Local Forecast

Friday, May 6, 2016 4:15 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


Fast Forward to Summer..For a Day
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After a relatively cool start with temperatures in the 30's, readings jumped into the 80's in much of Minnesota yesterday afternoon (see NWS: Last 72 hours of St. Cloud Observations). There were even a few 90's (see 3-day loop of NWS/University at Albany high temperature maps) with Roseau reaching 93 degrees, Baudette, Thief River Falls, and Warroad getting to 91, and Fosston reaching 90. There were even more 90's in the Dakotas and the Canadian Prairie Provinces.

Thanks to a persistent southwest wind overnight, temperatures have remained mostly in the 60's into the early morning hours (see NWS Aviation Center Minnesota map). The relatively warm start sets us up for an even warmer day today. Highs will likely climb into the 90's in western Minnesota, especially to the north of the Buffalo Ridge and into the Minnesota River Valley. In central Minnesota, we have a good shot at 90 degrees, which would be enough to break St. Cloud's May 6 record warm high of 87 degrees.

Dry, Breezy Heat to Bring Fire Problems

The one drawback to the hot and breezy weather will be the high fire danger. The air will continue to be very dry, and strong southwest winds at 15-25 MPH will be able to spread any fire quickly. There's a red flag warning, the highest level of fire danger, for most of central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities and St. Cloud, into both northwestern Minnesota and the Red River Valley. There are also red flag warnings in northwestern Wisconsin with a fire weather watch across most of the rest of Minnesota, except for the Lake Superior shore.

After today, we will return to more seasonable May weather over the weekend. The cold front in southern Saskatchewan (see NWS WPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) will push southeastward, coming through central Minnesota early this evening. There are a lot of high and middle clouds with this front (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu), but the dry air near the ground has kept the few rain showers to a minimum and mostly across Alberta and Saskatchewan (see Environment Canada Prairie Provinces radar loop and NWS Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop). The big change will be the return to more seasonable temperatures with highs in the upper 60's to lower 70's through the weekend.

Today's high fire danger could be helped by getting some substantial rain. Since we lost the snow pack, St. Cloud has had 3.24 inches of rain, more than an inch and a quarter below average. We've had enough to green up the grass, but could use some more.

Our chance for more rain lies with the strong storm system that pushed into the Rockies yesterday (see infrared loop from College of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). This storm will spend the weekend drifting across the Rockies, potentially triggering showers and thunderstorms in the Plains early next week. Depending on the path of the system, Minnesota could see some showers and thunderstorms along the cooler side of the system. Since this system may interact with another storm due to hit the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, the forecast into early next week is shaky. I have put clouds and at least the chance of rain showers into Tuesday's forecast, but we'll see.

In the meantime, April was St. Cloud's first near average temperature month since last August. However, the October 2015-April 2016 period was the second warmest in St. Cloud records. This cold season is on track to have the fewest days with a low of freezing or colder and the 9th fewest days with a high of freezing or colder. You can see more details in the April 2016 St. Cloud weather summary.

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Confidence Level: "I Will Still Have Dandruff Tomorrow"

Friday 5/6: Sunny, breezy, and summer-like. Red flag warning for extreme fire danger. A slight chance of a late day shower. High: between 87 and 92 (record warm high: 87 in 1918 and 2000). Winds: SW 15-25 MPH, shifting to NW late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Friday Night: A slight chance of an evening shower, then partly cloudy, breezy, and not quite as mild. Low: between 48 and 53. Winds: N 10-25 MPH evening, diminishing to 5-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Saturday 5/7: Sunny, and breezy, but not as warm. High: between 65 and 70. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, diminishing wind, and a shade cooler. Low: between 42 and 46. Winds: light NE. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday 5/8: Sunny, breezy, and seasonably warm. High: between 70 and 75. Winds: E 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Sunday Night: Partly to mostly cloudy, breezy, and milder. Low: between 50 and 55. Winds: SE 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 10%.

Confidence Level: "A Squirrel Will Squawk At Me" (they really hate me...)

Monday 5/9: Cloudy with a slight chance of a rain shower, breezy, and cooler. High: between 60 and 65. Winds: SE 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 20%.

Confidence Level: "The Cat Will Not Sit on My Grading"

Monday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and cool. A better chance of late night showers or thunderstorms. Low: between 50 and 55. Winds: E 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 40%.

Tuesday 5/10: Cloudy, breezy, and cooler. A good chance of showers and thunderstorms. High: between 55 and 60. Winds: E 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable rainfall: 60%.

Extended: More rain chances into the middle of next week. Relatively cool with highs near 60.

Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Friday, 7 Friday night and Saturday, 6 Saturday night through Sunday night, 4 Monday, 3 Monday night and Tuesday.

Yesterday's High: 81F; Overnight Low (through 4 AM): 62F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 4 AM Friday): None; SCSU Precipitation (through 4 AM Friday): None

Normal Temperatures for May 6 - High: 66F; Low: 41F
Next Update: Monday, May 9, 2016 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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