St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 3:50 AM

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

Snowpack Slowly Building With More Opportunity Thursday (and Saturday??????)

Some Snow, Finally

The two day snow total in St. Cloud reached 2.5 inches at the St. Cloud Airport and 3.3 inches at St. Cloud State University. This snowfall finally pushed the cold season snowfall over 20 inches to 21.8 inches. That's still 10.1 inches behind for the season. However, the change in places like Aberdeen, SD were even more dramatic. There were 4.3 inches of snow in the past two days, which finally pushed Aberdeen's seasonal snowfall to 11.0 inches. Yes, Aberdeen had picked up less than 7 inches of snow for the winter before Monday. The increased snow coverage will show up on the National Weather Service snow depth chart later this morning.

There were still lingering clouds (set product to "Shortwave Albedo" on the Colorado State RAMMB slider satellite loop) from the Minnesota-Wisconsin border eastward with plenty of rain from Missouri and Illinois eastward (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). In our area, the clearing skies allowed temperatures to fall below zero in much of northern and central Minnesota with a few minus teens in the Arrowhead and northeastern South Dakota (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart). Winds weren't that strong, but the cold temperatures combined with the 4-8 MPH winds to produce wind chills in the -25 to -15 range (see NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up).

Cold Break from the Storm Parade

Today will be a break from the progression of storm systems as high pressure takes control of our weather. The fresh snow cover and the colder air mass will limit highs to the middle to upper teens once again today.

However, the traffic jam of storm systems in the eastern Pacific (see Pacific infrared satellite loop from University of Wisconsin SSEC satellite viewer). On this morning's view, the patch of clouds moving southward along the Oregon and northern California coasts and the larger cloud cluster moving from the Yukon Territories into northern British Columbia are the next two systems. These are moving southeastward now, but will "round the turn" over the Southern Rockies and move northeastward from the eastern Rockies into the Plains (see Pacific water vapor loop from University of Wisconsin SSEC satellite viewer). There's even a weak system moving from New Mexico into Colorado that doesn't have enough moisture to make many clouds.

More Shovelable Snow Second Half of Thursday

This parade will next reach central Minnesota tomorrow. We will have a partly clear and initially cold night tonight with lows dropping below zero again, but temperatures will climb back above zero by tomorrow morning. Clouds will thicken and there will be a good chance of another period of light snow from tomorrow afternoon through tomorrow evening. The snowfall will again be light with the potential for between 1 and 4 inches of new snow. There may also be periods of freezing drizzle, especially in the early morning hours of Friday after the snow lets up. So, we will be dealing with another light snow coating for the Thursday afternoon and possibly the Friday morning commute. Hopefully, everyone will slow down for the conditions, which you can watch on the MnDOT Minnesota road conditions chart.

Friday should again provide us a break between storm systems. We may see some afternoon sun and milder temperatures with highs in the middle to upper 20's, perhaps making it to freezing.

Potential Major Saturday Storm (Not a Sure Thing Yet)

The busy weather pattern will continue on Saturday as the northwest Canada system moves into the Plains. This system has the potential to be a stronger storm, with the potential to produce plowable snow (6-12 inches) and significant ice in its cold sector. Through yesterday afternoon, the forecast track of this system had stayed far enough to the south to keep central Minnesota out of it, but there has been a major shift in track to the northwest overnight. The current forecast would put central Minnesota right in the path of a heavy snowfall. However, I don't trust a single computer model run, so I just have a good chance for snow in the Saturday forecast.

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

Wednesday 2/21/2018: Sunny, light winds, and continued cold. High: between 15 and 20. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Wednesday Night: Clear, calm, and chilly evening. Some high clouds late. Low: between -5 and 0. Winds: light SE. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Thursday 2/22/2018: Cloudy with snow developing by midday and continuing through the afternoon, breezy, and not quite as cold. High: between 18 and 23. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30% in the morning, 70% in the afternoon

Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of some light snow or flurries evening. Fog and freezing drizzle possible late. Between 1 and 3 inches could accumulate from Thursday midday through evening. Milder. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: SE 5-15 MPH evening, becoming NW 5-10 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 70% evening, 30% after midnight

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

Friday 2/23/2018: Cloudy in the morning, maybe some afternoon sun. Not as cold. High: between 27 and 32. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Friday Night: Cloudy and relatively mild. Low: between 17 and 22. Winds: SE-E 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%

Saturday 2/24/2018: Cloudy with a good chance of snow. Breezy. High: between 25 and 30. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%

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

Saturday Night: Cloudy with evening snow ending, windy with blowing snow in open areas. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH, becoming NW and increasing to 15-25 MPH in the early morning hours. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50% evening, 20% after midnight.

Sunday 2/25/2018: Cloudy with flurries or occasional light snow possible. Breezy. High: between 20 and 25. Winds: W-NW 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%

Extended: Busy weather pattern to continue into next week

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 Wednesday and Wednesday night, 6 Thursday and Thursday night, 5 Friday, 4 Friday night and Saturday, 3 Saturday night and Sunday.

Yesterday's High: 18°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Wednesday): -4°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Wednesday): None

February 21 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 29°F 10°F
Record Temperatures 56°F (2017) 38°F (1930)
0°F (1963) -25°F (1939)

Next Update: Thursday, February 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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