Weather

St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Monday, February 18, 2018  4:10 AM

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

Slipping Back Inside the Snow Globe

Someone In Minnesota Had to Get Snow This Past Weekend

St. Cloud remained free of additional snow over the weekend with high temperatures generally in the teens. However, the split storm track was close enough to Minnesota to produce a swath of 3-6 inches of snow yesterday along the I-90 corridor and points a bit to the north. That storm has pushed into Michigan as you can see by the counterclockwise circulation of low clouds (see Shortwave Albedo from Colorado State satellite slider). We also have the odd situation of a clockwise circulation from the western Dakotas and Montana into the Canadian Prairie Provinces. That indicates a high pressure area, usually associated with clear skies, but this one is full of clouds, thanks to the large amount of moisture thrown northward by a series of landfalling Pacific weather systems (see 7-day loop of US infrared satellite from University of Wisconsin/SSEC). There has also been some accumulating snow along the western shore of Lake Superior as weak storms in the northern stream have allowed northeast winds to push some snow into these areas.

Shift in Storm Track Means Minnesota Likely to See Shovelable Snow This Week (Tues Nt-Wed, Fri, Sat into Sun)

The very active storm pattern from eastern Pacific into the western third of the US is expected to continue this week as more storm systems from both Alaska and the central Pacific come ashore (see Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin/SSEC). However, the main change expected this week is that the high pressure area parked off the Florida and Georgia coasts (see Mid-Tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider) will get stronger. The southwest-to-northwest flow pattern over the central US will tend to push these Rockies storms further to the north in the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes. That means that these systems are more likely to throw at least some snow into Minnesota as the week goes on. Right now, the computer forecasts have potential storm system that could produce snowfall in Minnesota passing on Tuesday night into Wednesday, on Friday, and possibly on Saturday into Sunday.

The further we get out, the more uncertain the forecasts are, so the storm that is forecast to be the strongest (the Saturday-Sunday system) is the most uncertain. However, it looks like parts of southern and eastern Minnesota could see another 2-5 inch snowfall on Wednesday with the St. Cloud area catching some of the accumulation on the northern fringe (1-4 inches). This could at least mess up the morning commute on Wednesday.

The following storm system could drop another medium-sized snow accumulation across southern and central Minnesota. Again, St. Cloud is located on the northern fringe of this snowfall, so on the current track, we could see another light accumulation.

As noted earlier, the strongest storm is forecast to develop over the weekend, but there is disagreement among the various computer forecasts. However, with the southwest-to-northeast flow locked into place over the central US, there isn't much room for this system to miss us, if it develops. So, I'd have to say there is at least a 1 in 3 chance for shovelable snow this weekend.

At Least Temperatures Will Head Back Towards Average

The only good news about this pattern is that it won't allow any real cold air from northern Canada to push into the Plains states. So, the current cold period, which is allowing below zero temperatures early this morning (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR map) with wind chills in the minus teens (see NWS wind chill chart), will ease somewhat as the week goes on. Highs will get into the teens today, but we will be clear and calm again tonight, allowing lows in the minus single digits. Highs tomorrow will be a little colder, perhaps not getting far beyond 10 degrees.

Once the parade of storms begins, temperatures will moderate with highs climbing to the more seasonable 20's during the second half of the work week. The combination of milder air and frequent clouds will keep low temperatures from falling below zero overnight. There are some hints that the air may be mild enough with the weekend storm to actually allow rain to fall across southern or southeastern Minnesota, but it's too soon to go out on that limb yet.

Colder and Snowier February Than Average, But Cold Likely to Ease

So, even though February so far is averaging more than 7 degrees colder than normal (see NWS St. Cloud February temperatures and precipitation), we are likely to see temperatures come up during this week. We do have the potential to add to our February snowfall of 16.1 inches, 0.4 inch short of cracking the 10 snowiest Februaries. The total seasonal snowfall of 37.3 inches is 6.2 inches above average.

Confidence Level: "The Bulb on That Hard-To-Reach Light in the Foyer Will Burn Out"

Monday 2/18/2019: Partly sunny, light winds, and colder. High: between 12 and 18. Winds: NW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, light winds, and continued cold. Low: between -10 and -5. Winds: W 5 MPH. Wind chill: between -25 and -15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.

Tuesday 2/19/2019: Partly to mostly cloudy and continued cold. High: between 8 and 14. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday Night: Cloudy with light snow or flurries developing by late evening. Low: between 5 and 10. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Wednesday 2/20/2019: Cloudy with a good chance of accumulating snow. Between 1 and 3 inches are likely Tuesday night into Wednesday. High: between 24 and 28. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 60%.


Confidence Level: "Every Time I Try to Put in a New Bulb, the Light Fixture Will Try to Detach From the Ceiling"

Wednesday Night: Cloudy with snow tapering to flurries in the evening. Partial clearing late at night. Low: between 5 and 10. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Thursday 2/21/2019: Partly sunny, and seasonably cold. High: between 22 and 27. Winds: W 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.


Confidence Level: "The Only Way I'll Be Able to Change the Bulb and Hold the Fixture in Place Will Be to Yell At It"

Thursday Night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries late at night. Low: between 5 and 10. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH, becoming NW 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Friday 2/22/2019: Cloudy with periods of light snow. High: between 22 and 30. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Extended: Would you believe another snow opportunity Saturday and Sunday??

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"): 8 Monday through Tuesday, 6 Tuesday night and Wednesday. 5 Wednesday night and Thursday, 3 Thursday night and Friday, 2 Saturday and Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 23°F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM Monday): -2°F
St. Cloud Airport Total Storm Precipitation (through 4 AM Monday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Monday): None

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
February 18 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 28°F 8°F
Record Temperatures 57°F (2017) 34°F (1915)
-8°F (1941) -26°F (1929)

Next Update: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 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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