Tuesday, March 3, 2015 2:30 PM
Prepared by Bob Weisman
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Saint Cloud State University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud and Vicinity Forecast
Blizzard Downgraded to Buster Bar
"Storm of the Year" Produces 2-6 Inches
The snow tapered off by mid-morning and has pushed off to the east (see infrared loop from College
of DuPage Satellite and Radar Menu). The heaviest snow fell where it got an early start around 2 AM. Alexandria had 6.5 inches, Glenwood had 6 inches, Morris 5.5 inches, Brainerd 5.3 inches, Duluth, Hillman and Fort Ripley 5 inches, Long Prairie 4.8 inches, Sauk Centre 4.5 inches, and St. Augusta and Little Falls 3 inches. I haven't seen an update from the St. Cloud Prison, but I've measured 2.3 inches at SCSU. All the total has to be is more than 1.7 inches and it would be St. Cloud's biggest snowfall of the year.
In the aftermath of the storm, the cold front has gone by (see NWS
HPC Latest North American zoom-in surface map) and the strong northwest winds have kicked in. Winds are commonly 20-30 MPH with gusts over 40 MPH in west central and south central Minnesota on the NWS
Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up. However, there are very few reporting stations showing visibility of a quarter mile or less (see NWS
Aviation Center Minnesota map). There just isn't enough snow to cause widespread low visibility except in the area of the most snow around Morris and Alexandria. The National Weather Service has cut back the blizzard warning to 7 counties in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. There is still a winter weather advisory for the blowing snow with reduced visibility in spots and icy spots where the snow blows across roads. You can follow the road conditions on the MnDOT road conditions site.
Cold and Wind the Problem Late Tonight
Temperatures will drop to the minus single digits by Wednesday morning. That means wind chills in the minus 20s to near -30 on the NWS
wind chill chart. I expect that, when the winter weather advisory ends this evening, the National Weather Service will issue a wind chill advisory from late tonight until late tomorrow morning. Highs will only recover to around 5 degrees. So, we have a shot at the March 4 record cold high of 8 degrees, set in 1917 and 2003. The winds will ease up on Wednesday night, but that would allow low temperatures to plunge well down into the minus teens with a few -20s not far to our north. It would take at least a low of -17 to get into record cold territory Thursday morning, but we could be close. Thursday will feel better after the cold start, since winds will remain light and the sun will be out. So, a high of 10 degrees will be more comfortable, even though it will be close to the March 5 record cold high of 7 degrees, set in 1943.
Actual Average Early March Temperatures (30's) Over the Weekend?
Temperatures will moderate quite a bit beginning Thursday night with those less cold conditions continuing into the weekend. Temperatures will stay between 5 and 10 Thursday night with a few flurries. Highs will finally climb into the 30's on Friday for the first time since February 9. That's where temperatures are supposed to be in early March. Seasonably warm temperatures will continue through the weekend and into early next week.
For a change, there doesn't seem to be any reinforcing cold air masses on tap through the first part of next week. There is some hope that even milder air could push into the Northern Plains for the middle and second half of next week.
The St. Cloud February and Winter 2014-2015 weather summary shows that this has been a relatively snowless winter, since our big November snowstorm (surprise!). The Dec-Feb snowfall total was 9.2 inches, the 6th lowest total in St. Cloud records and the lowest in over 50 years. February was definitely cold, but not nearly as cold as last February. There is a big comparison between the weather of the past two winters and this winter (so far). I still have a few more statistics to update, but most of it is done.
See Forecast Below
Wind Chill Advisory Midnight to 9 AM Wednesday
Rest of Tuesday 3/3: Sunny, windy, and colder. Low visibility and icy roads in spots due to blowing snow. Temperatures slowly falling from the middle 20's to the teens by sunset. Winds: NW 20-30 MPH with higher gusts. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Tuesday Night: Clear, windy, and much colder with bitter wind chills. Low: between -6 and -2. Winds: WNW 15-30 MPH evening, 10-20 MPH late. Wind chills: in the minus 20s to near -30. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Wednesday 3/4: Sunny and breezy with the return of ridiculous cold. High: between 2 and 7. (record cold high: 8 in 1917 and 2003) Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Wind chills: in the minus 20s to near -30 in the morning, between -25 and -10 in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
End of "Reasonable" Forecast Certainty
Wednesday Night: Clear with diminishing wind and much colder. Low: between -18 and -13. (record cold low: -17 in 2003) Winds: W 5 MPH. Spotty wind chills between -35 and -20. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Thursday 3/5: Sunshine through high clouds and not quite as ridiculously cold. High: between 10 and 15. (record cold high: 7 in 1943) Winds: SW 8-15 MPH in the afternoon. Afternoon wind chill between -15 and -5. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Thursday Night: Clouding up and not as cold. Low: between 3 and 8. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Friday 3/6: Partly sunny, breezy, and actually seasonable. High: between 32 and 37. Winds: W 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
For Entertainment Purposes Only.
Friday Night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries. Low: between 20 and 25. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH, becoming NW 8-15 MPH late. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.
Saturday 3/7: Partly sunny, breezy, and still seasonable. High: between 32 and 37. Winds: WNW 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Saturday Night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow or flurries. Low: between 17 and 22. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Sunday 3/8: Mixed clouds and sun, breezy, and continued seasonable. High: between 35 and 40. Winds: SW 5-15 MPH, shifting to NW in the afternoon. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Extended: Becoming even milder next week. 40's? 50's? We'll see.
Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will
cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 7 Thursday through Sunday, 6 Sunday night and Monday, 5 Monday night and Tuesday, 4 Wednesday, 3 Thursday and Friday.
Yesterday's High: 27°F; Overnight Low (through 2 AM): 21°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation: None; SCSU Precipitation (Through 1 AM Tuesday): 0.12 inch/2.3 inches snow
Normal Temperatures for March 3 - High: 33°F;
Next Update: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:00 AM (or as needed)
Ground and Air Travel
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.