St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, April 15, 2024  3:20 AM

Prepared by Bob Weisman, SCSU Meteorologist and Professor Emeritus

Despite Warmth, Possible (Tues) Thunderstorms, It's Still Too Early for Delicate Plants

Weekend Forecast OK With a Bit of Rain Delay Until Mostly Tomorrow

The weekend warmth was even warmer than expected with St. Cloud's first 80-degree high since October 3 (the end of our early October heat wave) on Saturday. That was nearly a month earlier than average (median date: May 4) and was within 10 days of the earliest 80-degree high in St. Cloud records (81 on April 4, 1929). The early week storm is on track to approach Minnesota, but the bulk of the rain will hold off until Tuesday.

Despite the occasional rain storm, producing a lot of central Minnesota precipitation (see NWS Minnesota 60-day precipitation map), the split storm track, with Minnesota frequently in the northern stream (see College of DuPage continental US mid-tropospheric water vapor loop) has often left Minnesota very dry in between the storm systems. For the most part, we've been in mild air (only one day cooler than average in April so far, which makes only 18 of the past 147 days average or cooler than average; see NWS St. Cloud April 2024 high-low-precipitation table) and that continued over the weekend. Saturday's high was 85, which would have broken the April 13 record if we hadn't hit 86 last April 13 (the final meltdown began at this time last year) and yesterday's high was 71 (see 30-day graph of St. Cloud temperatures from MesoWest). However, the dry air between the storm a week ago and over the weekend had low dew points, so St. Cloud had a 52 degree spread between Saturday morning's low (which produced widespread frost) and the afternoon high. Slightly cooler air moved in Saturday night, so the 80's got pushed into Iowa and Nebraska but the air was still very dry (see dew points in the 20's and even teens on the 4 PM Sunday NWS WPC North America zoom-in map). In northern and western Minnesota and into eastern South Dakota, where the rain has been more rare (see NWS Minnesota 60-day precipitation map), this again led to elevated or even extreme fire danger. Central Minnesota has seen some greening up from last week's rain, followed by the warm temperatures, but fire danger was still ranked high.

Another Day of High Fire Danger, Especially To Our West

This morning, the National Weather Service has a fire weather watch in southwestern Minnesota and parts of the Minnesota River Valley for another warm and dry day. Parts of eastern South Dakota have a red flag warning, the highest level of fire danger, with the fire weather watch extending through the Sioux Falls area.

Sub-Freezing Lows Possible Thurs, Fri Nights

Despite the warmth (often May-like 70's with Saturday's June-like 80's), the dry conditions have meant that dew points are often cooler than freezing in the warm air. So, any clear, calm day could still produce a frost. The average date of St. Cloud's last frost is May 10, so it is still far too early to think about putting in sensitive plants. In fact, I expect much cooler weather the second half of the work week with a chance for a freezing or colder low on Friday morning.

Mostly Dry Today, Not Quite As Warm

Today, we will have more clouds than we have seen the past couple of days (see College of DuPage continental clean infrared satellite loop). The beginning of the lift will produce more clouds than we have seen the past few days, but there's only a 1 in 5 shot at a sprinkle. Highs will likely be a shade cooler than yesterday, but that still means middle 60's with a shot at 70 if we can get more sun. The northeast winds will become strong, increasing the fire danger.

Wet Storm to Arrive In Minnesota (Mostly Central and South) With Most Rain Tuesday

The expected storm made it to California yesterday (see College of DuPage continental US mid-tropospheric water vapor loop) and drifted into Nevada overnight. Very humid air is already in place from southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma southward (see orange and brown areas on the UCAR hourly dew point chart). As the storm moves to near Omaha by the evening rush hour tomorrow, that warm and humid air will get lifted over the drier air we have over Minnesota. The storm is forecast to move a bit more slowly than last week and given the dry air near the ground, it will take a bit longer for precipitation to make it to the ground. There have been a few spotty radar echoes in North Dakota and Minnesota overnight (see College of DuPage north central US radar loop), but ground reports are still dry (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR map). That means that the bulk of the rain will likely hold off until the second half of tomorrow and continue into tomorrow evening. There is still the potential for a widespread half-inch plus of rain with the southern half of Minnesota having a shot of at least an inch (see Days 1-3 on the NWS WPC quantitative precipitation forecast). Unfortunately, the driest parts of Minnesota (see NWS Minnesota 60-day precipitation map) are likely to see the least rain.

