St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Saturday, April 29, 2017 4:00 AM

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

(forecast below this discussion)

Snow to Go West Sunday-Monday??

What's That Yellow Thing?

We finally managed to break out of the low clouds yesterday (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). High temperatures were still on the chilly side for the end of April (highs are supposed to be in the lower 60's), but temperatures in the 50's were still a 15-20 degree improvement from the previous 2 days (see 3-day loop of high temperatures from NWS/University at Albany). Overnight, southern and central Minnesota have seen some middle and upper level clouds as the next storm system in Colorado and Wyoming pulled its band of clouds through Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa late yesterday. However, the rain showers from this system dried up (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop), so the main effect of these middle clouds has been to keep temperatures in southern and central Minnesota in the middle to upper 30's with even a few 40's in the early morning hours (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart).

We will eke out another mild and dry day tonight. We will have periods of middle clouds, but temperatures should be able to climb back into the 50's. Tonight should be quite, too, with readings back in the 30's. The northeast winds will begin to pick up a bit.

Cold, Wet Storm Begins Midday Sunday...

The stronger storm system is now taking shape in the Southern Rockies. A full counterclockwise circulation has developed near the Arizona-New Mexico border (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Already, a wave of warm and increasingly sticky air was pulled over the mild air in the Plains, leading to widespread showers and thunderstorms from Oklahoma and Missouri to Ohio overnight (see radar loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). And yet, the storm at the ground has yet to develop with only a front marking the boundary between seasonably mild air in Oklahoma and Missouri and warm and sticky air in south Texas and Louisiana (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map).

That storm will begin to develop today in Oklahoma, then move northeastward into Iowa as it strengthens during Sunday and Monday (see NWS WPC Short-Range forecast map). This storm will squeeze out gobs of rain in the Plains over the next three days with much of Missouri and Arkansas having the potential for major flooding and the threat of some flooding between Oklahoma and lower Michigan (green areas on the NWS watch-warning map). There is also a threat of severe thunderstorms a bit further to the south from Arkansas and Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

...But Threat of Snow Accumulation to Our North and West Sunday Night????

As this system moves northeastward over the weekend, it will spread moderate rainfall into the cold air over the Dakotas, Nebraska, and into Minnesota and Wisconsin by tomorrow. There is still the threat of the air being cold enough to produce snow on the northwestern fringe of the cold rain band, but the computer forecasts have been steadily pushing this area further to the northwest over the past day and a half of forecasts. That trend has pushed the main threat of accumulating snowfall late Sunday into Sunday night to the north and west of the St. Cloud area. So, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Wheaton, Wadena, Park Rapids, Bemidji, and the Red Lakes would have the best chance to see significant snow accumulation (3-6 inches) Sunday night into Monday morning. The area of snowfall would shift towards International Falls and the Boundary Waters Monday into Monday night. Between St. Cloud and Alexandria and Brainerd, including Willmar and Little Falls, there would be a period of mixed precipitation from late Sunday into the first half of Sunday night. Temperatures are actually forecast to warm a bit late Sunday night as the low pulls warmer air more deeply into southeastern and south central Minnesota. This is the trickiest part of the forecast: trying to figure out how cold the ground temperatures will be in the area where wet snow, sleet, and rain are all possible. There could be a coating of snow and ice for a while, or all of it could melt on contact with the ground. Little Falls and Long Prairie would have a better chance of some slippery roads due to a longer period of mixed precipitation Sunday night, but they could have temperatures climb above freezing as well.

It appears that the Twin Cities Metro Area would stay mild enough to allow any frozen precipitation to melt on contact with the ground.

So, there is still uncertainty, but it appears the area with the best chance to see travel problems Sunday night into the Monday morning commute has edged to the north and west of St. Cloud. Obviously, a slight shift of the storm track back to the south and east would put St. Cloud, Monticello, Foley, and Olivia back under the threat of a mixed bag.

The areas that have mostly rain will get awfully wet with the potential for more than an inch to even an inch and a half from Sunday afternoon into Monday.

Les Miserables Continue Monday

The steadiest of the precipitation should taper off Monday morning, but we are likely to see persistent drizzle with occasional wet snow or rain showers. It will be another cold and clammy day as temperatures will only make it into the middle to upper 30's and that driving north to northeast wind will add to the misery index.

On Monday night, there may be a few lingering wet snow or rain showers. It is possible that temperatures could dip below freezing so that a light coating of wet snow may accumulate. In any case, any wet spots may freeze.

50's Will Again Feel Good Tuesday

Tuesday will likely be a repeat of yesterday. It won't be warm for May with highs breaking 50, but the return of sunshine and a 15 degree temperature gain from late Sunday and Monday will be welcome.

The good news is that this powerful storm affecting us over the next 3 days will likely be the last one with this much moisture for a while. We may see a reinforcing cold front on Wednesday, but highs should be able to make it into the 50's. By later in the week, the pattern that produced so much mild weather during the winter could return as we may see air that has been warmed and dried by its trip over the Canadian Rockies. That could finally allow more May-like temperatures towards the end of next week.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Investigate the Stack of Papers I Have to Grade"

Saturday 4/29/2017: Sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and continued seasonably cool. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: NE 10-18 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Thickening clouds, breezy, and not as cold. Low: between 32 and 37. Winds: NE 10-18 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 4/30/2017: Cloudy with rain developing by midday. Some wet snow or sleet could mix in during the afternoon, but any frozen precipitation should melt on contact with the ground. Windy, wet, and chilly. High: between 40 and 45, falling to the middle 30's once the precipitation begins. Winds: NE 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 30% through 10 AM, 80% from noon on.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Sit on Top of the Pile of Papers"

Sunday Night: Cloudy with an evening mixture of wet snow, sleet, and rain likely. Precipitaiton will turn back to rain in the early morning hours. Precipitation will stay mixed overnight to the north and west of St. Cloud with some accumulation possible. Temperatures holding between 32 and 37. Winds: NE-N 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 90%.

Monday 5/1/2017: Cloudy, windy, and colder with occasional rain or wet snow showers separated by periods of drizzle. Any wet snow will melt on contact with the ground. Windy, moist, and miserable. High: between 35 and 40. (record cold high: 39 in 2011). Winds: N 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 70%.

Monday Night: Cloudy with a chance of scattered wet snow showers. A coating may be possible by morning. Slowly diminishing wind, and cold. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH evening, 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable precipitation: 30%.

Tuesday 5/2/2017: The return of sunshine? Coolish, but it will be much warmer than recent weather. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Only Eat Parts of the Bad Papers"

Extended: Still in the 50's on Wednesday. May-ish weather to reemerge late in the week or towards the weekend???

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

Yesterday's High: 52°F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM): 37°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 4 AM Saturday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Saturday): None

April 29 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 63°F 38°F
Record Temperatures 86°F (1952) 60°F (2001)
33°F (1909) 18°F (1958)

Next Update: Sunday, April 30, 2017 8:00 AM (or as needed)

Next Update: Saturday, April 29, 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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