Local Forecast

Monday, November 30, 2015 1:30 PM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Saint Cloud State University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast


Snow Under Way in Western and Southwestern Minnesota, Will Becoming Heavier Here PM Rush Hour and Beyond

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Already Travel Trouble Spots Due to Snow

There have been two main waves of snowfall reaching Minnesota this morning. One happened just before the morning rush hour from I-35 through the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities International Airport had snowfall of 1-2 inches per hour, leaving 3 inches on the ground during the morning rush hour. That caused a host of problems during the morning commute (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Road conditions have improved on the Minnesota Department of Transportation road report site, but there still have been occasional accidents.

The larger area of problems have been associated with the main area of snow, which moved from Omaha and western Iowa overnight into southwestern Minnesota during morning hours (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). As of midday, there is a stark contrast across Stearns County with snowfall dropping visibility to less than a mile and a half from Paynesville and Long Prairie westward to the South Dakota border and southward through New Ulm and Fairmont to the Iowa border. Just to the east, it's been just mostly cloudy in Mankato, Maple Lake, and St. Cloud. The area with the current moderate to heavy snow will end up with the most snowfall from this storm with the bulk of the 8-12 inches falling from now until early evening. The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning out for this area, including Morris, Glenwood, Willmar, Olivia, Hutchinson, Redwood Falls, Marshall, Litchfield, Mankato, Pipestone, Worthington, Owatonna, and Albert Lea.

The snow will work its way further to the east into the Twin Cities and St. Cloud once again. The snow should be steady after 3 PM with about an inch on the ground by dark in the St. Cloud area. However, the heaviest period of accumulation will be between 5 PM and 11 PM. During that time, expect a total of 3-6 inches of snow from St. Cloud and Alexandria into Little Falls and Brainerd. This will cause more problems during the evening commute.

We will get a break in the steady snow late this evening and that break will continue well into tomorrow. We will see some occasional light snow showers, but with temperatures hanging around freezing or even a little warmer, I don't expect much accumulation.

The second wave of snow will reform in western and northwestern Minnesota tomorrow morning, producing the last of the heavy snowfall in southwestern Minnesota. This snow will work its way from southwest to northeast across the state from tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow evening. That will be central Minnesota's shot at between a dusting and 2 more inches of snow. This will make all the difference between a 3-5 inch snowstorm and a 6-8 inch snow storm.

Because temperatures at the ground and aloft will be barely below freezing if at all, there could be some sleet and freezing rain mixed in with the snow at times, especially during the lighter periods. With luck, temperatures will get just above freezing during the day tomorrow to keep anything new from sticking.

There may be a better chance of some mixed precipitation in southeastern Minnesota tonight. That should keep the snow totals down to 2-4 inches.

Except for far northwestern Minnesota, the rest of Minnesota of the state outside of the warning has a winter weather advisory this afternoon through midnight tomorrow night.

You can monitor the latest ground reports at both NWS Aviation Center Minnesota map and the NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up. Take care in areas with visibility of a mile and a half or less. The Minnesota Department of Transportation road report site will be busy all day with problems during the evening commute throughout the southern half of Minnesota and problems in the warning area during tomorrow morning's commute. We'll have to keep an eye on the evening commute tomorrow as well.

There really won't be a huge pile of colder air behind this storm, but temperatures will be knocked down a few degrees since the new snow cover will act like a large mirror, sending a lot of the sun's heat back to space. Highs will likely in the lower 30's Wednesday through Friday with lows in the teens.

With one day to go in November, St. Cloud's average temperature is sitting at 38.4 degrees, 7.8 degrees above average. That would rank as the 6th warmest November in St. Cloud records. This will likely go down today, but we should hold on to a top 10 slot. The snow expected this evening should push the St. Cloud melted precipitation total towards 3 inches, pushing it into the 10 wettest Novembers.

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Confidence Level: "I Will Still Have Dandruff Tomorrow"

Winter Storm Watch Monday Afternoon Through Tuesday Evening

Monday PM 11/30: Wet snow this afternoon and becoming heavy at times by dark. Around an inch could accumulate by dark, but heavier rates of snowfall will go on during the rush hour. Maybe a little sleet or freezing rain mixed in. High: between 28 and 33. Winds: E-NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40% through 3 PM, 70% after 3 PM.

Monday Night: Moderate rates of wet snow through the evening. Accumulation could be at the rate of an inch an hour through the evening rush hour. All precipitation tapers occasional snow showers or freezing drizzle after midnight.There will be a total of 3-6 inches on the ground by midnight. Temperature holding between 30 and 32. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 90% evening, 40% after midnight.

Tuesday 12/1: Mostly cloudy with occasional light rain or snow showers. Most snow will melt on contact with the ground. A steadier wet snow is possible by evening. High: between 32 and 34. Winds: NE-N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 60%.

Tuesday Night: Cloudy with steady wet snow redeveloping and continuing into the early morning hours. Partial clearing towards morning. Another 1-2 inches are possible. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: N-NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 70% evening, 20% after 2 AM.

Wednesday 12/2: Sunny, breezy, and seasonably cold. High: between 30 and 34. Winds: W 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday Night: Clear, light wind, and colder. Low: between 10 and 15. Winds: SW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Thursday 12/3: Sunny, breezy, and seasonably cold. High: between 30 and 34. Winds: W 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "A Squirrel Will Squawk At Me" (they really hate me...)

Thursday Night: Clear, light wind, and cold again. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: SW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday 12/4: Sunny, breezy, and seasonably cold again. High: between 30 and 34. Winds: S 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Cat Will Not Sit on My Grading"

Extended: Mild enough to melt snow by the end of the week???

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

Today's High (through 1 PM): 32F; This morning's low Temperature: 28F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation (through Noon Monday): Trace; SCSU Precipitation (through Noon Monday): Trace

Normal Temperatures for November 30 - High: 30F; Low: 14F
Next Update: Tuesday, December 1, 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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