Local Forecast

Friday, March 27, 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


Spring-like Temperatures Just Two Days Away

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Bottoming Out on Temperatures

The combination of still a stiff northwest wind, temperatures in the 30's (see Yesterday's High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany), and persistent low clouds (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations) gave yesterday the feel of a winter day, even though it was still 10-20 degrees warmer than during our colder periods in early February. Overnight, the winds have eased up (see NWS Aviation Center Minnesota map), the low clouds have cleared out (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) and temperatures have dropped into the teens in much of central Minnesota with even some single digit temperatures in Bemidji, the Iron Range, and the Arrowhead.

Today, we'll still be on the cold side with highs remaining in the 30's, still about 5 degrees cooler than average. However, lighter winds and the return of a good supply of sunshine will make it feel a lot better than the past two days. The cold high pressure area (see NWS HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) will continue to sit over us through tonight (see NWS HPC Short-Range forecast map). Some of the low clouds to our west (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) will move in this afternoon, so we won't be quite as cold as this morning. Temperatures will drop to the upper teens to lower 20's.

Spring Temperatures Return by Late Weekend

Tomorrow, we will begin a warming trend that we will really enjoy by the first part of next week. The milder weather will begin with baby steps as Saturday's temperatures recover from a morning low in the teens to afternoon readings in the seasonable low to middle 40's. A cold front will push through tomorrow night, throwing in some clouds and perhaps a slight chance of a rain shower late at night or early Sunday morning. The clouds and a southeast breeze will keep low temperatures above freezing.

Strong Winds Again Sunday

On Sunday, the air behind the cold front won't be very much colder, so highs will climb well into the 50's. We will have very strong northwest winds, much as we did on Wednesday, so there may be some problems with northwest winds shoving vehicles on north-south roads or Hwy. 23. Given the generally dry conditions expected leading up to Sunday, there will be an extreme fire danger. I expect a wind advisory or a red flag warning to be issued by the National Weather Service for Sunday.

The winds will ease up on Monday. It will be warm again with highs in the 50's, but without enough wind to stir up the lower atmosphere, we'll have to wait one more day before really basking in the warmth.

Tuesday will be that day with southwest winds of 8-15 MPH, lots of sunshine, and highs in the middle to upper 60's. That should still fall well short of the March 31 record warm high of 78 degrees, set in 1986. A cool front will push through late Tuesday night, perhaps giving us a brief rain shower. Overnight low in the 40's will be as warm as high temperatures are supposed to be. Right behind the front, it won't cool down that fast, so temperatures could again hit 60 degrees on Wednesday.

Cooling Off Second Half of Next Week

We will transition to a pattern that allows at least some chunks of Canadian air back into the Northern Plains after Wednesday. Right now, the computers have two surges of this colder air, one due Thursday and another due a week from Sunday. That will at least temporarily end the toasty temperatures. These forecasts are 7-10 days out, but they show a pair of strong low pressure systems dragging their cold fronts through Minnesota. Right now, the computers show each low tracking across northern Minnesota, which would keep most of whatever precipitation falls to our north. However, it is more than a week out, so if the track moves southward, these systems could spread substantial cold rain with a narrow area of wet snwo. So, our mostly dry forecast could change late next week, but it's much too early to be sure right now.

Damage Surveys in Oklahoma

The National Weather Service has done its first surveys of the damage in south suburban Oklahoma City (Moore) and Tulsa from Wednesday. The large amount of property damage was caused by a combination of straight line winds and a tornado in Moore and some complaints that the tornado warning was a bit late appear to be justified. However, this tornado was far smaller than the one that hit two years ago.

In Tulsa, the estimated winds from the damage survey were 120-135 MPH, damaging some homes and buildings. However, the death and most of the injuries occurred when the tornado moved through a mobile home park.

Frost is Just About Out of Ground!

The good news is that, in the past week, the ground has thawed in central Minnesota. At the MnDOT site in Otsego, the blue curve is the deepest depth of the frost in the ground. The red curve is the depth to which the top has been thawing. When they meet, as they did early this week, the frost is out. In Otter Tail, there's less than half of foot of frozen ground left. Because of the recent snowfalls across southern and southeastern Minnesota, there's still a foot and a half in frost left in the Rochester area. We are keeping below freezing temperatures at least overnight through the end of the work week this week, but when we warm up this weekend and especially next week, plants should start to green up as they tap the ground moisture. This should help ease the fire danger we've been seeing on warm, windy days since the snow melted.

Lakes have become ice-free in much of southern Minnesota, despite this week's snow. Some of the Twin Cities' lakes have thawed during this week. With the much milder weather expected from Sunday through the middle of next week, expect many reports of ice out to spread across central Minnesota.

See Forecast Below

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Friday 3/27: Sunny, less windy, but still cold. High: between 34 and 38. Winds: NE-SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy and not quite as cold. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday 3/28: Sunshine through high clouds, windy, and more seasonable. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and milder. A chance of rain showers late. Low: between 32 and 37. Winds: S-SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Sunday 3/29: Morning clouds with a lingering rain shower, afternoon sunshine, turning blustery and warmer. High: between 50 and 55. Winds: NW, increasing to 20-30 MPH with higher gusts in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Sunday Night: Partly clear, slowly diminishing wind, and still relatively mild. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 10%.

Monday 3/30: Sunny, not as windy, and warmer. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: W 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Monday Night: Clear, light wind, and mild. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: SW-NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Tuesday 3/31: Toasty Tuesday. Sunny and very warm. High: between 64 and 68. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty

Tuesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and mild. A slight chance of a rain shower late. Low: between 40 and 45. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Wednesday 4/1: Cloudy with a slight chance of a morning rain shower, clearing by midday, and not quite as warm. High: between 57 and 62. Winds: shifting to NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

For Entertainment Purposes Only.

Extended: Still warm Thursday, but cooling off through the weekend. Rain chances????

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday through Saturday night, 7 Sunday and Monday, 6 Monday night through Tuesday, 5 Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Yesterday's High: 35F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 18F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation: None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 3 AM Friday): None

Normal Temperatures for March 27 - High: 44F; Low: 24F
Next Update: Monday, March 30, 2015 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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