Weather

St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Sunday, December 8, 2019  4:35 AM

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

"Eventually I Ran to Minnesota, Where It's Cold (Mon Nt-Wed Nt) and I Thought I'd Keep Better"

Enjoy the Near Freezing While It Lasts...

Yesterday continued the mild trend in central Minnesota temperatures. After a morning low of 16 degrees, temperatures climbed to freezing during the day yesterday. Readings continued to climb during Saturday evening, topping 35 degrees between 11 PM and 1 AM for the fourth time in the past week (see 7-day graph of St. Cloud temperatures from MesoWest). However, the cold front that I've been warning about will be pushing through central Minnesota in the next few hours. Temperatures are relatively modest in northwestern Minnesota, mainly in the 20's (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR menu), but readings are already in the lower teens and even a few single digits in northeastern North Dakota and certainly in Manitoba.

Arctic Outbreak on Track to Begin Monday Night and Continue to Wednesday Evening

Note that the really cold air is near the center of the high now pushing through the northern Canadian Prairie provinces. On the Shortwave Albedo satellite loop (from Colorado State slider menu), gold and dark red, usually reserved for mid-level clouds, are moving southward from Nunavut into Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. So the temperatures at the ground in this area, in the -20s and even a -30 or two (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map), are as cold as middle clouds further to the south.

This Cold Outbreak Will Be Less Windy, But Will Test Your Vehicle

This arctic outbreak will be fairly intense, but it appears that the coldest of the cold air will only brush through Manitoba and western Ontario, then head to a large low circulation over Hudson Bay. So, central Minnesota will certainly be colder than any time so far this winter, but we won't get the worst of it.. The other piece of relatively good news is that the winds won't be that strong after the middle of Monday night, so wind chills likely won't get to the flesh-peeling levels we saw at times last January.

It still will be cold enough to need to bundle up. And, with light winds forecast for late Monday night and Tuesday night, your car will need to be in tip-top shape to start easily Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

The hoary details for Monday night into Thursday looks to be the following

  • Tuesday morning: lows between -20 and -10. Winds drop off during the evening, but there might be some spotty wind chills in the -35 to -20 range
  • Tuesday high within a few degrees of zero. Some spotty wind chills in the -30 and -15 range
  • Wednesday morning: lows between -28 and -18 with light winds again.
  • Wednesday afternoon: high between -5 and 0 with light winds
  • Wednesday evening: a quick drop to near -15, then breezy late at night with wind chills in the -35 to -20 range as temperatures climb through the minus single digits.

This temperature range will make wind chill advisories likely, as wind chills in the -35 to -25 range can cause exposed skin to freeze in 15-30 minutes (see NWS wind chill chart). So, you'll need that cold weather survival kit for your vehicle. The only record cold temperature that appears to be possible in St. Cloud is the Wednesday morning low of -23, set in 1936. Again, highs of zero or colder and lows of minus 20 or colder are typical in a central Minnesota cold air outbreak.

Since the high will push right over Minnesota by Tuesday morning, those of you with pressure sensitive joints and sinuses can expect to have trouble from Monday night through Wednesday.

Shovelable or Sneeze-able Snow Still Likely Tonight into Tomorrow Morning

There are a pair of threats for light, fluffy snow: one tonight into tomorrow morning and another Wednesday night into Tuesday. The system expected tonight into tomorrow is the bend from north-to-south flow to more west-to-east flow over British Columbia (see Mid-Tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider). That system will race east-southeastward, passing through Minnesota tomorrow morning. The storm won't have much moisture to work with, but temperatures will be cold enough to be quite efficient at making the full crystal, fluffy, squeaks when you step on it snow flakes that only require 0.05 inch of liquid to make an inch of snow. The forecasts of this snow band have been creeping slightly northward with time. The favored area for the heaviest snowfall will generally be between Brainerd and St. Cloud in central Minnesota, basically around Hwy. 210 on the north side and around Hwys. 95 and 27 on the south side. This still puts St. Cloud, Little Falls, Brainerd, Alexandria, and Duluth (again) in the band of between 2 and 5 inches of snow. The snow will begin this evening, be the heaviest between midnight and the morning rush hour, then taper off to flurries by mid-morning. There will be some one inch an hour snowfall rates. Willmar may get less and Redwood Falls and the Twin Cities should get less snow (1-3 inches).

Since the snow will be fluffy, the 10-20 MPH winds will keep blowing it around during and after the snowfall. Temperatures will be falling back through the teens during Monday, so the blowing snow will cause patches of low visibility. There will also be slippery spots as snow blows over even cleared roads. By late in the day, temperatures will drop out of the teens, so salt won't work on new icy spots.

Second Snow Possibility Wednesday Night into Thursday?

The second snow threat will be as temperatures climb on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. There will be quite a strong push of more seasonable air over the back edge of the arctic air, which will cause the air to be lifted. So, there will be the potential for another moderate snowfall, but it's too early to pin that down.

It does appear that this arctic intrusion will be relatively brief with temperatures climbing back into the 20's by Thursday and remaining there by Friday. The overall effect of this weather change, however, is to park the core of the coldest air over the middle of eastern Canada and Hudson Bay. So, it will be easier for any future northwest steering winds to push a chunk of that cold air our way. It's too early to say when that will occur, however.

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

Sunday 12/8/2019: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and colder. Maybe some flurries by late in the day. Temperatures holding between 24 and 30. Winds: N-NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Sunday Night: Snow developing late in the evening and continuing through morning, breezy, and turning colder. Between 2 and 5 inches of new snow could fall from Sunday night into Monday morning. Low: between 12 and 20. Winds: N-NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 70% after 9 PM.

Monday 12/9/2019: Snow tapering to flurries by mid-morning. Some clearing by midday or afternoon, breezy, and turning colder. Low visibility and icy spots due to blowing snow in open areas. Temperatures holding between 8 and 15. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chill: between -15 and 0. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50% in the morning, 10% in the afternoon.

Monday Night: Clear with diminishing winds and very cold. Low: between -20 and -10. (record cold low: -26 in 1977)Winds: NW 5-10 MPH evening, 5 MPH late. Spotty wind chill: between -35 and -20. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday 12/10/2019: Mostly sunny, but so what?! Light winds and really cold. High: between -3 and +3. (record cold high: -8 in 1977) Winds: NW 5 MPH. Spotty wind chill: between -35 and -15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.

Tuesday Night: Clear with light winds, but arctic temperatures. Low: between -28 and -18. (record cold low: -23 in 1936) Winds: light. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.

Wednesday 12/11/2019: Useless sunshine, light winds, and continued really cold. High: between -5 and 0. (record cold high: -7 in 1995) Winds: light W. Chance of measurable snowfall: 0%.


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 occasional light snow or flurries and not as cold. Low: between -15 and -8 early, rising above zero during the early morning hours. Winds: SE 5 MPH evening, 8-15 MPH late at night. Late night wind chill: between -30 and -10. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.

Thursday 12/12/2019: Cloudy, windy, and not nearly as cold. A chance of light snow or flurries. There is the potential for between 2 and 4 inches of snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning. High: between 22 and 28. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.


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

Extended: Seasonable Friday?? A bit colder Saturday????

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

Yesterday's High: 38°F (set at midnight Saturday night); Yesterday's Daytime High: 32°F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM Sunday): 20°F
St. Cloud Airport Storm Precipitation (through 4 AM Sunday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Sunday): None

St. Cloud Daily Average and Record Temperatures
December 8 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 27°F 10°F
Record Temperatures 54°F (1939) 34°F (1946)
-11°F (1927) -22°F (1978)

Next Update: Monday, December 9 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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