Friday, January 30, 2015 3:28 AM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Saint Cloud State University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast
Winter Strikes Back
First Cold Morning In A While
The cold front that pushed through Minnesota early Thursday morning (see 24-hour loop of WPC surface weather charts) certainly had its effect. First, the drier air from Canada finally got rid of the low clouds that we had the previous two days (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). The infrared loop from College
of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu makes it hard to determine what is clouds and what is cold air, but the Colorado
State RAMDIS Western US Fog/Reflectivity Product shows only a narrow strip of white. The colder air has also caused temperatures to drop ever since topping out above freezing around 4 AM yesterday morning (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). Temperatures fell to the upper 20's by the official 6 AM low temperature reporting time, then continued to drop to the middle 20's for much of the afternoon (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations) . Overnight, the winds have diminished, allowing readings to fall to the plus single digits in central Minnesota (see NWS
Aviation Center Minnesota map) as the cold high pressure area has pushed into Minnesota (see NWS
HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map). However, note that, in the area covered by the high at this time yesterday (central Saskatchewan and Manitoba), temperatures were in the minus teens and minus 20's (see Penn State 8-day high/low temperature maps). The difference? There is deep snow cover over that part of the Canadian Prairie Provinces, but nearly no snow cover in central and southern Minnesota. Still, it's our first low temperature in the single digits in more than 2 weeks.
Seasonably Cold Through Tomorrow, Arctic Cold Resumes Saturday Night
We are still in transition to the much colder weather that has dominated eastern Canada and the Northeast during our milder period in January. We won't get a direct hit from the cold, but temperatures will be colder than average for the first time since the first two weeks of January. We should manage 20's for a high today and tomorrow, but after the next cold front goes by midday tomorrow, the mother lode of the cold air will push into northern Minnesota. Highs on Sunday will struggle to get much higher than 10 degrees with highs generally in the lower teens next week.
Snow Forecasts? Don't Trust Them...Yet
The cold air is a pretty definite forecast. The bigger uncertainty are clouds and any small snow threat. In case you've been tracking day-to-day changes in my forecasts (if so, I'd suggest taking up a new hobby.....my daughter votes for The Sims), several days have been switching from cloudy to sunny as I issue new forecasts. That's because any small storms along the edge of the cold air have changed so much that they either disappear or completely change track from one computer run to the next (This is why it's a complete misrepresentation of the science to be putting out forecasts of "The Next One" for the Northeast 4-6 days in advance).
So, I've begun to average these forecasts. I'm completely uncertain about any clear night, so I don't have any forecast lows colder than 0. I am keeping high temperatures generally no colder than 10 because of the day-to-day shifts. I do have the threat of flurries in the forecast for Sunday and Monday night into Tuesday. The overnight computer projection actually has a couple of inches of snow from the Sunday system, but this is a complete change from the sunny day that I had for Sunday in yesterday's forecast. So, again, I''m tempering any snow forecast until I see some consistency.
This is also why I don't have much confidence in the forecast, especially beyond the weekend.
By the way, some of the hard hit areas in Maine have a shot at seeing a lot of snow today from the storm that dropped the flurries and freezing drizzle on us early yesterday. The potential Monday storm there has a newer forecast track that would hit Long Island and southern New England with another major snowfall (but more on the order of 6-12 inches). That's a completely change from yesterday's forecast which had the storm too far to the south to do much. Given the huge difference in snowfall over a small area (Central Park NYC 9 inches, 11 inches at LaGuardia Airport 5 miles away, 18-30 inches 15 miles further east), I still wouldn't trust any forecast for sure.
January Average Temperature Continues to Warm
Yesterday probably marked the end of the increase in the average January temperature. We didn't see any record temperatures, like Wednesday's record warm low of 28, but the temperature was above freezing (at 3-4 AM). So, through the first 29 days of January, the St. Cloud average temperature is now 16.2 degrees, 4.8 degrees above normal. That's nearly 12 degrees warmer than last January and three degrees warmer than January 2013. The January snowfall is stuck at 2.5 inches, which would be more than ten and a half inches below normal. Since December 1, St. Cloud has had only 5.0 inches of snow (17.5 inches average). For the season, St. Cloud has picked up 22.6 inches, more than 4 inches behind the 26.7 inch average and nearly 17 inches short of last year's total. Two years ago, we had even less (20.7 inches through the end of January), but we were about to go through the second highest Feb-Apr snowfall total in St. Cloud records.
I'll be working on the St. Cloud January weather summary over the weekend.
See Forecast Below
Ground and Air Travel
Friday 1/30: Some morning clouds with a slight chance of a flurry, then midday and afternoon sunshine. Continued seasonably mild. High: between 25 and 30. Winds: S 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Friday Night: Clear early, increasing clouds late, breezy, and not quite as cold. Low: between 17 and 22. Winds: SE 5-10 MPH evening, shifting to N 8-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Saturday 1/31: Partly sunny, breezy, and colder. High: between 22 and 27. Winds: N 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty
Saturday Night: Thickening clouds with a chance of light snow or flurries. Low: between 5 and 10. Winds: NE 8-15 MPH. Wind chill: in the minus teens. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.
Sunday 2/1: Cloudy with a chance of morning light snow or flurries, windy, and colder. High: between 8 and 13. Winds: N 8-15 MPH. Wind chill: in the minus teens. Chance of measurable snowfall: 40%.
Sunday Night: Clear with diminishing wind and colder. Low: near 0. Winds: W-NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Monday 2/2: Sunny with some high clouds in the afternoon, less windy, and continued cold. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Monday Night: Thickening clouds with a chance of flurries late. Not quite as cold. Temperatures holding in the lower teens.. Winds: SE 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.
Tuesday 2/3: Cloudy with a chance of flurries. Continued cold. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: NE 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.
Extended: .Colder Wednesday. Lows near zero. Highs near 10. Chance of light snow or flurries Thursday. Warm-up for next weekend???
Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will
cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday through Saturday, 5 Saturday night through Monday, 3 Monday night and Tuesday, 2 Wednesday, 1 Thursday.
Yesterday's High: 30°F (set at 3-4 AM Thursday); Yesterday's Daytime High: 28°F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 9°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation: None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 3 AM Friday): None
Normal Temperatures for January 30 - High: 23°F;
Next Update: Monday, February 2, 2015 8:00 AM (or as needed)
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!
Are you interested in studying meteorology? If so,
go to the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department home page.