central Minnesota, we will have that occasional rain or showers through the morning hours, but the chance of rain will decrease from late morning on. We might dry out enough to see a few peeks of sun this afternoon. In any case, temperatures should budge from the persistent middle 30's to the upper 40's and perhaps 50. The biting east to northeast wind will continue, however.

Slow Drying Out...Could Yield a Sunny Saturday

The high will circulate drier air from central Canada over us through tomorrow, so there will be a few holes in the clouds tonight, allowing temperatures to fall back into the 20's. Tomorrow, we actually could have a decent supply of sunshine, so those highs in the 40's will seem a bit warmer, despite the persistent northeast wind.

I'm Tired of Leftovers

However, we won't be able to keep the clouds out for that long. The main storm producing the large area of rain, our rain and storms, and some large hail and damaging winds in the High Plains yesterday has moved from Arizona into Colorado early this morning (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). This storm will drift eastward today. However, the next strong storm system approaching the Oregon and northern California coast (see 3-day eastern and central Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin Space Science Engineering Center) will shove the storm northeastward as it begins to weaken. That will be close enough on Saturday night into Sunday to bring the clouds back. There won't be a lot of rain, since the storm will be weakening, but we will have the chance for some spotty light rain or drizzle late Saturday night into much of Sunday. Temperatures will be held down to the low to middle 40's at best.

More Prolonged Sun and True Drying Out Early Next Week?

Our main hope for less gloomy weather will be a strengthening high pressure system over the Prairie Provinces. This system is forecast to move into Manitoba for early next week, which would shove the northern edge of the clouds far enough to our south to dry things out. If that happens, we could get rid of the dank conditions and have a period of sunshine with temperatures climbing back into the 50's early next week.

This will be a very active period for storms as each of the systems in the eastern and central Pacific (see 3-day eastern and central Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin Space Science Engineering Center) parade through the West Coast, the Central and Southern Rockies, the central and southern Mississippi Valley and the east. Each will have a chance of triggering severe weather from the Plains into the Ohio Valley and also producing some widespread rainfall

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Sniff At My Feet While I'm Forecasting"

Friday 3/24/2017: Mostly cloudy with some morning showers or drizzle. Some peeks of sun possible in the afternoon. Still breezy, but not quite as chilly. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Want Petting with One Hand, While I'm Typing the Forecast"

Friday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and a bit cooler. Low: between 27 and 32. Winds: ENE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday 3/25/2017: Mixed clouds and sun, breezy, and a shade cooler. High: between 42 and 47. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Forecast That Most Precipitation Will Be in the Form of Lettuce"

Saturday Night: Thickening clouds with chance of some spotty showers or drizzle. A better chance of steady showers towards morning. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Sunday 3/26/2017: Cloudy with rain or showers likely. High: between 42 and 47 Winds: E 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 70%.

Sunday Night: Continued cloudy and clammy. Some spotty light rain or drizzle. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50%.

Monday 3/27/2017: A chance of actually drying out. Maybe even some afternoon sun. High: between 48 and 53. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, lighter winds, and a shade cooler. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday 3/28/2017: Sunny? Seasonably mild? High: between 50 and 55. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Extended: Chance of rain again mid-week???

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

Yesterday's High: 40°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 35°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): 0.14 inch; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): TBA

March 24 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 43°F 23°F
Record Temperatures 78°F (1910) 48°F (1945)
12°F (1923) -22°F (1965)

Next Update: Monday, March 27, 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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