St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 3:55 AM

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

Don't Dress Tonight or Tomorrow Like You Do This Morning!

The countdown to the next shot of arctic air is down to about 18 hours in Minnesota. And, this shot of arctic air will produce wind chills as severe as the coldest air we have seen so far this season.

Mild Through Mid-Afternoon; Major Snow in Arrowhead

Right now, we are deceptively mild. After temperatures topped off near or above freezing yesterday (see 3 PM Monday NWS WPC North American zoom-in map), we still have early morning temperatures in the 20's (see NWS Aviation Weather Center metar map), thanks to a southeast breeze, and a batch of clouds that has moved in from the Canadian Prairie Provinces (see College of DuPage North American clean infrared satellite loop). Those clouds, and some periods of snow across North Dakota and northern Minnesota (see College of DuPage North Central US radar loop), are being produced by a strengthening low pressure system racing across southern Saskatchewan into North Dakota (see College of DuPage Continental US mid-level water vapor loop). This system will produce shovelable snow across much of northern Minnesota with 4-6 inches possible in the Arrowhead with the best chance for more than 6 inches right along the Lake Superior shore. There are several snow-covered roads already in northwestern and north central Minnesota early this morning (see MnDOT Minnesota road reports), so travel will be slow across the northern third of the state today. The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning along the North Shore from Two Harbors to Grand Portage and a winter weather advisory inland. In central Minnesota, there will only be a few snow flurries with temperatures climbing to or even above freezing around the middle of the day.

Winds to Come Up This PM, Causing Blowing Snow Problems

However, the winds will begin coming up during the middle and late afternoon as the low pressure system moves across Manitoba into Ontario and after the cold front comes through Minnesota. It will be breezy during the morning, but the winds will turn around to northwest and blow at 20-40 MPH with higher gusts (see NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up for the latest gusts) which will continue through the evening. Winds will still be 15-30 MPH with higher gusts after midnight tonight. This may allow the current deep snow cover over central and northern Minnesota (see NWS NOHRSC snow depth map) to blow and drift over roadways. There could be some areas of near zero visibility in open areas. And, snow drifting over the roads will tend to ice them up. At the temperatures we will have from this evening through Friday morning, chemical and salt won't melt the ice, so any white spots will be slippery (follow road conditions on the MnDOT Minnesota road reports). The National Weather Service has a winter weather advisory from the Red River Valley into eastern North Dakota, mainly for the possibility of blizzard conditions, not falling snow, this afternoon and tonight.

Arctic Outbreak With Serious Wind Chills to Hit Tuesday Night Through Friday AM

This shot of arctic air is going to be colder than what we saw last Saturday or a week ago Monday. At its worst tomorrow morning into midday and on Wednesday night into early Thursday, the wind chills will be similar to the cold outbreak we saw over New Year's weekend (see 30-day graph of St. Cloud temperatures for comparison), but the actual temperatures may only stay below zero all day on Thursday. Still, we are likely to see wind chills in the -35 to -20 range from the second half of tonight through the first half of tomorrow (see NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up for the latest temperatures and wind chills). The main question is whether the winds calm all the way down late Wednesday night. If so, temperatures could get to -25 with even a few -30s. If not, temperatures will likely remain in the minus teens to perhaps -20, but with wind chills in the -40 to -25 range. Keep in mind that wind chills of -25 produces frostbite in 30 minutes. Wind chills of -35 or colder produces frostbite in 10 minutes or less. You will need that cold weather survival kit in your vehicle for any mid-week travel

During the day on Thursday, highs are likely to stay below zero with some very light winds. We may have a shot at another -20 low by mid-evening Thursday night while the winds are light. There will still be wind chills in the -35 to -20 range when the winds begin to blow in the Friday early morning hours. If there is more of an evening breeze, we will simply have another whole night of bitterly cold wind chills. The National Weather Service already has a wind chill advisory from midnight tonight through noon tomorrow. A wind chill warning is likely for a good chunk of the area Wednesday night through late morning Thursday with the potential of wind chills of -30 or colder. Some type of wind chill issue will likely continue until midday Friday.

