Local Forecast

Friday, February 24, 2017 2:08 PM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Meteorology Professor
Saint Cloud State University
Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast

Tough Travel in Southern Minnesota, Biting Wind Everywhere

Discussion Links Forecast

Snow Continues In East Central and Southeastern Minnesota

The lingering snow band extends from south central Minnesota into the southern and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities at midday (see NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). South St. Paul Airport, Lakeville, and Lake Elmo have been snowing through the late morning (see zoom-in from NWS Aviation Weather Center), but Holman Field in Downtown St. Paul, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and everywhere in the western and northern Metro have had little or no snow. Note that this band is tending to shrivel or pivot, rather than move, so the areas that have gotten snow will continue to do so this afternoon until the band dissipates. So, the eastern and southern Twin Cities and the rest of southeastern Minnesota to the east of the Minnesota River will continue to the snowfall totals that go from less than an inch in River Falls and 4 inches north of Red Wing to 9 inches in Red Wing and a general 9-14 inches from Jackson and Fairmont through Owatonna, Waseca and Faribault through Rochester and Cannon Falls to Wabasha and Lake City. The narrow swath of heavy snow continues into northern Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and northern Nebraska. Roads continue to be completely snow covered across this swath of southern Minnesota with some ice lurking underneath.

However, the sun has broken through the low clouds at times in central and northern Minnesota (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). Temperatures are in the middle 20's in much of central Minnesota with teens in north central Minnesota (see UCAR Minnesota surface chart). Winds continue to gust in central and south central Minnesota to speeds of 25-35 MPH (see NWS Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up), keeping wind chills in the upper single digits to teens. It's not dangerous (see NWS wind chill chart), but it feels a lot colder than we've been in quite a while.

Late February Temperatures Return

The winds will begin to ease off a bit tonight. Lows will drop into the teens with the wind making it feel like the single digits above zero once again. Look for the return of sunshine tomorrow, which will push highs back over the freezing mark. Expect southern Minnesota, with the fresh snow cover, to be colder than central Minnesota, since more of the sun's rays are reflected back to space by the snow.

We will continue near the main northern storm track through the weekend and well into next week. The good news is that any storm that develops likely will struggle to be able to have a good supply of moisture, so huge storms will be hard to come by. The bad news is that there will be frequent front passages. Since the storms that will cause them are well out in the Pacific or even Asia, the specific forecast of any time gets uncertain fairly quickly (around 3 days down the road).

It does look like a weaker storm could spread some snow across southern and central Minnesota late Saturday night into Sunday morning. It doesn't look like a lot right now, but the amount and the timing could easily change between now and then. The next possible threat of some snow may be Tuesday, but that's a really shaky forecast. For now, it appears that temperatures will finish February far more seasonable than they were for the past week. Highs will likely be in the 30's from Saturday into early next week. Perhaps we could make a run at 40 degrees on Sunday. Depending on how much clearing we get, lows look like they will be in the 20's or teens.

As the snow winds down in Minnesota and Wisconsin today, there could be an outbreak of severe weather with the best chance across Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.

One Last Day of Records Yesterday

So, our streak of record-breaking warmth is over. St. Cloud tied or set 9 record warm temperatures, including tying the all-time February high of 59 degrees. The NWS Twin Cities also notes that St. Cloud broke the record for most consecutive February 50-degree highs with 6 straight days.

Yesterday's warm low temperature helped to hold the St. Cloud February average temperature to 27.6 degrees, 11.5 degrees above average. That would be warm enough to place 3rd among the warmest Februaries if the month ended yesterday. While the average temperature will fall a bit during the colder weather expected, it won't likely be cold enough to shove this February out of the top 10. As of yesterday, the St. Cloud average winter (Dec. 1-Feb. 23) temperature stands at 20.7 degrees, warm enough to place 9th among St. Cloud's mildest winters. Due to the cooler weather ahead, we may not be able to hold onto a top 10 winter ranking.

Why am I not confident about long-range weather forecasting? Because this winter was supposed to be colder than average, due to the La Nina in the central Pacific. That La Nina was much weaker than forecast, so the forecasts of the Northern Plains having a cold winter, along with California continuing their drought, fell easily.

St. Cloud Un-February Weather Scoreboard
Time Record Warm Temperature (Year) Forecast Temperature Record for the Month of February
Friday 2/17
54 in 1981
59 New record
tied record of Feb. 27, 2016
Saturday 2/18
56 in 1981
57 New record
Sunday 2/19
56 in 1981
58 New record
Sunday Night
34 in 1930
37 (at midnight Sun. night)
Monday 2/20
57 in 1981
50 Nope
Monday Night
38 in 1930
29 Nope
Tuesday 2/21
55 in 1961
56 New Record
Tuesday Night
34 in 1998
32 Nope
Wednesday 2/22
55 in 1961
55 Tied Record
Discussion Links Forecast

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

Friday 2/24/2017: Cloudy, blustery, and colder. Maybe a stray flurry. High: between 25 and 30. Winds: N 15-30 MPH. Wind chill: between 5 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.

Friday Night: Clearing, breezy, and colder. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chill: between 0 and 10. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday 2/25/2017: Partly sunny, not quite as windy, and continued seasonably cold. High: between 32 and 36. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Clouding up with a chance of light snow or flurries late at night. Low: between 20 and 25. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.

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

Sunday 2/26/2017: A chance of light snow or flurries in the morning, mostly cloudy with a few flurries in the afternoon. A coating of snow could accumulate between Saturday night and Sunday. Continued seasonably cold. High: between 32 and 36. Winds: SW 10-20 MPH, becoming NW in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.

Sunday Night: Partial clearing with diminishing wind and colder. Low: between 14 and 18. Winds: light, becoming SE 5-10 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Monday 2/27/2017: Sunshine through thickening high clouds and milder. High: between 40 and 45. Winds: SW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

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

Monday Night: Thickening clouds with a chance of snow after midnight. Low: between 24 and 28. Winds: NE 10-20 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Tuesday 2/28/2017: Cloudy with snow ending in the morning. Mixed sun and clouds and windy with perhaps a flurry in the afternoon. s. ce of snow. High: between 34 and 38. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%.

Extended: Frequent small storms passing (which can't be forecast 5-7 days in advance) and continued seasonable to milder than average temperatures for early March.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday through Saturday, 6 Saturday night, 5 Sunday through Monday, 3 Monday night and Tuesday.

Today's High (through noon): 23°F; Overnight Low (through noon): 21°F 
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through noon Friday): Nothing!; SCSU Precipitation (through noon Friday): Nothing!

Normal Temperatures for February 23 High: 30°F; Low: 11°F 
Next Update: Monday, February 26, 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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