Local Forecast

Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:48 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


Snow On Ground Today, Gone by Saturday(??)

April Storm Biggest of Cold Season

Yesterday's snow storm ended up being St. Cloud's biggest of the cold season. 8.5 inches were recorded at the St. Cloud Prison, beating the 8.2 inches on February 20 and 21. Not only did this storm blow away the April 16 snowfall record of 3.0 inches set in 1961; yesterday's snowfall alone would rank as the 10th snowiest April on record. The actual April snowfall total is now 12.0 inches, which ranks as the 4th snowiest April on record. The total seasonal snowfall in St. Cloud has jumped to 75.5 inches, tying 1916-1917 for 5th place and only 3 inches short of last cold season's ridiculous 78.5 inches.

Yesterday was St. Cloud's 48th day with measurable snowfall. That ties 1974-1975 for 9th most. The record total was 60 days in 1950-1951. There were 49 days in both 1993-1994 and 2012-2013. And, this morning will be St. Cloud's 128th day of the snow season with at least an inch on the ground. If we hold on to the snow through Saturday, it would only be the 17th time there have been at least 130 days with an inch of snow on the ground during the cold season.

Who Got the Most?

The heaviest snow fell in a swath from Redwood Falls to Wright and Meeker Counties, Big Lake, Cambridge, Isanti and Pine City. The highest totals included North Branch 15.1 inches, Darwin 14.8 inches, Monticello 14.6 inches, Big Lake and Milaca 14.5 inches, 14 inches in Litchfield and St. Francis, Maple Lake 13.5 inches, 13 inches in Stacy and Sheldon, 12.7 inches in Rogers, and 12 inches in Hillman and Mora. Some places with high snowfall, like Annandale (10.0 inches) had their last report before the snow ended, so their total could be higher.

The snow is just departing the Twin Cities and the I-35 corridor as of 2 AM (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop) as the storm pushes through Wisconsin and into Upper Michigan (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Clearing skies have now moved into central Minnesota (see Colorado State RAMDIS western fog/reflectivity product). Still, the rapid rate of snow accumulation means that road crews have some catching up to do. Expect slow improvement of conditions on the MnDOT road conditions site.

Also note that this is a very wet snow that is heavy, so be careful if you are shoveling.

Spring: Wait For It...

Among all of the questions I received yesterday, "When will the snow melt?" was common. We will get a slow start to the melting today as highs will struggle to get much beyond 40 degrees. It will remain colder than average, although not quite as cold as earlier in the week, through tomorrow. There are a couple of "next" storm systems with the biggest one coming onshore in British Columbia (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). A weaker storm, however, is producing some clouds in the Canadian Rockies. This system will push southeastward and move into Minnesota tonight into early tomorrow. It looks like this storm will have slightly more moisture than had been thought earlier, so look for clouds tonight through tomorrow morning. We might have a chance of a stray snow(?!) FLURRY!!!!! late tonight or early tomorrow, but it won't amount to anything. Those occasional flurries will become sprinkles tomorrow afternoon. Again, temperatures will top out in the 40's, but the clouds will keep low temperatures tonight in the 20's.

The weak system coming through tonight is the next attempt to pump warmer air into Minnesota. However, that British Columbia storm will do a better job once it pushes into the Plains on Saturday (see NWS HPC Short-Range forecast map). This will also produce a better chance of RAIN!!! showers or even a thunderstorm late Friday night through the first part of Saturday. The persistent clouds should keep temperatures Friday night in the 35-40 range, so I'm not worried about spotty freezing rain in the area. Even though Saturday will have a lot of clouds, the warmer air will move in behind the morning storms, so highs will climb into the upper 50's and perhaps even the lower 60's. That should mark the end of the snow cover.

...Until Sunday

The warm front will be past us for Sunday and Monday, so look for spring to finally resume Sunday with the warmth continuing through much of next week. On Sunday, high temperatures will climb to the upper 60's to lower 70's with 70's likely on Monday. Slightly cooler air will move on Tuesday with highs in the upper 60's. However, another warm front is slated to push through late Tuesday night and early Wednesday. I'm getting bold by forecasting that far in advance, but it looks like more 70's on Wednesday.

Another Common Question from Yesterday..

No, that doesn't necessarily mean we're done with snow this cold season (it doesn't mean that there will be more snowstorms either). We just can't see that far into the future reliably.

I now pause for more yelling and screaming.......and ducking projectiles while shoveling..

See Forecast Below

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Current Watches/Warnings

Ground and Air Travel




Thursday 4/17: Morning sunshine, mixed clouds and sun in the afternoon, breezy, and continued cold. High: between 37 and 42. (record cold high: 32 in 1915) Winds: NW 5-15 MPH in the morning, 10-18 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Thursday Night: Clouding up and continued cold. A slight chance of a snow flurry late. Low: between 25 and 30. (record cold low: 17 in 1928) Winds: SE 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Friday 4/18: Mostly cloudy with perhaps a stray snow flurry in the morning. A chnace of some light rain in the afternoon, breezy, and not quite as cold. High: between 42 and 46. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 40%.

Friday Night: Continued mostly cloudy, but milder. A chance of a late night rain shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20% evening, 40% after midnight.

Saturday 4/19: Cloudy with a good chance of morning rain showers (or perhaps a thunderstorm). Becoming partly sunny by middle to late afternoon. Turning more April-like. High: between 58 and 65. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH, becoming SW 5-15 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50% in the morning, 20% in the afternoon.

End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty

Saturday Night: Clearing, but still mild. Low: between 38 and 43. Winds: SW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 4/20: Sunny and much warmer. High: between 68 and 73. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy and still mild. Low: between 42 and 46. Winds: light SW. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Monday 4/21: Sunny and warmer. High: between 72 and 76. Winds: WNW 10-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

For Entertainment Purposes Only.

Monday Night: Partly clear, a little breezy, and a shade cooler. Low: between 36 and 42. Winds: N 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday 4/22: Sunny and not quite as warm. High: between 66 and 71. Winds: light NE. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday Night: Increasing clouds with a chance of a late night shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 42 and 47. Winds: E 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Wednesday 4/23: A chance of an early shower or thunderstorm, then partly sunny and very warm again. High: in the 70's. Winds: S 10-20 MPH Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Extended: Warm weather continues through much of next work week.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Thursday and Thursday night, 6 Friday through Saturday, 5 Saturday night and Sunday, 4 Sunday night and Monday, 3 Monday night and Tuesday, 2 Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Yesterday's High: 33F (set at 2 AM); Yesterday's Daytime High: 30°F; Overnight Low (through 2 AM): 29F
St. Cloud Prison Storm Total Precipitation (through 4 AM): 0.98 inch liquid/8.5 inches snow; SCSU Precipitation (through 5 PM): 0.70 inch liquid/7.4 inches snow

Normal Temperatures for April 17 - High: 58F; Low: 33F
Next Update: Friday, April 18, 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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