Local Forecast

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:07 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

Another Shot at Records Today

St. Cloud Un-February Weather Scoreboard
Time Record Warm Temperature (Year) Forecast Temperature Record for the Month of February
Friday 2/17
54 in 1981
59 New record
tied record of Feb. 27, 2016
Saturday 2/18
56 in 1981
57 New record
Sunday 2/19
56 in 1981
58  New record
Sunday Night
34 in 1930
37 (at midnight Sun. night)
Monday 2/20
57 in 1981
50 Nope
Monday Night
38 in 1930
31 through 2 AM Nope
Tuesday 2/21
56 in 1981

59 on February 27, 2016


and Feb. 17, 2017

Tuesday Night
34 in 1998
Wednesday 2/22
55 in 1961
Thursday 2/23   35-40 (back to early March weather)  
Friday 2/24  
Snow?? (light????)

More Than a Month's Worth of Rain

Three days, three record warm highs.  In fact,  high temperatures  in the upper 50's would be typical  of the middle of April, not the last 10 days of February (avg. high: 28 degrees, avg. low: 9 degrees). Yesterday's big winners were Canby, Marshall, and Tracy with 65 degrees, Windom with 64 degrees, and Luverne and Princeton with 63 degrees (see Yesterday's   High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany). 70's were widespread in South Dakota and Iowa.

The 0.54 inch of rain that fell at the St. Cloud Airport was nearly as much as had fallen since January 3 (0.58 inch). However, with the ground still frozen (see MnDOT frost depth at Otsego), much of the water simply sat on the ground. There has been some thawing in the top layers at Ottertail, so some seepage could occur. We also have some low clouds (see Colorado State RAMDIS Western US Fog/Reflectivity Product) and some lingering fog (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart) from the leftover moisture.

However, to our west, there are only a few high clouds (see infrared loop from College   of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) after yet another day of warm temperatures. That means we will have one last shot at cracking that never-before-in-February 60 degree high. We probably won't make it, but we have an excellent shot at the 56-degree record February 21 high.

Skies will cloud up late tonight as a stronger cold front begins to push southward out of southern Canada (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). This front will push through during the middle of tomorrow, possibly bringing a few more rain showers. We will see temperatures again in the lower to middle 50's, meaning that we might have a shot at tomorrow's record high of 55, but it won't be as likely as today.

Thursday - Reality for March

After a week of mid-April temperatures, Thursday will come as a shock with high temperatures only in the upper half of the 30's. That will be only 5-10 degrees above average instead of our recent  readings that are 20-40 degrees above average right now.

Friday - Scary....or Not

The late week storm in the Central Plains is still being forecast by all of the computer forecasts. This storm could dump 6-12 inches of snow with bad blowing and drifting in the hardest hit areas. The worst of the snow would fall mostly from late Thursday afternoon into Friday morning. The US long range forecast pushed the storm track northward by half a state overnight. Its current forecast track through central Iowa would put the Twin Cities right in the hardest hit area and St. Cloud in an area of significant accumulations. 

However, the European forecast keeps the storm track further to the south. So, it's still far too early to be sure. For now, I have a chance of some light snow in the forecast Thursday night or Friday, but just about anything could happen from nothing to a major accumulation. This storm will be strong enough to cause windy conditions that will combine with highs in the 20's to near 30 to give us quite a shock with wind chills in the teens. That's not dangerous, but would certainly be annoying after basking in this weekend's warmth.

The cold temperatures will continue through next week, which will average at least 20 degrees colder than this past weekend.

The rapid thawing and snow melt will cause some rivers in extreme southeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa to flood by mid-week. There is also some minor flooding taking place along the Red River Valley.

Next Pacific Storm Causing More Potential Flooding

The new storm is producing minor to moderate flooding in the central valley of California, especially in Silicon Valley. All of northern California is under a flood warning. Other warnings are in effect for Washington, Nevada, and Idaho.

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

Tuesday 2/21/2017: Some early low clouds and fog, then becoming sunny to partly cloudy and even more insanely warm. High: between 56 and 62 (record warm high: 55 in 1961). Winds: SW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday Night: Clear, light winds, and still mild. Maybe some fog. Low: between 30 and 35. (record warm low: 34 in 1998). Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Wednesday 2/22/2017: Mixed clouds and sun with a chance of a midday or afternoon rain shower. Breezy and not quite as warm. High: between 50 and 55 (record warm high: 55 in 1961). Winds: SE 5-15 MPH, becoming NW 10-20 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

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

Wednesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and cool. Perhaps a snow flurry.   Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Thursday 2/23/2017: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and cooler. A chance of flurries.   High: between 35 and 40. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

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

Thursday Night: Cloudy with a  chance of accumulating snow. Blustery and colder.  Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: NE 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 60%.

Friday 2/24/2017: A chance of accumulating snow in the morning, tapering to flurries midday and afternoon. Blustery  and colder.  High: between 27 and 32. Winds: N 20-35 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.

Friday Night: Clearing with slowly diminishing wind late at night and nearly average cold for the end of February.  Low: between 14 and 18. Winds: NW 10-25 MPH evening, 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 80%.

Saturday 2/25/2017: Cloudy with occasional flurries, and seasonably cold.  High: between 24 and 28. Winds: N 20-35 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Extended: Actual winter-like cold continues Sunday with highs in the 20's.

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 and Wednesday, 5 Wednesday night and Thursday, 3 Thursday night through Saturday.

Yesterday's High: 50°F; Overnight Low (through 2 AM): 31°F
  St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 2 AM Tuesday): 0.54 inch; SCSU Precipitation (through 2 AM   Tuesday): TBA

Normal Temperatures for February 20 - High: 28°F;   Low: 9°F
Next Update: Tuesday, February 21, 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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