Local Forecast

Monday, December 5, 2016 3:32 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


Suddenly January By Wednesday!

Teens for the Second Half of This Week

So, we just finished the second warmest November in St. Cloud records and the 4th warmest fall. However, much colder air has begun to ooze from central Alaska (lows in the -30s and -40s on the Penn State ewall 8-day high and low temperature map) into northern British Columbia and Alberta along the nose of a high pressure area in the northern Yukon (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). The leading edge of this cold will reach southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and Montana today and head into the Northern Plains by Wednesday. That cold air will dominate the rest of the week with highs most likely in the teens, colder than the average January high. The initial cold surge will come with a lot of wind, with west-northwest winds blowing at 15-30 MPH. Combined with temperatures in the teens, wind chills will be near zero or even a bit below zero (see NWS Wind Chill Chart). That's not dangerous, but it will be quite a shock to us, especially after the mild fall. By late in the week, the winds will calm down, which could produce the first sub-zero low of the season Friday morning.

Storm to Produce Significant Snow in ND, Northern MN

On the way down, we will have a storm system in northeastern Montana (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) that will track across northern Minnesota over the next two days. It will be potent enough, combined with the cold high, to keep the winds up in the cold air through Thursday. However, there won't be much available moisture. This system could squeeze out 4-8 inches of snow across the eastern half of North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota today into tomorrow with 2-4 inches possible across the rest of northern Minnesota. To the south of the storm track in central Minnesota, there will be much less precipitation. We may see some occasional snow showers today, but ground temperatures look to be warm enough to melt any snow on contact with the ground.

Chance of Tuesday Snow Coating

The best chance of accumulating snow in central Minnesota will be tomorrow as the upper air low passes through Minnesota. By then, temperatures will be holding in the 20's, so we could see between a dusting and 2 inches of snow. During any period of steady snow, the combination of falling and blowing snow will drop visibility under a mile, making travel difficult. There may be lingering flurries into Wednesday, but I don't expect much more accumulating snowfall.

Cold Weather Safety

You may want to review the winter safety checklists in the National Weather Service cold weather safety page. Even though the temperatures and wind chills won't reach dangerous levels, this would be a good time to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the colder season. It certainly won't be comfortable to get stuck in the coming weather.

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Confidence Level: "It Will Be Cloudy Today"

Monday 12/5: Cloudy, breezy, and continued cold. A chance of some light snow or flurries in the afternoon. A coating of snow is possible by evening. High: between 32 and 36. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%

Monday Night: Maybe some evening snow, then cloudy, windy, and turning colder. Low: between 22 and 26. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Tuesday 12/6: Cloudy, windy, and colder. Some light snow or flurries possible. Between a dusting and 2 inches possible. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: SW 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%

Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and even colder. Some occasional flurries possible. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: NW 15-30 MPH. Wind chill by morning: between -5 and +5. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Wednesday 12/7: Cloudy, breezy, and colder. Occasional flurries possible. High: between 15 and 20. Winds: WNW 10-25 MPH. Wind chill: between 0 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%

Confidence Level: "It Will Be Cloudy Most of the Week"

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and continued cold. Maybe a flurry or some light snow. Low: between 12 and 16. Winds: NW 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Thursday 12/8: Cloudy, not quite as windy, and still cold. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%

Thursday Night: Partly clear, diminishing winds, and colder. Low: near zero. Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday 12/9: Partly sunny, light winds, and continued January-like. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "A Cloud Will Remain Over My Head for the Next Year"

Extended: A chance of snow Friday night into Saturday.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Monday, 7 Monday night and Tuesday, 6 Tuesday night and Wednesday, 5 Wednesday night and Thursday, 4 Thursday night and Friday, 3 Friday night and Saturday.

Yesterday's High: 35F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 28F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): 0.08 inch/0.5 inch snow; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): TBA

Normal Temperatures for December 5 - High: 28F; Low: 11F
Next Update: Tuesday, December 6 8:00 AM (or as needed)

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Current Watches/Warnings

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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!

Are you interested in studying meteorology? If so, go to the Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department home page.

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