St. Cloud, MN Weather Forecast

Friday, May 17, 2024  3:50 AM

Prepared by Bob Weisman, SCSU Meteorologist and Professor Emeritus

Mostly Warm and Dry Through Weekend, But Changes Ahead Next Week

The weather pattern is still expected to change, cooling us off and giving at least parts of Minnesota a better chance of the heavier thunderstorms that have been plaguing the south central US for the past week or two. This change won't happen until early next week.

Still The Recent Set-Up: Bad Southern Storms, A Few Showers in Minnesota

The weather situation this morning still resembles what we've been seeing this week. The bulk of the heavy rain and thunderstorms are in the south (set number of frames to 200 on the College of DuPage continental US radar loop). The expected mesoscale convective complex, the large oval "blob" of thunderstorms (see Shortwave Albedo loop from Colorado State satellite slider), caused the expected problems from Texas to Mississippi, with at least 4 people reported killed in the Houston area. The weather in the north central states has been a bit more active overnight than I had expected as some showers and thunderstorms developed in the Dakotas and have pushed into north central through west central Minnesota overnight (set number of frames to 96 on the College of DuPage north central US radar loop). The rain has been a bit more successful reaching the ground since ground dew points range from the upper half of the 40's into the 50's (see NWS Aviation Weather Center METAR map).

Early AM Shower Today and Tomorrow Only Rain Threats Through Sunday PM

This flow of warmer air over top of what we have is being produced by the storm (counterclockwise circulation) moving from British Columbia into Alberta (see Mid-tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider). However, the potential for more widespread showers and thunderstorms as this system's cold front passes tomorrow looks worse. The front will come through at the wrong time of day, not long after sunrise. Since the best moisture will be cut off by the storms further to the south, there is only a small chance of a few light showers late tonight and early tomorrow (see Days 1-2 on the NWS WPC quantitative precipitation forecast ). Later in the day, more thunderstorms will develop with even a small risk of severe thunderstorms, but that will be limited to northeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. And, that will be our best chance for rain until the weather pattern changes.

Very Warm Today, Still Warm Most of Saturday and Sunday

So, most of today through Sunday will be sunny and warm. The developing warm front (see dashed multi-colored line on the latest NWS WPC North America zoom-in map) will move through central Minnesota this morning, so we will have a good supply of sunshine. Throw in some strong south to southwest winds, and temperatures will be able to climb well up into the 80's. There may be even be a 90 degree reading in the Minnesota River Valley. Tonight will also be very mild as the winds keep up and the chances for rain aren't great. We could see a low in the 60's. Tomorrow, we will have those early clouds and perhaps a scattered shower, but the midday and afternoon will be sunny and windy once again. It won't be quite as warm as today, but highs will still make it into the middle 70's.

Dry Enough for Wildfires to Spread, Especially Northern and Western Minnesota

Both today and tomorrow, the combination of warm temperatures and strong winds will produce a high danger for wildfires, mainly in the parts of northern and western Minnesota (watch for updated fire danger ratings later this morning on the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources map), which have missed the bulk of May's rain.

We will have a relatively cool Saturday night with temperatures dropping into the 40's. There may be some patchy ground fog late at night. On Sunday, the temperature trend will again be upward as Minnesota gets into strong south winds ahead of the next weather system. At this point, high clouds are forecast, so I am tempering forecast highs to the upper 70's to near 80.

Storm By Alaska to Change Pattern, Allowing More Moisture into Storms Passing Near Minnesota

As I have noted earlier in the week, a stronger storm moving just south of the Aleutian Islands (see Pacific mid-tropospheric water vapor loop from Colorado State satellite slider) is expected to move into the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia over the weekend. This will unify the two main steering wind components and switch the main stream to a track from the central Rockies to the Great Lakes. That will allow the deepest moisture to get into the storms expected to track from Colorado through the Central Plains and into the Great Lakes. That will bring the possibility of heavier rainfall much closer to Minnesota during next work week (see Days 4-7 on the NWS WPC quantitative precipitation forecast).

Chance of More Significant Rain in Thunderstorms Sunday Night into Monday

The first wave of this string of storms is expected to hang up a cold front in Minnesota on Monday. While three day forecasts for thunderstorms aren't the most reliable, I think that we will have a better chance for seeing significant rain in showers and thunderstorms, which may begin late on Sunday afternoon, but are more likely over Sunday night, perhaps lingering into early Monday.

Stronger Storm Could Produce Heavy Rain in Parts of Minnesota on Tuesday?

