Weather

St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 10:30 AM (Updated for tying record cold low)

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

At Least We're Not Running Up the Air Conditioning Bill

Latest Upper-Air Cold Pocket Touring Southwestern Minnesota

We are still getting arctic leftovers from northeastern Canada, long after we have lost our taste for them. The latest pocket of cold air, shown by the upper-air low pressure system, spent yesterday drifting from the eastern Dakotas into southwestern Minnesota (see counterclockwise circulation on the Mid-tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider). Again, the cold air aloft allowed a lot of midday and afternoon clouds to develop and a few snow flurries to get going in the afternoon (set number of frames to 200 on the College of DuPage North Central radar loop). It was "warm enough" with temperatures in the upper 30's to lower 40's (see 4 PM Tuesday NWS WPC North American zoom-in map) to allow most of the snow to melt on contact with the ground. However, right underneath the path of the upper-air low, the snow showers have continued overnight (set number of frames to 200 on the College of DuPage North Central radar loop). With temperatures diving below freezing overnight (see NWS Aviation Weather Center metar map), there has been some spotty snow accumulation on grass. Even a few state roads in southwestern Minnesota have patches of snow on them (see MnDOT Minnesota road reports).

Few 20's Approaching Record Cold Temperatures

In central Minnesota, the snow showers dissipated quickly after sunset (see Shortwave Albedo from Colorado State satellite slider). In the clear skies, temperatures have fallen back to the low to middle 20's (see NWS Aviation Weather Center metar map) after skies cleared the second half of the night. In St. Cloud, the temperature dropped to 21 degrees, which tied the record cold low for April 21 (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations).

More Mixed PM Clouds, Sprinkles, Cool Temperatures Wed

That individual low will scoot through Iowa today, but the large counterclockwise circulation over south central Canada and the North Central US (see Mid-tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider) will only drift eastward a bit today. That still means the air well above the ground is quite chilly, so this morning's sunshine will allow a lot of clouds to develop for the midday and afternoon. There is a slight chance of a few stray snowflakes or sprinkles this afternoon. The temperatures will be a couple of degrees warmer and the winds will be a few miles an hour lighter, but it will still feel like mid-March. Tonight, we will have a better chance of seeing evening lows in the middle to upper 20's since there will be fewer clouds and light winds. The record cold low for this evening, before midnight, is 21, and for tomorrow is 23. I don't think we will quite get there, but it will be chilly again.

Warm-Up Still On Track for Tomorrow

Our moderation from the early week chill will happen tomorrow. We will have lots of sun, far fewer clouds, and a strong south wind. Highs will climb to about 60 degrees or perhaps a little warmer. Despite the greening that has occurred, much of the ground in Minnesota is quite dry, so the warmer, but drier air will create an elevated fire danger tomorrow. That problem will be highest in western Minnesota, where it has been the driest (see US Drought Monitor).

Back to Average Temperatures (50's) Friday, Cooler Than Average (40's) Weekend

However, we won't be able to hold the 60-ish temperatures for long. A couple of cool fronts will move through Minnesota, one tomorrow night and another late on Friday. Each of these will bring a chance of a few showers, but there won't be a lot of moisture available, so the chances for precipitation aren't great. Still, a switch to north winds and more clouds for at least part of each day will keep temperatures cooler. I am only expecting highs in the 50's on Friday and highs only in the 40's again Saturday and Sunday.

It could be cool enough aloft for some of those rain showers to fall in the form of snow showers, especially on Sunday. However, I want to stress that the chances for precipitation are low and any rain or snow accumulation would be lighter.

There does appear to be a major weather pattern shift ahead for early next week. We would have a chance to warm up a bit, for a while, but the warmth would come with enough moisture to produce showers and thunderstorms.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast


Confidence Level: "While Preparing a Meal I Will Drop a Slice of Bread"

Wednesday 4/21/2021: Sunny in the morning, partly sunny in the afternoon. Maybe a stray sprinkle. Still cool. High: between 42 and 47. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Wednesday Night: Partly clear with a bit of a late night breeze. Cool once again. Low: between 27 and 32 (record cold low: 23 in 1909, 1967, 1986). Winds: calm early, SW 5-10 MPH late at night. Chance of measurable rainfall: 0%.

Thursday 4/22/2021: Sunny, breezy, and seasonably warm. High: between 57 and 62. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.


Confidence Level: "The Bread Will Land on the Floor Jelly Side Down"

Thursday Night: Partly clear and mild evening, cloudy with a chance of rain showers late. Breezy. Low: between 38 and 43. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH evening, S 5-10 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Friday 4/23/2021: Cloudy, breezy, and cooler with perhaps some scattered rain showers. Not quite as warm. High: between 50 and 55. Winds: S 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.


Confidence Level: "My Sock Will Not Get Stuck to the Floor Because I Won't Step in the Jelly Spot"

Friday Night: Cloudy with perhaps an evening rain shower, then turning breezy and cooler late. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH evening, NW 5-10 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Saturday 4/24/2021: Cloudy, breezy, and cooler. Perhaps a rain or snow shower. High: between 44 and 48. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 30%.

Saturday Night: Partly clear with diminishing wind and cooler. Low: between 30 and 35. Winds: NE 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 4/25/2021: Thickening clouds with a chance of rain or snow showers in the afternoon. Continued cool. High: between 42 and 47. Winds: SE 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 30%.

Extended: Warmer with a good chance for rain early next week???

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump Even Though I Fed Them"; 0 - "The Rabbits Will Offer To Groom My Bald Spot"): 8 Wednesday, 7 Wednesday night and Thursday, 5 Thursday night and Friday, 3 Friday night and Saturday, 2 Saturday night and Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 40°F; Overnight Low (through 10 AM Wednesday): 21°F (tied record)
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
April 21 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 60°F 35°F
Record Temperatures 96°F (1980) 54°F (1946)
37°F (1924) 21°F (1936,1950)

Next Update: Thursday, April 22, 2021 8 AM

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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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