St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, March 19, 2018 2:35 AM

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

More Snow On the Way (But Not Much) Early This Week

Melting Cycle Keeping Minnesota Free From Flooding (Except My Front Walk)

The seasonably mild weather continued over the weekend with highs breaking into the 40s both Saturday and Sunday (see 3-day loop of high temperatures from NWS/University at Albany). Still, each day began with temperatures well below freezing (see 7-day graph of St. Cloud temperaturesfrom MesoWest), which has allowed melting to continue at a gradual pace. The snow pack has been slowly disappearing with some bare spots showing up in the open areas of south central and southwestern Minnesota (see national snow depth from NWS NOHRSC). So far, the melt is going well, except for parts of central and eastern Montana, where near record snowfall and daytime temperatures above freezing have been producing large ice jams with the potential for flooding. The combination of a large snowpack and daily melting and refreezing have lead to large ice floes getting caught on area rivers. There is also flooding where some occasional rain has been falling in areas where drainage ditches and culverts are still full of ice and snow.

I'm also seeing a small part of this effect on my sidewalk. The roof snow has been melting, but my front walk is on the shady side of the house where temperatures don't make much above freezing. So, the roof runoff gets stuck among the snow piles on either side of the walk and freezes back up.

Chance of Light Snow Tonight into Tomorrow

We won't be able to continue our streak of sunny days and warm weather as a west coast storm has escaped the log jam off the eastern Pacific (see Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin SSEC) and has moved into Colorado (set product to Shortwave Albedo on the Colorado State satellite slider viewer). While this system has thrown some low and middle clouds across Minnesota, this storm will also follow a track well to our south. So, most of the precipitation seen on the NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop will end up gathering across Iowa and Missouri. However, there is a northern storm system over Alberta (see counterclockwise rotation when you set the product to Band 9 - middle-level tropospheric water vapor on the Colorado State satellite slider viewer). Most of the moisture will stay with the Colorado storm as it tracks eastward, but we will see some periods of light snow or flurries beginning late today and continuing into tomorrow night. There won't be much of the way of moisture that gets this far north, but we could see a light accumulation of snow overnight tonight and another light accumulation tomorrow. So, some parts of central Minnesota may end up with an inch or two of snow over the day and a half between late this afternoon and Tuesday evening.

With all of the clouds, temperatures won't get as mild as they have been. Today, we will take advantage of temperatures staying around 30 degrees this morning (see NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up) to climb back into the middle to perhaps upper 30's. Tonight, temperatures will fall back into the middle 20's, then only recover to freezing at best tomorrow. There will also be a biting northeast wind at 8-15 MPH to put an extra chill in the air.

Given the slow eastward progress of this system, we won't see the occasional snow let up until around midnight on Tuesday night.

Return to Slow Melting Second Half of the Work Week

Sunshine should finally return on Wednesday and stay into the end of the work week. Highs will return to the middle to upper 30's on Wednesday. By Thursday, we will resume daytime highs in the 40's and nighttime lows below freezing, so the gradual melting will continue.

Potential Storm Friday Night, Saturday???

The next chance for a Pacific storm to get loose in the Plains will come on Friday night and Saturday. At this point, the forecasts show that parts of central and southern Minnesota could see some of the potential precipitation, but it's much too early to nail this forecast down.

Very Warm Both 2 and 6 Years Ago

While we enjoyed above average temperatures yesterday (see 3-day loop of high temperatures from NWS/University at Albany), we were finishing a near heat wave 6 years ago. In 2012, we were about to have our warmest day of a 6-day span that had 5 highs in the 70s, each of which broke a record. Low temperatures never got below 59 on March 18 and 19. And, in 2016, we had three record highs in the 60's between March 8 and March 12.

Confidence Level: "I Will be Up Early to Make the Forecast"

Monday 3/19/2018: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and colder. A chance of flurries. Perhaps a steadier snow developing by late in the day. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will See the Light On and Want Petting Instead of Forecasting"

Monday Night: Light snow or flurries, breezy, and colder. Between a dusting and an inch of new snow is possible by morning. Low: between 22 and 27. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.

Tuesday 3/20/2018: Occasional light snow or flurries, breezy, and colder. Another dusting to an inch of new snow is possible by evening. High: between 28 and 34. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%

Tuesday Night: Evening occasional light snow, only a few flurries after midnight. Diminishing wind and colder. Low: between 22 and 26. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Wednesday 3/21/2018: Partial clearing, light winds, and cold. High: between 32 and 37. Winds: light. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy and seasonably cold. Low: between 20 and 25. Winds: light S. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Thursday 3/22/2018: Partly sunny, breezy, and much milder. High: between 42 and 46. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Shed Information on the Upcoming Weather, Rather Than Just Fur in My Hand"

Thursday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and milder. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: E 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday 3/23/2018: Cloudy, breezy, and continued mild. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Extended: Another storm by the 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?"): 7 Monday, 5 Monday night through Thursday, 3 Thursday night and Friday, 1 Saturday.

Yesterday's High: 42°F; Overnight Low (through 2 AM Monday): 31°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 2 AM Monday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 2 AM Monday): None

March 19 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 40°F 21°F
Record Temperatures 78°F (2012) 59°F (2012)
15°F (1965) -12°F (1965)

Next Update: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8 AM (or as needed)





Current Watches/Warnings

Weather Safety

Ground and Air Travel



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.