St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Wednesday, January 22, 2020  4:10 AM

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

I Feel Dizzy..My Lows Are Spinning...

Some Difficult Travel in Parts of SW MN

First, the strong winds that accompanied the warm-up (milder temperatures now on the NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR map than most of yesterday). However, the strong southwest winds accompanying the warm-up has caused enough blowing and drifting snow for no travel to be advised in a few places outside of Marshall.

Low Number 1 to Affect Southeastern MN Today

Three lows are going to dominate the weather for the rest of the work week. One is the counterclockwise rotating low that moved from New Mexico into western Kansas overnight (see Mid-Tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider menu). This first low has been producing a wide swath of precipitation (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). In Kansas and Oklahoma, this is a cold rain (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). In eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, temperatures are cold enough for this precipitation to fall as a mixture of some wet snow and rain or freezing rain.

As this first low pushes northeastward today through Iowa today and into Wisconsin tonight, the swath of precipitation will move northeastward, producing mostly wet snow across southeastern Minnesota. Between 2 and 4 inches of wet snow is likely in places like Rochester, Winona, Red Wing, and Albert Lea today into tonight. There could be between a dusting and 2 inches in Mankato and Jackson. The precipitation could begin as a period of freezing rain or sleet, but quickly turn over to mostly wet snow. Around Worthington, there will only be light precipitation, but it will be a mixture, so there could be a coating of ice on all untreated surfaces.

In the St. Cloud area, this system will go off to our south and east. We will be mostly cloudy today with perhaps some patchy drizzle. There is a slight chance of freezing drizzle in the morning. However, today's temperatures will climb above freezing, despite the gloominess.

Two Other Lows to Squeeze Out Some Light Snow Tomorrow into Tomorrow Evening

For tomorrow, Friday, and perhaps Saturday, two more low pressure systems are going to take over the weather in the Central US. The main system will be the low arriving on the Washington coast this morning (see Mid-Tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider menu). There is a third storm system now pushing across Idaho into Montana and Wyoming. The Washington coast storm is expected to intensify as it moves into Nebraska and Kansas tomorrow. That system will produce the bulk of the precipitation across the southern and central Mississippi Valley tomorrow and into the Southeast by the end of the week. However, the Idaho low will get caught up in the large counterclockwise rotation, moving towards the Dakotas, then being pulled southeastward tomorrow. That will produce another period of light snow across Minnesota, mostly tomorrow into tomorrow evening. The precipitation will be light, but there is a chance of between a dusting and 2 inches in central Minnesota with perhaps another 1-3 inches across southern Minnesota.

Lingering Light Snow or Freezing Drizzle Friday?

The third low moving into Kansas will also get caught up in this big counterclockwise circulation, so it will also spin northwestward back into Minnesota on Friday. That will likely keep clouds across the state with perhaps some light snow or flurries or perhaps some spotty freezing drizzle. I expect a mainly cloudy Friday with temperatures holding in the 20's to near 30.

Generally Milder Weather Pattern With Some Hope of Sun Saturday

The computer forecasts have been having trouble with the development of these three systems, especially on the track. The main US computer forecast has been keeping too much precipitation too far to the north on Friday. So, there are some shaky parts of the forecast, especially from Friday on. The secondary computer forecast has some hope of getting some sunshine late week or on Saturday.

What is sure is that the really cold air in northern Alaska and the Yukon (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) is going to stay locked up across northern Canada for a while. So, we should generally see a period with milder temperatures, near average or above average for much of the period. There is always the issue of low clouds cutting down on potential sunshine and the possible development of fog, but it looks like a milder period for a while.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Hover Around Me While I'm Trying to Forecast"

Wednesday 1/22/2020: Cloudy, not as windy, and milder. Maybe some spotty sprinkles or flurries. High: between 33 and 39. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 20%.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy, light winds, and mild. Areas of dense fog likely. Patchy drizzle or freezing drizzle possible. Low: between 30 and 34. Winds: NE 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Try and Climb Up My Leg While I Try to Forecast"

Thursday 1/23/2020: Cloudy, breezy, and not quite as mild. A chance of light snow or flurries. Perhaps some spotty freezing drizzle. Between a dusting and 2 inches are possible Thursday into Thursday night. Temperatures slowly falling from near freezing into the upper 20's. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 70%.

Thursday Night: Cloudy with occasional light snow or flurries. Turning a bit colder. Low: between 23 and 28. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Friday 1/24/2020: Cloudy with flurries in the morning, perhaps some sun in the afternoon. High: between 28 and 33. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Friday Night: Partial clearing, light winds, and a bit colder. Some areas of dense fog. Low: between 20 and 25. Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Speed of the Rabbits' Nose-Wriggling is Proportional to the Temperature A Week From Now"

Saturday 1/25/2020: Partly sunny and seasonably cold. High: in the 20's. Winds: W 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Extended: Average to above average temperatures through the weekend and into early next week??

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump, Objecting to Me Yelling at the Light Bulb"; 0 - "I Will Be Hosting a DIY Show on Home Repairs"): 6 Wednesday and Wednesday night, 5 Thursday, 4 Thursday night through Friday night, 2 Saturday.

Yesterday's High (set at midnight Tuesday night): 18°F; Yesterday's Daytime High: 16°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Wednesday): 16°F
St. Cloud Airport Storm Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
January 22 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 22°F 1°F
Record Temperatures 52°F (1942) 33°F (2017)
-20°F (1936) -37°F (1936)

Next Update: Thursday, January 23, 2020 8 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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