Local Forecast

Monday, February 27, 2017 3:34 AM

Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast

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

Even When February Is Cold, It Really Isn't

Potential for Top 3 Warmest February

In the wake of the narrow snowband storm Thursday night and Friday, colder air did push into Minnesota for the weekend. While I did leave some face skin on the University Bridge Friday afternoon in the single digit wind chill, Friday was the only day without a high temperature reaching 30 degrees (see NWS St. Cloud February temperature table). The cold was moderated by the lack of a snow cover (see NWS NOHRSC snow depth chart). In fact, you can see the difference in the snow covered areas of northern Iowa versus the bare ground of central Minnesota. Note that high temperatures have been kept down in northern Iowa compared to us (see 3-day loop of high temperatures from NWS/University at Albany). That's because of the energy both reflected by the snow cover and lost to melting it. in the only Friday had a high temperature that didn't reach 30.

Only two days over the weekend had average temperatures colder than the ridiculous warm average for the month so far. So, with only 2 days left in February, St. Cloud has averaged 27.2 degrees, 10.6 degrees milder than average, and currently tied with 1954 for the third mildest February in St. Cloud records. We are nearly guaranteed a top 3 finish, since we will be back on the mild side today and tomorrow. The average winter (Dec. 1-Feb. 26) temperature has been 20.6 degrees, nearly guaranteeing this winter will be the 9th warmest in St. Cloud records. Once this winter is added, 6 of the 13 mildest winters have taken place since 1997.

Here Comes the Mild Again, But No 50's For a While

And, as noted, we have already made it through the "cold period" of the weekend. Temperatures did fall back into the 20's early this evening (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations), but have steadied or even warmed in the early morning hours as some middle and low clouds have moved in (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu and Colorado State RAMDIS Western US Fog/Reflectivity Product). There have even been a few snow flurries (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop) that haven't amounted to much, but still produced more snow than in Thursday night and Friday's long-hyped storm.

The coldest of this batch of cold air has moved into central Canada and we are left near a warm front that has produced the clouds in our area (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). This system will keep a lot of clouds around today, but should flop through to our north, allowing afternoon temperatures to climb into the 40's.

Slightly cooler air will move in tonight with a lot of clouds. In fact, the clouds and perhaps some light snow flurries or snow showers will be on and off through the middle part of the week. Temperatures won't be quite as mild as today, but expect highs still in the upper 30's to near 40 tomorrow and near or above freezing on Wednesday. With all of the clouds around, lows will still be in the 20's.

One Day Cool-Off, But March Will Start With Mostly Mild Conditions

Even colder air will move in briefly for Thursday. However, average temperatures for the first couple of days of March are supposed to be in the lower 30's. So, highs in the upper 20's will be only a few degrees below average. The one chance for a clear, calm, cold night appears to be Thursday night with Friday morning lows in the teens. We should begin to see moderation with temperatures back above freezing on Friday and the potential of a mild weekend.

Near Record Lack of Snow in February

Other non-winter-like winter statistics: there has only been 26.4 inches of snow this season so far. That wasn't much below average at the start of February, but is now 7.2 inches below average. February has had only 0.3 inches of snow so far. This ranks as the 4th brownest February in St. Cloud records so far. Every other February since 1921 has had at least half an inch of snow. We have a shot at getting a little bit today or tomorrow but will likely remain the 6th February with less than an inch of snow. The longest streak with at least an inch of snow on the ground was 45 days, well short of the St. Cloud average of 86 days. There have only been 57 total days with at least an inch on the ground, well short of the seasonal average of 101 days.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Sniff At My Feet While I'm Forecasting"

Monday 2/27/2017: Morning clouds, some afternoon sun, breezy, and milder. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday Night: Clouding up with a chance of some spotty flurries or freezing drizzle. Low: between 28 and 32. Winds: E 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Tuesday 2/28/2017: Mostly cloudy with a chance of some light snow or rain showers, mainly in the morning, breezy, and seasonably cold. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: N 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Will Want Petting with One Hand, While I'm Typing the Forecast"

Tuesday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and colder. Low: between 23 and 28. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday 3/1/2017: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and a shade colder. Perhaps a few flurries or snow showers. High: between 30 and 35. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Wednesday Night: Cloudy, light winds, with a chance of a few flurries late. Low: between 17 and 22. Winds: S 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Thursday 3/2/2017: Maybe a little morning sun, afternoon clouds with a chance of flurries, breezy, and colder. High: between 25 and 30. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chill: between 5 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.

Confidence Level: "The Rabbits Forecast That Most Precipitation Will Be in the Form of Lettuce"

Thursday Night: Partial clearing and colder. Low: between 10 and 15. Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Friday 3/3/2017: Morning sun, afternoon clouds, breezy, and more seasonable. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Extended: Milder weekend??

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Monday, 6 Monday night and Tuesday, 5 Tuesday night and Wednesday, 4 Wednesday night and Thursday, 3 Thursday night and Friday.

Yesterday's High: 34°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 22°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): Trace; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Monday): Trace

Normal Temperatures for February 27 - High: 31°F; Low: 12°F
Next Update: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:00 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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