Local Forecast

Friday, October 21, 2016 2:58 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


Cool Off Through Friday Night, But Back to September Over Weekend

The persistent low clouds did give way to some sunshine yesterday (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu), but central Minnesota remained in the cool air as high temperatures only climbed into the upper 40's to near 50 (see 4 PM UCAR Minnesota surface map). Overnight, we've had some clear sky and some clouds (see Colorado State RAMDIS Western US Fog/Reflectivity Product), so temperatures have been in the 30's to lower 40's (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations) depending on how persistent the clouds have been (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart). In northern Minnesota, readings have dropped into the middle 20's.

Temperatures will return to much more seasonable levels day and stay at either average or warmer than average temperatures into early next week. There are quite a few high clouds pushing from a Pacific Northwest storm into the Dakotas (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu), so we will see sunshine dimmed by some high clouds today. Temperatures will climb a bit higher into the 50's today with brisk southeast winds. Winds will calm down again tonight with some high clouds, so lows will again dip from near 40 into the middle 30's, depending on how cloudy it is.

Tomorrow, we will have full sunshine and will see some air that has been pulled down the east slopes of the Rockies, so high temperatures will climb back into the 60's. After that, central Minnesota will stay close to a boundary between slightly cooler Canadian air and really warm air from the Southern Plains. While the warm air will begin on the dry side, the push of the warmer air over the cooler air near the ground will throw a lot of clouds into Minnesota. With only 10-11 hours of sunshine this time of year, those clouds will likely keep high temperatures from climbing back into the 60's Sunday and Monday. I still expect it to be dry, but it just won't be quite as pleasant as Saturday.

Eventually, one of the storms from the Pacific Northwest will carry enough moisture to increase the chance of rain showers. There is, of course, debate among the computer forecasts about the exact track of the storm and therefore who in the Plains to the Great Lakes will have the best chance of rain. That rain threat will likely be somewhere close to us on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I can't pin down when we will have the best chance for rain.

Over the next few days, the best chance of rain will be in both the Northeast and the Northwest.

Winter Forecast?

Yes, the long-range forecast branch of the National Weather Service issued its US winter forecast yesterday. Yes, we're supposed to have a better than average chance of cold weather here. Yes, that long-range forecast group is on a hot streak, having correctly forecast last winter to be mild. Of course, they overforecast the cold the previous winter. What do I think of it? Given the track record of about 10% better than flipping a coin, I would say that our winter weather pattern depends on more than whether there is an El Nino or La Nina. I would be a lot more likely to use the phase "we aren't very good at forecasting weather beyond a week in advance," so I choose not to issue a forecast that I have no confidence in.

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Confidence Level: "The Next 3 Weeks Will Seem Like Three Months"

Friday 10/21: Sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and more seasonable. High: between 52 and 56. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Friday Night: Clear and still chilly. Low: between 34 and 38. Winds: light S. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday 10/22: Sunny, light winds, and warmer. High: between 62 and 66. Winds: light. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Saturday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and milder. Low: between 40 and 45. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 10/23: Sunny, breezy, and a shade cooler. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "There Will Be Life After This Election"

Sunday Night: Partly clear, light winds and a bit cooler. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: N 5 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Monday 10/24: Sunshine through high clouds and continued seasonably mild. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Monday Night: Clouding up, breezy, and milder. Low: between 40 and 45. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Confidence Level: "There Will Be Intelligent Life After This Election"

Tuesday 10/25: Cloudy with a chance of rain or showers. High: between 47 and 52. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%

Extended: Significant rainfall possible during the middle of next week??

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

Yesterday's High: 50F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 37F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): None

Normal Temperatures for October 21 - High: 54F; Low: 33F
Next Update: Monday, October 24 8:00 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!

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

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