St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, February 19, 2018 3:20 AM

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

A Little Light Snow AM, But More Possible Monday Night-Tuesday

Northern Minnesota Snow Way More Than Expected

The snow band that brushed Brainerd and Cloquet with an inch or less of snow yesterday plastered the Hwy. 2 corridor into the Arrowhead with widespread 8-12 inch snowfall. A couple of places near Bemidji like Blackduck received as much as 15 inches of snow. Roads were at least partially snow covered from Camp Ripley northward on the MnDOT Minnesota road conditions. Meanwhile, central Minnesota just remained cloudy.

Next Wave to Produce Light Snow Over Central Minnesota, Light Mix in Southern Minnesota

However, the next wave of snow has been developing over Wyoming and South Dakota in the early morning hours (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). This area is headed for central Minnesota and will beginning to produce snow in central Minnesota through midday. The amounts will generally be light, but between a dusting and 2 inches of new snow could accumulate.

The other issue is in the very weak radar echoes in eastern Nebraska. The precipitation isn't falling very hard, but it is falling in the form of a mixed bag of sleet (double arrows) and freezing rain (sideways S on the UCAR Minnesota surface chart). All of this precipitation will move northeastward today, so some of this mixed precipitation will break out across southern and southeastern Minnesota today. The biggest threat will be from Jackson and Fairmont into Faribault, Rochester, and Winona. There won't be much precipitation, but a small glaze will cause many icy spots.

The cause of this parade of storms is the strong low pressure system along the West Coast (see large counterclockwise circulation; set product to "Band 9: Mid-Tropospheric Water Vapor" on the Colorado State RAMMB slider satellite loop). This system will continue to create a series of low pressure systems running along the front from Kansas into southeastern Minnesota (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). As mentioned earlier, a weak system will race through central Minnesota creating the chance for a little snow here and that mixed precipitation to our south.

Best Chance for Central MN Shovelable Snow Late Tonight Through Tomorrow Morning

A stronger system is due to push through the second half of tonight through tomorrow morning. This will spread primarily snow through central Minnesota and will be our best chance to see a shovelable snowfall. We have a chance for 2-4 inches of new snow between midnight tonight and midday tomorrow. The precipitation will take the form of a wintry mix with significant ice accumulation across Albert Lea, Austin, Rochester, and LaCrosse, before turning back to snow overnight. It appears that the Twin Cities will get mostly a light snow amount, but we all know that the light snowfalls seems to cause the most accidents. So, it could be quite a difficult Tuesday morning commute.

The St. Cloud, Alexandria, and Willmar areas are now in a winter weather advisory, but it doesn't begin here until 6 PM tonight and lasts through 6 PM Tuesday. Further to the south, where there is a threat at least some freezing rain or freezing drizzle, the winter weather advisory is in effect now and continues to Tuesday evening.

During this cloudy period, we will be much colder than the past two days. Temperatures have fallen back into the teens with strong northeast winds and they will hover in the teens to perhaps lower 20's through tomorrow. Northeast winds will continue at 15-25 MPH with higher gusts.

We will finally get a break in this storm parade as the front moves far enough to our south by Wednesday to allow for some clearing. It will remain quite cold with lows below zero and highs in the teens Wednesday and possibly getting to 20 on Thursday. While we get a break, there still will be a series of storms, creating heavy rainfall from Texas to Michigan and the Ohio River Valley. We might catch a piece of that precipitation later in the week, but that's too uncertain to pin down right now.

Confidence Level: "I Will be Up Early to Make the Forecast"

Monday 2/19/2018: Cloudy, windy, and colder with periods of light snow through the morning, tapering to flurries in the late afternoon. Between a dusting and 2 inches could accumulate. High: between 15 and 20. Winds: NE 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%

Monday Night: Cloudy and windy with flurries turning back to a steady snow after midnight .Low: between 10 and 15. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 70%

Tuesday 2/20/2018: Steady snow in the morning, tapering to flurries in the afternoon. Slowly diminishing wind and cold. Between 2 and 4 inches of snow could accumulate from late Monday night through Tuesday. High: between 15 and 20. Winds: NE-N 10-20 MPH in the morning, NW 8-15 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will See the Light On and Want Petting Instead of Forecasting"

Tuesday Night: Flurries ending evening, clearing late at night, breezy, and colder. Low: between -8 and -4. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH evening, 5-10 MPH late. Wind chill between -25 and -15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%

Wednesday 2/21/2018: Sunny, light winds, and colder. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Wednesday Night: Clear, calm, and chilly evening. Some high clouds late. Low: between -5 and 0. Winds: light SE. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Shed Information on the Upcoming Weather, Rather Than Just Fur in My Hand"

Thursday 2/22/2018: Cloudy, breezy, and not quite as cold. Some light snow or flurries late. High: between 18 and 23. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of some light snow or flurries evening. Fog and freezing drizzle possible late. Milder. Temperatures holding between 15 and 20. Winds: light SE. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Friday 2/23/2018: Cloudy and not as cold. Maybe some light snow or flurries. High: between 22 and 28. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Extended: Active weather pattern, but too soon to pin down.

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 Sunday, 6 Sunday night and Monday, 5 Monday night and Tuesday, 3 Tuesday night through Thursday.

Yesterday's High: 41°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Monday): 16°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): Trace; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): TBA

February 19 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 28°F 9°F
Record Temperatures 58°F (2017) 38°F (1899)
-2°F (1929,1941) -26°F (1910)

Next Update: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 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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