Local Forecast

Thursday, August 25, 2016 4:13 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


Cooler Interlude With Sprinkles Today, More Rain Saturday(?)

Tornado Outbreak in Ohio, Indiana

The front that caused some flooding problems in southeastern Minnesota early Wednesday moved into the Great Lakes, spawning several tornadoes across northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio and wind gusts of 85-90 MPH in Kansas. There was major damage and several injuries in Kokomo, Indiana. More injuries with major damage were reported in Defiance and Napoleon, Ohio.

Slightly Drier Air Works into Minnesota

However, we were left with mainly sunny skies, except for some late afternoon clouds that blew in on the north edge of a low that moved from Colorado to Iowa (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Temperatures climbed back to the low to middle 80's. Even though the air over us was drier than we had on Tuesday, dew points were still in the uncomfortable low to middle 60's (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). Overnight, we've just gotten rid of the high clouds from the weather system to our south. Still, dew points are remaining in the noticeable middle to upper 50's (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart loop), which has helped keep temperatures in the middle to upper 50's to even near 60.

September-ish Today with More Sun Tomorrow

Today, we will be dealing with the upper-level low pressure system that moved from Saskatchewan into North Dakota (see water vapor loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). There are a lot of low clouds (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) and even a few rain showers on the Manitoba side of the US border (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). The low is moving slightly more slowly than had been forecast, so it will push across northern Minnesota during today. That will force a lot of clouds to develop and some scattered rain showers and thunderstorms in the northern third of Minnesota. Here, we will see the clouds, but the temperature difference between the upper-low and the ground won't quite be big enough to give us the heavier showers we saw last Saturday. Still, expect occasional sprinkles or perhaps a light shower, strong west-to-northwest winds at 15-25 MPH and temperatures holding only around 70 degrees or a shade warmer.

After the upper-air low moves away, we will clear out Thursday night and keep the sunshine for Friday. Lows will drop into the 50's with perhaps some areas of dense fog by morning. Friday's highs will rebound to the 70's with a lot more sun than today and less wind. So, it will feel a lot warmer than today.

Cool Saturday With Early and Late Storms???

There is still major disagreement about the next storm set to affect us on Saturday. There's still a small circulation in Idaho and Nevada (see water vapor loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) that will affect our weather late Friday night into early Saturday, but there is a well defined storm moving southward through Alberta that will push through Minnesota by Saturday night. The computer forecasts still disagree about timing of rain, but the one that is obsessed with the Idaho storm triggering the Friday night and Saturday rain showers now agrees that this one will be the weaker one.

So, it all adds up to a mainly cloudy and cool Saturday. We will see a chance of showers and perhaps a thunderstorm late Friday night into Saturday morning, with another threat of showers late Saturday afternoon into Saturday night. We will most likely remain cloudy through the middle part of the day, so temperatures will have a hard time making it much past 70 degrees and could stay in the 60's. Throw in a stiff east wind to add to the September feel.

Humidity to Creep Back Up Next Week

However, summer isn't quite done with us yet. During the weekend, a stronger storm in Alaska will switch the steering winds over the western half of the US to a southwest-to-northeast flow. That will set us up for another wave of uncomfortably humid (dew points in the 60's) air. On Sunday, the return of sunshine means highs will return to the 80's. There might be a chance of a Sunday night thunderstorm, but it looks like the best chance could stay north of the Canadian border. We will have a shot at a really steamy Monday and Tuesday. We could approach 90 degrees on Monday if we stay free of clouds. There may be a better chance of overnight thunderstorms on Monday night, so any lingering clouds will reduce our chances for 90 degrees on Tuesday. But, it looks like the sticky weather will continue at least through the first half of the work week.

Expected Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season Perking Up

In the Atlantic Tropics early this morning, there are two major storms of interest (see loop of Meteosat satellite images from the University of Wisconsin SSEC). Overnight, Gaston reached minimal hurricane strength as top winds were 75 MPH early this morning. This storm is moving into an environment where the upper winds are a bit too strong for development, so it could drop back to tropical storm strength. It may intensify again, but its northwestward track keeps it over the ocean. Residents of Bermuda will have to keep watching it, but it's little threat to the US. The more important storm for US impact still isn't organized well, but the cloud cluster moving moving through Puerto Rico has the potential to move its showers and thunderstorms into the Bahamas in the next two days, then over Florida over the weekend. There is wide disagreement about whether this system can become a named storm (Holy Harry Potter...the next name is Hermine, but pronounced her-MEAN), but it has the potential to produce huge rainfall over Florida. Still, we really can't even pin down what part of Florida yet, let alone think about the impact to the rest of the Southeast or Gulf of Mexico next week. So, the staring continues.....

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Confidence Level: "I Will Still Have Dandruff Tomorrow"

Thursday 8/25: A sunny start, then rapidly becoming mostly cloudy, windy, and cooler. Maybe an occasional sprinkle or shower. High: between 69 and 74. Winds: WNW 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Thursday Night: Clear, light winds, and cool. Maybe some fog towards morning. Low: between 50 and 55. Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Friday 8/26: Sunny, less windy, and warmer with comfortable humidity. High: between 72 and 76. Winds: S 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

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

Friday Night: Clouding up, breezy, and not as cool. Noticeably humid. A chance of late night showers and thunderstorms. Low: between 54 and 58. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Saturday 8/27: Maybe an early shower, then mostly cloudy with perhaps a brief break of sunshine through the early afternoon. A better chance of late day showers and thunderstorms. High: between 70 and 75. Winds: E-NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40% in the morning, 60% late in the day.

Saturday Night: Showers and thunderstorms in the evening, partial clearing late. Some areas of fog by morning. Low: between 52 and 56. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Sunday 8/28: Partly sunny, breezy, warm, and uncomfortably humid. High: between 80 and 85. Winds: SE 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, breezy, and sticky with a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 65 and 70. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday 8/29: Sunny, breezy, hot, and uncomfortably humid. High: between 88 and 92. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

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

Extended: Continued humid through Tuesday. Maybe a late night or early thunderstorm. Highs well up in the 80's and possibly near 90.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Wednesday through Friday, 2 Friday night through Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 80F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM): 56F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 4 AM Thursday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Thursday): None

Normal Temperatures for August 25 - High: 78F; Low: 55F
Next Update: Friday, August 26 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!

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