Local Forecast

Friday, April 17, 2015 3:29 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


Warmth Through Saturday, Then Welcome Rain for the Weekend

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One Last Very Warm Day with Very High Fire Danger

The combination of high clouds and dew points in the 30's led to slightly lower fire danger conditions in Minnesota yesterday (the National Weather Service in Duluth has a fine page linking and summarizing the fire information) . This allowed fire crews to mop up the Wednesday fires that caused so much trouble in the Red River Valley Wednesday. Note that the fire upon which the article focuses was caused by a vehicle dragging a chain. High temperatures were again a little cooler than they were earlier in the week, thanks to the clouds through the morning and the lighter winds see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). Overnight, temperatures have remained quite mild with readings in the 40's and even some 50's (see NWS Aviation Center Minnesota map). The mild temperatures were due to a combination of some persistent northwest winds and higher dew points (now near 40 in much of southern Minnesota) overnight. Skies are remaining mostly clear (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu).

We have one more sunny and very warm day ahead with a lot more sunshine than the past two days. Readings should climb back into the 70's in much of Minnesota and may even approach 80 degrees in southern Minnesota. The winds won't be as strong as Wednesday and the dew points should be higher, so we may not have red flag warnings today. Still, expect the fire danger to continue to be very high through most of the state.

Major Storm to Bring Rain Beginning Late Saturday

The central Rockies storm (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu) continues to dump snow on Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, and pull Gulf moisture northward (brown indicating dew points in the middle 60's or higher). That fueled several rounds of thunderstorms across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas yesterday. And, the storms continue into the early morning hours with some strong ones in Texas, possibly producing more hail. Severe weather is likely across about the same area today with a higher threat than yesterday.

That storm is still scheduled to drift northward over the next couple of days, which means that the clouds and chance for rain will increase during tomorrow. Scattered showers are possible by late in the day with a general widespread rain moving in tomorrow evening. There are some differences in the computer forecasts as one has reduced the area of rainfall during the second half of Saturday night, while the other persists in dropping rain. I am concerned about the potential for "holes" in the rainfall, which has happened so often over the past three months. So, I'm not sure Minnesota will see the widespread half-inch to inch depicted in this forecast.

The showers will wind down by Sunday morning. Then, we will have a mainly cloudy and cooler day. There could be some more rain showers as the cold front comes through early Sunday morning, but it doesn't look like the rain will be as persistent as Saturday night.

Trailing Low to Bring Cold Instability Showers Second Half of Monday

It's still a double-barreled storm system with the stronger low in the northern stream out in the eastern Pacific right now. That system is forecast to intensify as it pushes along the US-Canadian border, reaching Minnesota by Monday morning. That will help the surface low pressure area intensify as it pushes into the Great Lakes, so we will see strong northwest winds pulling in much cooler air. On top of that, that storm will also carry a bucket of cold air aloft, setting the stage for loads of clouds during Monday and Tuesday, especially during the midday and afternoon. There will be occasional showers and perhaps even a clap of thunder in the middle and late afternoon. Since the showers will continue Monday night, it is quite possible that there will be some snow mixed in with the rain showers. I don't see any threat of accumulation at this point (best chance in the Arrowhead?), but it may be jarring to see.

Much Cooler Next Week

The much colder air will ensure no repeat of today's 70's well into next week. Highs will only be in the lower 50's on Sunday with temperatures in the 40's likely on Monday and only in the upper 40's to near 50 on Tuesday. There will be the potential for several nights colder than freezing next week, especially if we get some clearing, so don't be fooled by the warm weather.

The best news about this storm is the combination of the Saturday night rain and the showers Monday afternoon and night could end up producing half an inch to more than an inch and a half of badly needed precipitation in parts of Minnesota.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota and Wisconsin

This week is warm season severe weather awareness in Minnesota and tornado awareness week in Wisconsin.

Lake Itasca and Leech Lake joined the ice-free club yesterday. A few smaller lakes north of Hwy. 2 and even a couple of Boundary Waters lakes are now ice-free as well (see Minnesota DNR ice out chart)

See Forecast Below

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Friday 4/17: Sunny, warmer, and dry. High fire danger. High: between 72 and 76. Winds: light E early, becoming NW 8-15 MPH in the afternoon. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Friday Night: Partly clear, breezy, and mild. Low: between 42 and 46. Winds: E 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty

Saturday 4/18: Mixed clouds and sun, breezy, and a bit cooler. A chance of an afternoon rain shower. High: between 62 and 66. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Saturday Night: Cloudy with evening rain, tapering to showers late. Breezy. Low: between 48 and 52. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 80%.

Sunday 4/19: Mostly cloudy with spotty showers or drizzle. Breezy and cooler. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Sunday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and colder. Low: between 35 and 40. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Monday 4/20: Maybe a little early sun, then clouding up with occasional rain showers, possibly mixing with snow at times. Blustery and much cooler. High: between 42 and 46. Winds: NW 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 50%.

Monday Night: Chance of evening rain or snow showers, windy, and colder. Low: between 28 and 32. Winds: NW 15-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 30%.

Tuesday 4/21: Cloudy in the morning, some sunny periods in the afternoon, still breezy and cool. High: between 45 and 50. Winds: NW 15-30 MPH. Chance of measurable precipitation: 20%.

For Entertainment Purposes Only.

Tuesday Night: Clearing, less windy, and continued cool. Low: between 25 and 30. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Wednesday 4/22: Sunny, not quite as cool or as breezy. High: between 50 and 55. Winds: NW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.

Extended: Continued colder than average most of next week.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday and Friday night, 6 Saturday and Saturday night, 5 Sunday through Monday, 4 Monday night and Tuesday, 2 Tuesday nigth and Wednesday.

Yesterday's High: 69F; Overnight Low (through 3 AM): 48F
St. Cloud Airport 24-Hour Precipitation: None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 3 AM Friday): None

Normal Temperatures for April 17 - High: 58F; Low: 33F
Next Update: Monday, April 20, 2015 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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