St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Friday, October 23, 2020 6:00 AM 

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

December in October to Rule Into Next Week

"Snow to the North of Us, Some Mix to the South, Here We Are Stuck in the Middle With You"

Yesterday's strong storm with limited cold air produced a total of between 4 and 8 inches, beginning about 20 miles to the north of St. Cloud (more reports will come in between 6 and 9 AM). That's where the heavy snow band near the North Dakota-South Dakota border stalled for most of the morning (set images to 200 on the College of DuPage North Central US radar loop). Across southern Minnesota to the Minnesota River Valley and the Twin Cities, there was some rain with ice mixed in. This led to some ice accumulation in southwestern and south central Minnesota. But, Willmar, St. Cloud, and Paynesville were between the two waves. By the time the snow band to our north pushed through, most temperatures were above freezing. The rate of snowfall wasn't high enough to cause evaporation and cooling back to near freezing, so the snow, for the most part, melted on contact with the ground.

Temperatures have remained at or above freezing in much of southern and central Minnesota (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR menu). There are a few roads with complete snow cover, but treatment and near freezing temperatures have allowed most roads to be cleared overnight (see MnDOT Minnesota road reports).

Maybe a Few Flurries Today....

As the low pressure system developed over Iowa (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map), some bands of leftover snow have moved across southern and eastern Minnesota overnight (set images to 200 on the College of DuPage North Central US radar loop). There is still a trailing band of light snow across the Dakotas, closer to the main upper-air low now pushing southeast from Saskatchewan into North Dakota (see Mid-Tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider). So, we will have a lot of lingering clouds today and the chance for some occasional light snow or flurries. We will be in the teeth of this Yukon air, so temperatures will struggle in the upper 20's to lower 30's, typical of early December (highs in the 20's, lows near 10), not late October (highs in the lower 50's, lows near freezing). That may allow a dusting of additional snow today, but that will be it.

...But December-Like Cold Through the Weekend (Several Records Could Fall)

The big conflict from today into early next week will be the potential for a series of near or broken record cold temperatures. St. Cloud's October 23 record cold high is 30. Since temperatures have remained between 32 and 34 overnight (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations), we won't get to that record. But, temperatures will remain in the lower 30's at best. Tonight, we may have a shot for the clearing to the northwest of the snow band (see Shortwave Albedo loop from Colorado State satellite slider) to move in. That would allow low temperatures to fall back into the teens. We will have a shot at the October 24 record cold low of 15, set in 2002).

Tomorrow, we will again see a mixture of clouds and sun. High temperatures in the upper 20's to near 30 will be close to the October 24 record cold high of 35. There will be increasing clouds on Saturday night, so lows will remain in the teens.

On Sunday, a smaller weather system will pass through southern Minnesota. There is the potential for a lighter accumulation of snow in Iowa that could brush parts of southern Minnesota. In central Minnesota, we will only see some clouds and perhaps some flurries. Highs will be in the upper 20's to near 30 (Sunday's record cold high is 29).

The Yukon Express will continue to usher colder air into Minnesota behind the Sunday system for early next week. We may have the potential to clear out, so we could have a good chance to break even more record cold temperatures. Lows could drop into the plus single digits Monday and Tuesday morning with highs again only in the 20's to near 30.

This cold pattern won't ease until at least the middle of next week.

Are We Doomed to Stare At Snow Through March?

On the average, St. Cloud has 86 consecutive days with at least an inch of snow on the ground, beginning on December 10. When we get snow before mid-November, we will have a good shot of seeing bare ground again before we get deeper into winter. Even during 1991, the year of the Halloween blizzard, when 13 inches of snow fell on St. Cloud and 28 inches fell on the Twin Cities, we had a milder interlude that allowed us to see plow piles separated by bare ground by mid-November.

Still, the melting will be gradual through early next week, since high temperatures will struggle to get above freezing.

So, St. Cloud hasn't added any measurable snowfall from yesterday. The October total remains at 7.2 inches, the highest October snowfall on record. Note in the list above that 1991 only ranks 9th (now 10th). That was due to the Halloween blizzard, but the snow did not begin in St. Cloud until Halloween night and most of it fell after midnight on November 1, so the 3.1 inches doesn't rank that high.

10 Snowiest Octobers in St. Cloud Before 2020
OCTOBER (109 Years; Average = 0.7 IN; Standard Deviation = 1.4 IN)
6.8 IN
31 Years Tied at 0.0 IN
6.4 IN
6.0 IN
4.1 IN
4.0 IN
3.8 IN
3.5 IN
3.2 IN
3.1 IN
2.5 IN
2.5 IN


Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "While Preparing a Meal I Will Drop a Slice of Bread"

Friday 10/23/2020: Cloudy with a few flurries. Perhaps some afternoon sun. Breezy, and continued Thanksgiving-like. High: between 30 and 34. (record cold high: 30 in 1981) Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chill: between 13 and 25. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Friday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, light winds, and potentially the coldest night of the season so far. Low: between 12 and 18 (record cold low: 15 in 2002). Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday 10/24/2020: Cloudy with a chance of a little light snow or flurries, light winds, and December-like. High: between 27 and 34.  (record cold high: 35 in 1919, 1933, 1981) Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Bread Will Land on the Floor Jelly Side Down"

Saturday Night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries developing towards morning. Low: between 13 and 18 (record cold low: 2 in 1896). Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Sunday 10/25/2020: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries. Potential for between a dusting and 2 inches of snow. High: between 25 and 30.  (record cold high: 29 in 1942) Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Confidence Level: "My Sock Will Not Get Stuck to the Floor Because I Won't Step in the Jelly Spot"

Sunday Night: Partial clearing and light winds with December-like temperatures. Low: between 0 and 10 (record cold low: 13 in 1936). Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday 10/26/2020: Partly sunny, light winds, and continued ridiculously cold. High: between 20 and 28.  (record cold high: 26 in 1925) Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday Night: Partly clear, light winds, and potential record-breaking cold. Low: between -5 and 10 (record cold low: 5 in 1976). Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday 10/27/2020: Cloudy, breezy, and continued cold. Maybe a flurry. High: between 23 and 30.  (record cold high: 27 in 1925) Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Extended: Continued ridiculously cold through Monday.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump Even Though I Fed Them"; 0 - "The Rabbits Will Offer To Groom My Bald Spot"): 8 Wednesday, 5 Wednesday night and Thursday, 3 Friday through Saturday, 2 Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 33°F; Overnight Low (through 6 AM Friday): 31°F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation (through 6 AM Friday): 0.13 inch liquid; SCSU Precipitation (through 6 AM Friday): TBA

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
October 23 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 54°F 33°F
Record Temperatures 79°F (1899) 56°F (1963)
30°F (1981) 9°F (1936)

Next Update: Monday, October 26, 2020 8 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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