St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, March 27, 2017 2:30 AM

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

(forecast below this discussion)

Canadian High Pressure for the Win

Parade of Storms Only Throwing Low Clouds into Minnesota

Despite the persistent low clouds (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) and relatively cool high temperatures in the lower 40's (see 3-day loop of high temperatures from NWS/University at Albany), central Minnesota has been barely brushed by the parade of storm systems that have moved from the West Coast through the southern Rockies and into the Plains states (see 7-day loop of infrared satellite from University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Center). We were clipped by the northern edge of the systems that went to our south on Thursday night into Friday and again Saturday night into yesterday morning. A new system has emerged from the Rockies into the Plains last night, which has been triggering showers and thunderstorms from Kansas and Nebraska into Texas (see NWS national radar loop). A number of the evening storms produced large hail and some straight line wind damage in the Southern Plains. This system has access to more moisture in a deeper layer than the previous storms, so it could produce a more widespread severe weather outbreak today in the Lower Mississippi Valley than was noted last Friday. And, there's another strong system (with relatively few clouds) about to come ashore in central California (see dark patch with counterclockwise circulation on the water vapor loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). With even more storms backed up into the central Pacific (see 3-day eastern and central Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin Space Science Engineering Center), the very active weather pattern will continue to our south.

However, there are only a few middle and high clouds over Minnesota from the system to our south. That's because the strong high pressure system to the northwest of Hudson Bay (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) is holding in the northern flow pattern and will even drift a bit to the south over the next few days. This will keep enough dry air at low levels circulating into the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to hold off the precipitation to our south. It appears that the closest approach of any rain will be will be from the new West Coast system that will drift a bit to the northeast in the middle of the week. While the US computer forecast has the edge of this system close enough to spread some precipitation over southern Minnesota, the European computer forecast has this system taking a track even further to the south, so I'm only keeping a slight chance of showers on Wednesday.

Improvement This Afternoon and Tomorrow

We may still have the problem of lingering low clouds for a while. That's what has been keeping temperatures down to the chillier side, especially with the moisture in the air and the brisk east to northeast winds. We may be able to eke out some sun this afternoon, but I'm going to stay conservative and keep our highs in the upper 40's to near 50. We will have a better chance for more sunshine tomorrow, so temperatures have a better chance of reaching the 50's.

More Clouds Wednesday(??), Better Chance for Sun Late Week into Weekend

I'm still keeping a lot of clouds in the Wednesday forecast in case the US computer track comes true, but I don't have much of a shower chance. The combination of clouds and the biting east to northeast wind will keep temperatures in the 40's and make it feel a bit more uncomfortable than that.

However, we could break back into sunshine as early as Thursday and continue on Friday. So, highs will rebound to the 50's. I'm not seeing temperatures much higher than that since this high pressure does have some cool air. However, this will not be one of our rare winter relapses since the coldest of the cold air will head towards central and northern Ontario and Quebec.

March Could Actually be Average for the First Time Since Summer

After a series of warmer than average months from August through February (at least 1.5 degrees above average each month), March has the best chance of being a near average month for the first time since last summer. Through yesterday, the average St. Cloud temperature has been 28.2 degrees, within 0.1 degree of average. In fact, we have two straight Marches, since February had an average temperature of 27.6 degrees, within a degree of this March, but ranking as the 3rd warmest February on record. The 0.17 inch of rain in Thursday's showers and thunderstorms, and Saturday night's light rain still have us nearly half an inch short of average March precipitation (0.67 inches, -0.57 inch from normal). The snowfall is way below average (30.9 inches, 10.9 inches less than average). Snow is still possible in April (2.9 inches on the average) if we get on the cool side of one of these storms, but the odds are down. And, we only have 5 days left (the last 5 days of March and April 4) when a below zero temperature has every been recorded. And, we won't get there during this week.

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

Monday 3/27/2017: Cloudy in the morning, partial clearing in the afternoon. Milder. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: light NE. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Monday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy and a bit cooler. Low: between 28 and 33. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday 3/28/2017: Partly sunny and milder. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: E 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

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

Tuesday Night: Clouding up, breezy, and milder. Low: between 32 and 37. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Wednesday 3/29/2017: Cloudy, breezy, and cooler. A slight chance of a rain shower. High: between 44 and 48. Winds: E 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and continued mild. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Thursday 3/30/2017: Sunny, breezy, and drier. High: between 50 and 55. Winds: E 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

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

Thursday Night: Mostly clear with diminishing wind and a shade cooler. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Friday 3/31/2017: Sunny, light winds, and milder. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Extended: Sunny and seasonably warm Saturday.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Monday, 6 Monday night and Tuesday, 5 Tuesday night through Thursday, 3 Thursday night and Friday.

Yesterday's High: 41°F; Overnight Low (through 2 AM): 36°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 2 AM Monday): 0.03 inch; SCSU Precipitation (through 2 AM Monday): TBA

March 27 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 45°F 24°F
Record Temperatures 76°F (1946) 44°F (1968)
20°F (1899) -2°F (1923)

Next Update: Tuesday, March 28, 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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