St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, December 11, 2017 6:50 AM

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

Occasional Flurries and Seasonably Cold Temperatures Continue

It Hasn't Really Been Unusually Cold

While the past week has been much colder than it was the first few days of December, temperatures were actually near the average, mainly since cloudy, breezy nights only bottomed out in the middle to upper teens, which is still about 5-10 degrees warmer than average.

Weather systems are still taking quite a detour on their trip across North America. The strong high pressure system in western North America remains in place, so Pacific weather systems have to travel into Alaska and the Yukon to be able to ride the crest of the ridge and move southeastward into the central US (see Canadian water vapor loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu; select Hemispheric Products, water vapor, and Canada). This pattern has brought waves of clouds with each passing northwest-to-southeast front, then breezy and colder conditions with each burst of cold air. We are still averaging milder than normal readings because the cold air in place in north central and northeastern Canada isn't that cold for this time of year and because we don't have much of a snow cover.

Overnight Snow Will Slow Morning Commute

The latest weather system is yet another front and low pressure system pushing through the Dakotas and Minnesota in the early morning hours. This storm is rather strong, as you can see by the intense counterclockwise circulation (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). There is a little bit more moisture associated with this system, so it has managed to drop a coating of snow over central and eastern Minnesota early this morning (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). A little more than an inch of new snow was reported at Pine River, just after midnight.

Unfortunately, we don't seem to cope well with these light snowfalls, probably because traffic doesn't always slow down. There have been scattered early morning accidents in the Twin Cities with the potential for a slow morning commute if people aren't careful.

The cause of the snow is the pumping of very mild air over the leftover cold air. How mild? Early morning temperatures are in the 40's in the western Dakota and 50's in Rapid City.

This low will race from southern Manitoba and the Winnipeg area (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) into Upper Michigan today, then intensify over Quebec tomorrow. The storm could end up producing a lot of snow over interior New York and northern New England, although it would have to be stronger to produce yesterday's snow in Buffalo, which ended up being a foot to a foot and a half south of the city.

More Waves of December-ish Cold Air

The stronger storm to our east will pull in a couple of surges of colder air, but they still will only produce seasonably cold temperatures in Minnesota. No, we won't get into the 40's in central Minnesota today. Today, the early morning temperatures in the 20's will likely stay for much of the day. The main problem will be the increasing northwest wind on the northwestern flank of the storm. Northwest winds will increase to 20-30 MPH with gusts over 40 MPH by late this morning and those winds will continue for the afternoon. There is a wind advisory for portions of southwest Minnesota out from 9 AM through 6 PM. There will be some spotty areas of low visibility and some icy spots where the snow blows over pavement. Wind chills will drop to near 10.

Tonight, the winds will ease off a bit after midnight. Temperatures will stay in the teens, but wind chills will be near or below zero by morning. Look for highs to rebound into the 20's tomorrow afternoon with perhaps a few flurries.

Another weak storm will push into Minnesota tomorrow night into Wednesday. There will again be the chance for flurries, but this next storm appears to be weaker than this morning's system, so we will likely end up with very little snowfall. Temperatures could approach or break freezing for a little while on Wednesday.

A colder shot of air will push into Minnesota and the Great Lakes for Thursday. However, it appears that the coldest of the cold air will head for southeastern Canada, so we will only be seasonably cold. Temperatures will fall back into the 20's Wednesday night and stay there Thursday.

Moderating Late Week and Weekend Conditions

Milder air will try to push over the top of the colder air near the ground on Thursday night and Friday. This will lead to some clouds and the chance for flurries. Highs will be in the middle 20's again on Friday.

About average cold conditions will continue through the weekend with perhaps a break in the below average cold.

Meanwhile, the snow over Alabama and Mississippi has melted, but temperatures have fallen into the 20's to near freezing, even in the Florida Panhandle.

The extreme fire danger continues across southern California today. The worst of the fires continues near Ventura, northwest of Los Angeles.

Confidence Level: "The Leaves Will Fall in My Yard"

Monday 12/11/2017: Mostly cloudy with perhaps a lingering morning snow shower, then turning blustery, and colder. Some blowing snow in open areas. Temperatures holding in the 20's. Winds: becoming NW and increasing to 20-30 MPH with higher gusts from late morning on. Wind chill: between 5 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40% until 9 AM, 20% after 9 AM

Monday Night:: Partly to mostly cloudy, windy, and colder. Low: between 10 and 15. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH evening, 8-18 MPH late. Wind chill near zero by morning. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Tuesday 12/12/2017: Mixed clouds and sun, maybe a few afternoon flurries, breezy, and seasonably cold. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Tuesday Night:: Clouding up and becoming milder. Low: between 10 and 15 evening, rising to near 20 by morning. Winds: SW, increasing to 8-15 MPH in the early morning hours. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Wednesday 12/13/2017: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and milder. High: between 32 and 35. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "The Neighbors' Leaves Will Blow into My Yard"

Wednesday Night:: Cloudy, breezy, and mild. Low: between 23 and 28. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chill near 10. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Thursday 12/14/2017: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and colder. A chance of PM light snow or flurries. Temperatures remaining in the middle 20's. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chills in the teens. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Thursday Night:: Cloudy, with diminishing wind and colder. Maybe some evening light snow or flurries. Low: between 14 and 18. Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Friday 12/15/2017: Partly sunny in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon, and continued seasonably cold. Maybe a few late day flurries. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH, becoming SW in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "The Yard Fairy Will Secretly Rake Up All of My Leaves During the Week"

Extended: Near average (maybe above average?) temperatures next weekend.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Will more of your hair fall out, Bob?"; 0 - "Will the winning PowerBall Numbers be encoded in your lost hair, Bob?"): 7 Monday through Tuesday, 6 Tuesday night and Wednesday, 5 Wednesday night and Thursday, 4 Thursday night and Friday, 3 Weekend.

Yesterday's High: 31°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 17°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 7 AM Monday): 0.09 inch/ 1 inch snow; SCSU Precipitation (through 7 AM Monday): 0.08 inch/0.7 inch snow

December 11 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 26°F 8°F
Record Temperatures 53°F (1913) 34°F (2015)
-7°F (1995) -23°F (1936)

Next Update: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 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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