High Pressure Will Also Cause Achiness

In addition to the cold, the arctic high pressure area over the northwestern Northwest Territories (see 3 PM Monday NWS WPC North American zoom-in map) will swoop into the Dakotas by early Thursday, then drift across Minnesota through Thursday evening. The central pressure of this high is likely to be 30.70-30.85 inches (1040-1045 mb). That very high pressure, and our trip up the barometer from late today through Thursday, is likely to aggravate joints and sinuses for people who are sensitive to these issues. The high pressure will continue into Thursday evening.

This arctic period will likely last until midday Friday. Temperatures will begin rising the second half of Thursday night, cracking zero some time on Friday morning and perhaps reaching 10 degrees by Friday afternoon.

Plowable Snow in NE Minnesota Tuesday?

There will be a chance of a little light snow or flurries Tuesday when the low leading the arctic outbreak comes through. The most important snowfall will remain along the Lake Superior shore of the Arrowhead where more than 6 inches of snow could accumulate. More of the Arrowhead could see at least a shovelable snow (2 inches or more).

The main risk in central and southern Minnesota will be the possibility of low visibility in blowing snow when the winds come up on Tuesday and continue strong through Tuesday night. For the bulk of the period, however, the main issue will be the serious wind chill.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "I Will Walk into the Doorknob at Least Twice A Day"

Tuesday 1/18/2022: Cloudy, breezy, and mild with perhaps a stray morning or midday sprinkle or flurry. Then, turning blustery in the afternoon with low visibility due to blowing snow in open areas. High: between 30 and 35. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH in the morning, becoming NW 20-40 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Tuesday Night: Clearing, breezy, and turning much colder with serious wind chills. Blowing snow in open areas. Low: between -5 and 0. Winds: NW 20-35 MPH evening, 15-30 MPH from late evening on. Wind chill: between -35 and -15 after midnight. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday 1/19/2022: Sunny, but so what! Continued bitterly cold with a biting wind. High: between 0 and +5. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH. Wind chill: between -35 and -20 in the morning, between -25 and -10 in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday Night: Clear with a biting breeze evening, diminishing wind late and frigid. Low: between -25 and -15. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH during the evening, NW 5 MPH late at night. Evening wind chill: between -40 and -25. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.

Confidence Level: "At Least Once, My Fingernail Will Get Pulled Back and Start Bleeding"

Thursday 1/20/2022: Sunny, lighter winds, but still bitterly cold. High: between -6 and -2. Winds: W 5 MPH. Spotty wind chill: between -35 and -15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.

Thursday Night: Clear and very cold again during the evening, then turning a bit breezy with strong wind chills late at night. Low: between -20 and -15 by mid-evening, then rising to between -8 and -4 late. Winds: SE 5 MPH evening, SE 5-10 MPH late. Late night wind chill: between -35 and -20. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday 1/21/2022: Some sunshine through high clouds, windy with moderating temperatures, but still serious wind chill. High: between 7 and 13. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH AM, 10-25 MPH PM. Wind chill: between -30 and -15 in the morning, between -20 and 0 in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "We Will Be Out of Bandages"

Friday Night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries during the evening, breezy late, but not quite as frigid. Low: between 3 and 8. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH during the evening, NW 8-15 MPH late at night. Evening wind chill: between -10 and -0, Late night wind chill: between -15 and -5. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Saturday 1/22/2022: Cloudy with perhaps a flurry, lighter winds, and still fairly cold. High: between 5 and 12. Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Wind chill: between -20 and 0. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Extended: Temperatures in the teens by Sunday????

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump Even Though I Fed Them"; 0 - "The Rabbits Will Offer To Groom My Bald Spot"): 7 Tuesday through Wednesday, 6 Wednesday night, 5 Thursday, 4 Thursday night and Friday, 2 Friday night and Saturday.

Yesterday's High: 33°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Tuesday): 25°F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation (through 3 AM Tuesday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Tuesday): None

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
January 18 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 21°F 4°F
Record Temperatures 48°F (1981) 29°F (1986)
-17°F (1994) -34°F (1994)

Next Update: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 8 AM





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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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