St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, October 23, 2017 3:35 AM

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

A Taste of November Much of This Week

Weekend Warmth Ending

We basked in a very mild late week into the weekend. Despite the periods of thunderstorms on Saturday morning and Saturday evening, high temperatures climbed well into the 70's on both Friday and Saturday. We fell short of Friday's record high of 81 by 4 degrees. On Friday night, the temperature didn't drop below 59 degrees, but cooler air worked its way into Minnesota by late afternoon behind the cool front. So, temperatures fell back into the 40's, preventing a record warm low (57 degrees). Slightly cooler air did work its way into central Minnesota on Sunday, so highs were held into the lower 60's, but that's still about 5-10 degrees warmer than average (see St. Cloud average October highs and lows).

The showers and thunderstorms on Saturday produced more than half an inch of rain from Meeker and western Stearns County eastward. The 0.57 inch at the St. Cloud Airport pushed the October rainfall to 4.84 inches, nearly doubling the average rainfall for the entire month of October (2.49 inches). So far, October 2017 is the 8th rainiest October in St. Cloud records.

November Cold Moves in This PM

However, while we've basking in the warmth of the past few days, a major steering wind pattern shift was underway. You can see from the Canadian water vapor loop (select Hemispheric products, Canada, and water vapor from the College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) that the west-to-east flow in southwestern and south central Canada at the start of the loop has become a more northwest-to-southeast flow towards the end. That means the next weather system, a low pressure system moving through North Dakota and into Minnesota in the early morning hours (back to the Continental US infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu), means business. There are a few rain showers associated with this front although most of these radar echoes are not producing showers reaching the ground (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). The back band of clouds moving southward through Saskatchewan and Manitoba mark a cold front that is the leading edge of drastically colder temperatures. Instead of the 40- and even 50-degree overnight temperatures we had during the "cool nights" last week, temperatures in the central Prairie Provinces are in the 30's, despite some strong northwest winds (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). Highs have been generally in the 30's in much of central Canada over the past week.

This cold air will set us up for a week whose temperatures will be as far below average as last week's were above average. It will also set up some part of Minnesota for an accumulating snow shot late in the week.

Strong Winds to Accompany Much Colder Conditions

That cold front will come through Minnesota this morning, turning our winds to the northwest and increasing them to 20-35 MPH with higher gusts. Temperatures will fall from the early morning 50's (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart) back into the 40's, then have trouble getting far above 50 the rest of the day. There will be those morning rain showers with the front, but the cool air is unstable, leading to the potential for lots of clouds and some sprinkles in the afternoon.

Tonight, the colder air will move in on strong northwest winds. Temperatures will fall back into the 30's with wind chills in the teens and 20's. There might be a stray rain drop or snow flakes, but there won't be anything serious. Tomorrow, we will have a chance of seeing some sunshine, but temperatures will remain in the 40's and it will continue to be very windy with gusts over 30 MPH.

Wednesday: A One-Day Break

A storm system is due to drop southeastward out of the Canadian Prairie Provinces on Thursday. The warm front from this system will have a good shot at pushing milder temperatures into Minnesota Tuesday night and Wednesday. Strong southwest winds will allow temperatures on Tuesday night to remain in the 40's. Highs on Wednesday will push back into the 60's.

Stronger Surge of Cold Air Late Week

However, this storm will come barreling through Minnesota on Thursday, dragging even colder air with it in for late in the week and the weekend. Highs will likely be in the lower 40's at best on Friday.

Rain? Snow? At Leading Edge of Thursday Cold Push???

There will be a strip of rain and showers to the north of the track of that low, but there is a lot of disagreement between the US and European forecasts about the track the storm would take. The US model takes the storm through northern Minnesota, while the European forecast has it coming through Central Minnesota. St. Cloud would have a better shot at significant precipitation if we use the Euro forecast. The air behind this storm is also cold enough that it might produce some accumulating snow on the cold side of it. It's much too early to pin down where or how much since so much depends on that storm track, but I would expect to see at least some flurries around Thursday.

How cold we get Friday into the weekend depends on the exact track of the high, but it is guaranteed to feel a lot colder than last Friday and Saturday! The colder weather pattern should continue through the weekend.

Cooler Weather Here Means Hotter on West Coast

Unfortunately, the northwest flow that has cold air aiming at Minnesota will also produce hot temperatures and strong canyon winds in California the first half of the week. Temperatures will be in the 90's and possibly 100's in the Los Angeles area and the danger for more wildfires will be extreme.

Confidence Level: "The Leaves Will Fall in My Yard"

Monday 10/23/2017: Cloudy with a good chance of morning showers, then some afternoon sprinkles, turning windy, and much cooler. High: between 55 and 60 in the morning, falling through the 50's in the afternoon. Winds: S 10-20 MPH early, becoming NW 20-35 MPH with higher gusts from late morning on. Chance of measurable rainfall: 60% in the morning, 20% in the afternoon.

Monday Night: Cloudy, windy, and much cooler. A slight chance of a sprinkle or flurry. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: NW 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 20%.

Tuesday 10/24/2017: Sunny, blustery, and colder. High: between 44 and 48. Winds: NW 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, breezy, and not nearly as cold. Temperatures holding in the 40's. Winds: W 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Wednesday 10/25/2017: Partly sunny, breezy, and more seasonable. High: between 60 and 65. Winds: NW 8-15 MPH, becoming SW 10-20 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "The Neighbors' Leaves Will Blow into My Yard"

Wednesday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and mild. A slight chance of a late night shower. Low: between 44 and 48. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Confidence Level: "The Yard Fairy Will Secretly Rake Up All of My Leaves During the Week"

Thursday 10/26/2017: Cloudy, breezy, and colder again with occasional snow or rain showers. Any snowfall will melt on contact with the ground. Morning temperatures in the 40's, falling back into the 30's during the afternoon. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH, becoming NW 15-30 MPH with higher gusts in the afternoon. Chance of measurable precipitation: 50%

Thursday Night: Maybe some evening light snow, then just cloudy, windy, and colder. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Friday 10/27/2017: Sunny in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon, breezy, and continued cold. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%

Extended: Continued unseasonably cold through next weekend.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Will more of your hair fall out, Bob?"; 0 - "Will the winning PowerBall Numbers be encoded in your lost hair, Bob?"): 8 Monday, 7 Monday night and Tuesday, 6 Tuesday night and Wednesday, 5 Wednesday night, 3 Thursday and Thursday night, 2 Friday through weekend.

Yesterday's High: 62°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 49°F 
St. Cloud Airport Rainfall (through 3 AM Monday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): None

October 23 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 53°F 32°F
Record Temperatures 79°F (1899) 56°F (1963)
30°F (1981) 9°F (1936)

Next Update: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 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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