The computer forecasts are in much better agreement that this Pacific Northwest storm will hang up in Saskatchewan early next week. They now agree that a second system has a shot of creating a stronger low developing in eastern Colorado late on Monday, which will track towards Lake Michigan on Tuesday and Tuesday night. The forecast track disagrees by a state with the European forecast taking the low through southern Iowa and northern Missouri, while the US forecast has it moving through northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. But, at least they both agree that a low is there, something missing from earlier forecasts. To the north of the track, there will be showers and thunderstorms pulled from further to the south. A northern track might create a small possibility of severe thunderstorms at least near Minnesota, but the main effect will be the potential for heavy rainfall in showers and thunderstorms. The northern forecast would put southern and a chunk of central Minnesota in that risk for heavy rainfall (see Days 4 and 5 of the NWS WPC Excessive Rainfall Outlook), while the more southern track will put the heavy rainfall in central and northern Iowa.

Much Cooler Next Week, Especially Tuesday Into Thursday(?)

In any case, the toasty air will move no closer to Minnesota than Iowa and perhaps Missouri, so we will see much cooler temperatures in the middle of next week. I am going for a good supply of Monday sunshine after the Sunday night storms move out, so I have highs back in the lower 70's. Later in the week, a lot of clouds and a north to northeast wind will likely keep highs in the 60's. If we get either into the significant rainfall, or even if we stay under low clouds and spotty showers, temperatures might even stay in the 50's.

Last Forecast Before June 6? 7? 10?

Janet and I are trying to take some time off over the next 2-3 weeks, so this is my last planned forecast until late in the first full week of June. (Note: last year's plans didn't go so well, so we'll see.) And, if you want revenge, we are planning to be in the Canadian Rockies near Banff by early next week. The computer forecasts are trying to have the stalled Saskatchewan low produce significant snowfall in that area (see Day 6 of the NWS WPC winter weather outlook). Of course, Alanis Morrisette, a Canadian resource, has appropriate comments on my potential weather luck.

Detailed St. Cloud, MN, and Vicinity Forecast

Confidence Level: "The Bugs Are Waiting for Me to Mow the Lawn"

Friday 5/17/2024: Perhaps an early shower. Becoming mostly sunny by late morning, windy, and warmer. High: between 82 and 87. Winds: S-SW 15-25 MPH with higher gusts. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30% early in the morning, 10% the rest of the day.

Friday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and quite warm with a chance of a late night shower or thunderstorm. Low: between 60 and 65. (Record warm low: 65 in 2012) Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Saturday 5/18/2024: Chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms in the morning. Becoming sunny, windy, and not quite as warm from midday through the afternoon. High: between 72 and 77. Winds: S 10-20 MPH early, becoming WNW 15-30 MPH with higher gusts midday and afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30% in the morning, 10% in the afternoon.

Saturday Night: Clearing with diminishing wind, and cooler. Maybe some fog by morning,. Low: between 45 and 50. Winds: S 5 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 5/19/2024: Sunshine through high clouds, breezy, and warmer again. A slight chance of a late day shower or thunderstorm. High: between 75 and 80. Winds: S 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Confidence Level: "Extra Bugs Will Come From Every Home on the Block to Hover Around My Head"

Sunday Night: A better chance of showers and thunderstorms. Warm again. Low: between 55 and 60. (Record warm low: 62 in 2009)Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50%.

Monday 5/20/2024: Cloudy with lingering showers in the morning, perhaps some sunny breaks in the afternoon. Cooler. High: between 70 and 75. Winds: N-NE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Confidence Level: "Enough Bugs Will Fly into My Mouth to Throw Off My Diet"

Monday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and cooler. Maybe a rain shower. Low: between 50 and 55. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Tuesday 5/21/2024: Cloudy, breezy, and even cooler. A chance of showers and thunderstorms?? High: between 60 and 70. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 50%.

Extended: Uncertain whether shower chances linger into Wednesday?? Cooler than average through Thursday???

Forecast Confidence (10 - "The Rabbits Will Thump Even Though I Fed Them"; 0 - "The Rabbits Will Offer To Groom My Bald Spot"): 8 Friday and Friday night, 7 Saturday through Saturday night, 6 Sunday, 4 Sunday night and Monday, 2 Monday night and Tuesday.

Yesterday's High: 70°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM Friday): 53°F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Melted Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): None; SCSU 24-Hour Precipitation (through 3 AM Friday): TBA

St. Cloud Daily Record and Average Temperatures
May 17 Historical Data High Low
Average Temperatures 69°F 46°F
Record Temperatures 90°F (1972,1998) 62°F (1906)
48°F (1961,1968) 28°F (1973)

Next Update: Thursday or Friday, June 6 or 7, 2024 6 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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