St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Thursday, April 2, 2020  4:45 AM

Bob Weisman
Meteorology Professor
Saint Cloud State University
Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department

Icing Threat for Late Tonight into Friday Morning

The first in a series of storms moved northeastward yesterday. There were a few early morning showers across southern Minnesota, but most of the day turned out to be sunny. Temperatures made it into the 60's in southwestern Minnesota with 50's throughout the rest of central and southern Minnesota. It was still fairly cool in northern Minnesota with highs in the 40's and even a few 30's. arch. Temperatures weren't quite as warm yesterday as they were Monday, but there were widespread temperatures in the middle 50's. That first storm has pulled northeastward well up into Manitoba (see Shortwave Albedo satellite loop from Colorado State satellite slider).

However, the next system near the Montana-Utah-Idaho border (see circulation on the Mid-tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite loop) will take over today. There are a few rain showers in central Minnesota to the north of St. Cloud (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). But, the most persistent band of precipitation runs from eastern North Dakota to the Black Hills. Warm air is being pumped over the top of a new surge of cold air. Temperatures run from the 20's in the Red River Valley, where there is freezing rain (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR map), to the teens in the South Dakota Missouri Valley and westward, where the snow is falling so hard that it has clogged the precipitation sensors, so only fog is being reported, even though it is snowing. The western and north central portion of South Dakota will have the best shot at 6-12 inches of wet snow.

The heaviest precipitation from this storm now appears to run from central and eastern North Dakota into northwestern and north central Minnesota. In north central Minnesota, the rain will transition to a mixed bag of snow, sleet, and freezing rain later today and continuing tonight. The Red River Valley will have the light ice this morning, then wet snow will move in this afternoon with the chance of between 4 and 8 inches of wet snow, possibly with more ice.

The best chance for a prolonged period of ice will be around Lake Traverse and Lac qui Parle. Those areas may see on and off rain or mixed precipitation today, but are likely to see freezing rain and sleet from late this afternoon through much of the evening. Here will be the best chance for an ice accumulation of one tenth to three tenths of an inch. This would be the area with the best chance of ice accumulation on trees and power lines, which could do damage.

For southwestern and central Minnesota, west of a line from Lake Mille Lacs to Fairmont, there won't be that much precipitation until this afternoon and then the precipitation will likely begin as some rain showers. As the strong cold front works its way eastward, the precipitation will change over to that mixed bag, with a large portion of freezing rain and sleet. There is a chance for one to two tenths of an inch of ice accumulation late tonight into tomorrow morning.

All of the precipitation will wind down by midday tomorrow with perhaps even some clearing in the afternoon. More importantly, temperatures should be able to poke up a few degrees over freezing, so there will be melting.

The primary threat for the heaviest precipitation will be in western Minnesota and westward, so this storm won't contribute a lot to the rising rivers. However, the mixed bag and ice will make travel treacherous, especially tonight through a chunk of tomorrow. Expect conditions on the MnDOT Minnesota road reports to deteriorate tonight. Much of North Dakota already has ice-covered or slush covered roads and western South Dakota has snow-covered roads.

The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning in the Red River Valley, eastern North Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota for major ice and snow accumulations. The rest of western and central Minnesota has a winter weather advisory for tonight into tomorrow for that mixed bag of snow, sleet, and freezing rain with the potential for some ice accumulation.

Besides the precipitation in the next 36 hours, the main problem continues to be rising rivers. Central and southern Minnesota may not get enough additional precipitation to increase the problem, but moderate flooding is still forecast along the Mississippi River past the Minnesota River from St. Paul and Hastings through southeastern Minnesota. In St. Cloud, minor flooding is expected, but the fishing pier below the dam, parts of the neighborhood below Cathedral High School, and Wilson Park, as well as areas in Sauk Rapids could see flooding during the next week.

The current storm will aggravate the flooding situation along the Red River, where moderate to major flooding is expected.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Hover Around Me While I'm Trying to Forecast"

Thursday 4/2/2020: Cloudy, breezy, and mild again. Chance of occasional light rain or sprinkles, especially in the afternoon. Maybe a late day thunderstorm. High: between 52 and 57. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Try and Climb Up My Leg While I Try to Forecast"

Thursday Night: Steadier rain developing during the evening and continuing through midnight. Turning windy and much colder after midnight with precipitation turning to freezing rain or sleet. Low: between 28 and 32. Winds: S 10-20 MPH, becoming NW 10-20 MPH late. Chance of measurable precipitation: 80%.

Friday 4/3/2020: Cloudy, windy, and colder. A chance of mixed snow, sleet, and freezing rain in the morning. Perhaps some sunny periods in the afternoon. Temperatures falling into the 20's by midday, then climbing back above freezing in the afternoon. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 60%.

Friday Night: Clearing with slowly diminishing wind and much colder. Low: between 22 and 27. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday 4/4/2020: Sunny, light winds, and more seasonable. High: between 42 and 48. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Speed of the Rabbits' Nose-Wiggling is Proportional to the Temperature A Week From Now"

Saturday Night: Mostly clear with light winds and cool. Low: between 22 and 28. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Sunday 4/5/2020: Mixed sun and clouds and milder. High: between 48 and 54. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 20%.

Extended: Maybe a few Sunday night showers. Warmer early next week????

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump, Objecting to Me Yelling at the Light Bulb"; 0 - "I Will Be Hosting a DIY Show on Home Repairs"): 7 Thursday, 5 Thursday night through Saturday, 3 Saturday night and Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 55°F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM Thursday): 48°F
St. Cloud Airport Storm Precipitation (through 4 AM Thursday): Trace; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Thursday): Trace

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
April 2 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 48°F 27°F
Record Temperatures 76°F (1963) 55°F (1963)
20°F (1954) 5°F (1954)

Next Update: Friday, April 3, 2020 8 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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