St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Sunday, January 21, 2018 5:00 AM

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

Major Snowstorm to Stay Further to the South

Clouds Already Here and Will Stay

There has been an increase of low-level moisture over the past day. We had a lot of low clouds around yesterday with only some midday and afternoon patches of sunshine (set product to "clean IR" and frames to 54 on the Colorado State RAMMB slider satellite loop). The persistent clouds held high temperatures in central Minnesota just under 40, while much of central and southern Minnesota did manage to break 40 (see Yesterday's High Temperature Map from NWS/SUNY-Albany).

There are still plenty of clouds early this morning, which have kept temperatures in southern Minnesota in the upper 30's and near freezing in central Minnesota (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart). There are higher clouds streaming in from the west and they are actually producing some light snow aloft (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). There hasn't been any precipitation reported at the ground yet, but parts of central Minnesota could see some flurries or periods of light snow during the day today. Temperatures will remain at or just above freezing, so any coating of snow wouldn't last very long.

Potential Major Snowstorm Pushed More to Monday? With Heaviest Snow from Worthington to Red Wing?

In speaking about the forecast of the storm to affect Minnesota, mainly tomorrow, I've given you an idea of the current forecast and trends. However, it appears that the trend, to keep pushing the precipitation to the south, is going to be the most important information. The southward trend has continued for the past day. So, I'm now thinking that the St. Cloud, Alexandria, Little Falls, Brainerd, and Lake Mille Lacs area will get little or no snow. Willmar, Litchfield. and the northern portion of the Twin Cities to Pine City will get a light accumulation of 1-3 inches and most of that may not fall until the second half of tomorrow. The heaviest snow is expected from Sioux Falls and northwestern Iowa through Worthington, Mankato, Owatonna, Red Wing and Rochester. 8-12 inches of snow will fall in this area, but the southern portion of this area could see some mixed precipitation as it begins Sunday night and especially early Monday. Some areas near Worthington, Fairmont, and northwest Iowa could see 12-16 inches. There will be a better chance of the mixed precipitation in Mason City and LaCrosse. This puts the southern portion of the Twin Cities right on the fringe of the heaviest snow, so 3-6 inches could be possible in Marshall, Hutchinson, Eagan, Hastings, Stillwater, and Burnsville. However, the most likely time for the heaviest snowfall now appears to be from midday tomorrow into the early evening, so the evening commute will most likely be the biggest problem.

You can follow the deteriorating travel conditions late today and tonight on the MnDOT Minnesota Road reports.

Worst Travel in South Central and Southeastern Minnesota

The heavy rate of snowfall in the center of the band, combined with 15-30 MPH winds will create low visibility and conditions that will give road crews major problems. So, the National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning from western Kansas through eastern Nebraska, Sioux City and northwestern Iowa into Worthington, Fairmont, and Mankato. There is a winter storm warning for the southern and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities southwestward to New Ulm, Redwood Falls, and Pipestone.

It is possible that the band could move even further to the south (recall that storm last February that hit just south of the Twin Cities, but missed the entire metro area), so that all of the heavy snowfall stays south of the Twin Cities. There is a small chance the track could lurch northward again.

Beyond the storm, we will get a bit colder, but I'm upping temperatures in central Minnesota since I'm not expecting an increase in snow cover. Highs will stay tomorrow in the 20's and continue there through the middle of the week. I expect lows not to drop below 10 degrees.

Milder air will try to move in beginning on Wednesday, but our wind will shift to the southeast, meaning the air will be blowing in from over the new snow cover. That should moisten the air as the snow melts, so it will be harder to see temperatures as mild as they have been the past two days.

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

Sunday 1/21/2018: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and colder. A chance of occasional flurries. Temperatures holding between 32 and 35. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and a bit cooler. A chance of occasional flurries or a little light snow late at night. Any snowfall will be limited to between a dusting and an inch. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20% evening, 40% after midnight

Monday 1/22/2018: Mostly cloudy, windy, and colder. Occasional flurries or some spotty freezing drizzle. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: NE 15-30 MPH with higher gusts. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Monday Night: Partial clearing, windy during the evening, and turning colder. Low: between 12 and 18. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH evening, 5-15 MPH after midnight. Wind chills near zero. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%

Tuesday 1/23/2018: Mixed clouds and sun, much less windy, and continued seasonably cold. High: between 23 and 27. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Tuesday Night: Partly clear, light winds, and colder. Low: between 10 and 15. Winds: light NW. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%

Wednesday 1/24/2018: Mixed clouds and some afternoon sun, a bit of a breeze and seasonably cold. High: between 22 and 26. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

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

Wednesday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, maybe some fog, and not as cold. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Thursday 1/25/2018: Cloudy in the morning, maybe some afternoon sun, breezy, and a shade milder. High: between 28 and 33. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

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

Extended: Low clouds with temperatures near or above freezing on Friday.

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 Sunday, 6 Sunday night through Wednesday, 4 Wednesday night and Thursday, 2 Friday.

Yesterday's High: 38°F; Overnight Low (through 5 AM Sunday): 29°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 5 AM Sunday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 5 AM Sunday): None

January 21 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 21°F 1°F
Record Temperatures 48°F (1981) 34°F (1934)
-13°F (1954) -50°F (1888)

Next Update: Monday, January 22, 2018 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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