Tuesday, December 6, 2016 5:30 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
How Low Can We Go Without Snow
Teens for the Second Half of This Week
The cold front just passed through central Minnesota in the early morning hours (see 24-hour loop of NWS WPC US surface maps). With the low pressure system drifting into northwestern Minnesota, however, the colder air has to take the scenic route around the western and southern flanks of the low. In the early morning hours, temperatures were falling through the 20's in west central and central Minnesota (see UCAR
Minnesota surface chart), but there are teens upwind of us in central and eastern South Dakota. Note also that the winds have cranked up to speeds of 20-25 MPH with gusts of 35-45 MPH. Those winds are working their way into west central Minnesota and will move in here by sunrise (see latest winds and gusts on the NWS
Minnesota Hourly Weather Round-Up).
The bulk of the snow has remained over North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota (see NWS
Upper Mississippi Valley radar loop), with Grand Forks receiving nearly 9 inches of new snow by 2 AM. All of that snow, combined with the increasing winds, has led the National Weather Service to issue a blizzard warning from most of North Dakota into the Red River Valley portion of northwestern Minnesota. Expect major travel problems today in northwestern Minnesota (see MnDOT Minnesota road conditions) and all of North Dakota (I-94 is already closed from Jamestown to Dickinson with no travel advised in the western two-thirds of the state). There is a winter weather advisory from Stearns County westward for areas of limited visibility in periods of falling and blowing snow.
As the upper air low comes through Minnesota today, we could see some occasional light snow or flurries, but the main snow band between Devils Lake and the Red River Valley will stay well to our north. We might pick up a light coating of snow. The main problem will be low visibility due to blowing snow during any snow shower. Temperatures are going to stay in the 20's during the day.
The winds will ease up a little on Thursday, blowing at 10-20 MPH. We will have a lot of clouds, but could see some sunny periods as well. Highs will remain near 20 on Thursday. The winds will ease off enough to allow a partly clear and calm night Thursday night. We may not get below zero without much snow cover, but we should see lows in the single digits to near zero for this first time this season. The lighter winds will make Friday's highs in the teens feel a bit more comfortable than the next 2 days.
We will remain in the leftover cold air through the weekend, but there is a chance for some light snow or flurries as a weak storm system slides along the front to our south. We could see a little bit of light snow on Friday night into Saturday, then there is a potentially stronger storm due to move to our south for Saturday into Saturday night. That system could spread more significant snow (3-6 inches?) across southern and perhaps central Minnesota late Saturday and Saturday night.
Cold Weather Safety
You may want to review the winter safety checklists in the National Weather Service cold weather safety page. Even though the temperatures and wind chills won't reach dangerous levels, this would be a good time to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the colder season. It certainly won't be comfortable to get stuck in the coming weather.
Again, travel will be difficult if not impossible from the Red River Valley into North Dakota today (see MnDOT Minnesota road conditions).
Confidence Level: "It Will Be Cloudy Today"
Tuesday 12/6: Cloudy, windy, and colder. Some light snow or flurries possible. Between a dusting and an inch possible. Temperatures holding in the low to middle 20's. Winds: SW 15-30 MPH. Wind chill by morning: between 5 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and even colder. Some occasional flurries possible. Low: between 15 and 20. Winds: W 15-30 MPH. Wind chill: between 5 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.
Wednesday 12/7: Cloudy, breezy, and colder. A few flurries possible. High: between 18 and 22. Winds: WNW 15-25 MPH. Wind chill: between 0 and 15. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%
Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and continued cold. Maybe a flurry or some light snow. Low: between 12 and 16. Winds: NW 10-25 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%.
Thursday 12/8: Cloudy, not quite as windy, and still cold. High: between 17 and 22. Winds: NW 10-20 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 20%
Confidence Level: "It Will Be Cloudy Most of the Week"
Thursday Night: Partly clear, diminishing winds, and colder. Low: between 0 and +5. Winds: NW 5 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%.
Friday 12/9: Partly sunny, light winds, and continued January-like. High: between 14 and 18. Winds: SW 5-10 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 10%
Confidence Level: "A Cloud Will Remain Over My Head for the Next Year"
Friday Night: Cloudy, breezy, and cold with a chance of light snow or flurries. Temperatures holding in the teens. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 30%.
Saturday 12/10: Partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of flurries. A steadier snow is possible by late in the day. High: between 18 and 23. Winds: SE 8-15 MPH. Chance of measurable snowfall: 50%
Extended: More snow Saturday night into Sunday???
Forecast Confidence (10 - "Know what gas will
cost next week, Bob?"; 0 - "Been a victim of road rage lately, Bob?"): 8 Tuesday and Tuesday night, 7 Wednesday and Wednesday night, 6 Thursday, 5 Thursday night and Friday, 3 Friday night and Saturday.
Yesterday's High: 37°F; Overnight Low (through 5 AM): 23°F
St. Cloud Airport Precipitation (through 3 AM Tuesday): 0.02 inch/Trace snow; SCSU Precipitation (through 3 AM Tuesday): TBA
Normal Temperatures for December 6 - High: 28°F;
Next Update: Wednesday, December 7 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 Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department home page.