As the storm moves into the Plains, the fetch of sticky air will produce numerous showers and thunderstorms in Kansas into Nebraska with a major severe weather threat (mostly for large hail) in those areas. There is a chance that the leftovers from those storms moves through South Dakota into Minnesota late tonight or tomorrow morning. So, I have a 40 percent chance of rain late tonight into the first half of tomorrow. Our best chance for storms will come as the afternoon batch of storms get going across the eastern Dakotas, eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and southwestern Minnesota. The most severe storms are mainly forecast over Omaha, Iowa, far southern Wisconsin, and much of Illinois (tornado and large hail threat), but storms will have an easier time getting into Minnesota as the upper-level winds steers storms northwestward across the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, in addition to ones that develop along the warm front to our south. So, the period from noon tomorrow to midnight tomorrow night is most likely to have the heaviest rainfall. Severe weather is not likely in central Minnesota, but don't be surprised to hear thunderstorm.

Showers Linger Tuesday Night, (First Half of?) Wednesday

As the low drifts through Iowa tomorrow night and Wisconsin on Wednesday, Minnesota will linger in the clouds and have some chance of occasional light rain or showers late Tuesday night until at least noon on Wednesday. Most of the computer forecasts dry central Minnesota out Wednesday afternoon, so the chance for lingering showers will end. We may have a shot at partial clearing the second half of Wednesday.

Average Temperatures for Late Work Week, Which Will Feel Cold

Temperatures will be cooler on Tuesday due to the clouds all day and the persistent rain in the afternoon. Highs may be stuck in the 50's with still a brisk northeast wind. On Wednesday, there is the chance for afternoon brightening, but highs may end up stuck in the middle 50's. That would be a rare occurrence of a near average high temperature.

The low will push through Ontario on Thursday, but a puddle of cold air aloft will approach northern Minnesota from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That will still lead to a lot of midday and afternoon puffy clouds mixed in with the sunshine. At this point, it doesn't look like widespread showers or thunderstorms, but we could see a sprinkle or two. Highs will be around 50 degrees.

The air following this system will come from the Yellowknife, Northwest Territories area. That air still isn't particularly cold (see 4 PM Sunday NWS WPC North America zoom-in map), but Friday's high will be in the upper 40's to near 50, which would be the coolest air we would have seen since last Sunday and Monday (see 30-day graph of St. Cloud temperatures from MesoWest). It looks like it will be breezy on Thursday night, but the air will be dry enough to have a shot at sub-freezing temperatures Friday morning. The cooler than average temperatures will likely continue into Saturday with perhaps another shot at sub-freezing temperatures in the morning.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "The Bugs Are Waiting for Me to Mow the Lawn"

Monday 4/15/2024: Mixed clouds and sun, breezy, and not as warm. A slight chance of a rain shower. High: between 62 and 67. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and mild. A chance of showers and thunderstorms, especially late at night. Low: between 42 and 47. Winds: E-SE 8-18 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Tuesday 4/16/2024: Perhaps a morning shower or thunderstorm, then showers and thunderstorms becoming likely in the afternoon, windy, and not as warm. High: between 50 and 55. Winds: E-NE 15-30 MPH with higher gusts. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40% in the morning, 80% in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely during the evening. Cloudy with some occasional drizzle or light rain in the early morning hours. Low: between 40 and 45. Winds: NE 15-25 MPH with higher gusts in the evening, 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 90%.

Wednesday 4/17/2024: Cloudy with occasional light rain or sprinkles in the morning. Turning breezy and a bit drier in the afternoon. Seasonably mild. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH in the morning, NW 10-20 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy evening, partial clearing late, and a bit cooler. Low: between 33 and 38. Winds: NW 5-10 MPH evening, SW 5-10 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Thursday 4/18/2024: Sunny in the morning, mixed sun and clouds in the afternoon, breezy, and seasonably mild. A slight chance for a brief shower or sprinkle in the afternoon. High: between 48 and 53. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH with higher gusts. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Confidence Level: "Extra Bugs Will Come From Every Home on the Block to Hover Around My Head"

Thursday Night: Partly clear evening, some low clouds late, a bit of a breeze, and cooler. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Friday 4/19/2024: Morning sun, lots of midday and afternoon clouds, and seasonable April temperatures, which will feel cold to us. Perhaps an afternoon sprinkle. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH in the morning, 10-20 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "Enough Bugs Will Fly into My Mouth to Throw Off My Diet"

Extended: Continued slightly cooler than average Saturday??? A chance for near freezing temperatures in the morning??? Turning milder Sunday???

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump Even Though I Fed Them"; 0 - "The Rabbits Will Offer To Groom My Bald Spot"): 8, 6 Monday night through Thursday, 4 Thursday night and Friday.

Yesterday's High: 71°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Monday): 43°F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Melted Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): None; SCSU 24-Hour Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): None

St. Cloud Daily Record and Average Temperatures
April 15 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 54°F 32°F
Record Temperatures 84°F (2002) 54°F (1942)
26°F (2018) 13°F (2020)

Next Update: Tuesday, April 16, 2024 6 AM





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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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