Local Forecast

Friday, March 6, 2015 3:35 AM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Saint Cloud State University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast


Freezing For A Warm-Up

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Climb in Temperatures Accelerates This Afternoon

Temperatures finally bottomed out yesterday morning with St. Cloud reaching a low of -16 degrees (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations), one degree short of the March 5 record cold low of -17. Cotton, MN hit -40 yesterday morning to set the national cold low. Embarrass made it to -36. Since then, however, temperatures have been trying to recover. St. Cloud made it to 13 degrees yesterday afternoon. Overnight, a southwest breeze has remained behind the cold high pressure area that has shoved off to the east (see NWS HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). That breeze has kept temperatures in the plus single digits, still 15-20 degrees colder than average, but more than 20 degrees warmer than yesterday (thanks, Penn State).

Even more importantly, the dark area in the infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu shows much warmer air in Alberta and Montana. Even in the middle of the night, temperatures are in the 30s and even 40s in parts of central Montana and Alberta (see NWS HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). Some of that air being pulled down the Rockies is headed for central Minnesota.

Temperatures will accelerate their warm-up today under sunny skies with a west wind. Highs will climb back above freezing for the first time since February 9. That's where high temperatures are supposed to be in the first third of March. This will start a trend that will last into the middle of next and possibly reach the end of next week. We will play tag with an approaching warm front over the weekend (see NWS HPC Short-Range forecast map), so highs will mostly stay in the 30's, but that will take its toll on what's left of the snow cover (see NOHRSC daily snow cover map). Lows will stay in the teens to lower 20s. We may have some periods of clouds, but the air is really too dry to produce a decent threat of light snow.

At this point, Monday and Tuesday look to be the mildest days. I don't see any highs in the 50's (that's the trouble with making wild forecasts 7 days in advance), but it looks like we should easily see highs in the 40's, which would take care of what's left of the snow cover.

The problem in the forecast is what happens during the middle and end of next week. There will be the return of some northwest to southeast steering winds over Canada, but during the past couple of days of computer runs, the forecasts have kept the core of the cold air in south central Canada and into the Great Lakes and Northeast. That would still allow us to see seasonable to above seasonable temperatures on Wednesday through Friday. We'll see. So, this does look like a much longer period of mild weather than we've seen since early February.

Storm Leaves South, But They Get Our Leftover Cold Air

The two-day long storm of snow and ice in the South pushed off the East Coast overnight (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) after dumping 5-7 inches of snow on Washington, 6-8 inches in New York City, and Philadelphia, and nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Kentucky. Yesterday, Dallas-Ft. Worth added 4 inches of snow to the half inch of sleet that had fallen on Wednesday. You can see on the see NOHRSC daily snow cover map that a swath from northeast Texas through southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky has more snow on the ground than Minnesota. Temperatures are now well-below freezing in much of the Southeast. You can find some of the human impact of this storm, including closing LaGuardia Airport in New York City, power outages and stranded motorists in Kentucky, chain-reaction car accidents, and the cold following the snow.

Note that, on early Sunday morning, Daylight Saving Time begins in the US and Canada. Clocks should be pushed ahead one hour as of 2 AM Sunday.

The St. Cloud February and Winter 2014-2015 weather summary shows that this has been a relatively snowless winter, since our big November snowstorm (surprise!). The Dec-Feb snowfall total was 9.2 inches, the 6th lowest total in St. Cloud records and the lowest in over 50 years. February was definitely cold, but not nearly as cold as last February. There is a big comparison between the weather of the past two winters and this winter (so far).

See Forecast Below

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Friday 3/6: Partly sunny, breezy, and actually seasonable. High: between 33 and 38. Winds: W 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday Night: Clouding up, breezy, and milder. Low: between 22 and 26. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH, becoming NW 8-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday 3/7: Sunny, breezy, and a shade cooler. High: between 32 and 37. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Partly clear and relatively mild. Low: between 14 and 18. Winds: NW 5 MPH evening, SW 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Sunday 3/8: Sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and milder. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: W 5-15 MPH, shifting to NW in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty

Sunday Night: Partly clear and continued relatively mild. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday 3/9: Sunny, breezy, and even warmer. High: between 42 and 46. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

For Entertainment Purposes Only.

Monday Night: Partly clear and a shade milder. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: SW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday 3/10: Sunny, breezy, and continued warm. High: between 44 and 48. Winds: NW 10-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and mild again. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday 3/11: Sunny in the morning, thickening clouds in the afternoon, breezy, and not quite as warm. High: between 34 and 38. Winds: NW 10-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Extended: Milder Thursday and Friday. Not quite as mild Saturday

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Thursday through Sunday, 6 Sunday night and Monday, 5 Monday night and Tuesday, 4 Wednesday, 3 Thursday and Friday.

Yesterday's High: 13F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 3F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation: None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 3 AM Thursday): None

Normal Temperatures for March 6 - High: 34F; Low: 16F
Next Update: Monday, March 9, 2015 8:00 AM (or as needed)

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Current Watches/Warnings

Ground and Air Travel



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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