With the polar vortex behind them, Minnesotans reemerged into the outdoors Saturday to enjoy the balmy weather.
“Balmy” was strictly a relative term — after temperatures well below zero over the past week, Saturday’s high of 37 sounded almost tropical to many. But as afternoon arrived, dense fog settled over southeastern Minnesota, a prelude to what’s expected to be a mixed bag of weather over the next few days.
Still, the higher temperatures lured people outside.
At the Paradise Car Wash in Eagan, cars were lined up Saturday morning. “For a sunny day in the winter, this is kind of what we hope for,” said owner Ed Buechel.
The car wash was open during the coldest part of last week, but traffic was slow, he said. The full-service shop also vacuums, wipes down the dash, cleans the windows from the inside and wipes down the door jambs. “In the winter, that’s pretty important,” Buechel added.
Tim Gholson of Eagan had just gotten his 2015 Yukon XL Denali washed and was headed home to get his wife’s car. “You’ve got to protect your investment,” he said.
At the High Bridge Dog Park in St. Paul, dogs and their people were enjoying the respite from severe cold. Emilia Mettenbrink of St. Paul said she and her dog, Oliver, visit an off-leash dog area nearly every day — except last week. “He didn’t want to be outside,” Mettenbrink said. “He went two blocks before he turned around.”
The warmth also had a troublesome side. Some plumbers reported that calls about burst pipes continued Saturday, a common problem after a sudden thaw.
“We typically have one plumber on call during the weekends, but we have three today,” said Nicole Gredzens, marketing coordinator and office manager for Plumb Right, based in Fridley.
Plumb Right made 67 service or repair calls from Wednesday through Saturday afternoon, most dealing with frozen or burst pipes, she said.
On Friday, which also brought milder air, the Minneapolis Fire Department reported that it responded to 43 calls about pipes rupturing “due to the deep freeze and subsequent thaw.”
The thaw also opened up potholes, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported Saturday morning that most roads in southeastern Minnesota were frost-covered and slippery as thick fog blanketed the area.
At Groveland Ice Rinks in St. Paul lots of skaters were enjoying hard ice and relatively warmer weather Saturday.
Jim Johnson of St. Paul is one of several volunteers who maintain the ice at the two hockey rinks, general rink, pond hockey rink and 1/6th-mile oval that surrounds them. Volunteers will clean the ice sheets multiple times over the weekend, Johnson said.
Ahead: A wintry mix
Mild weather will linger into the next couple of days, but what accompanies it won’t be so pleasant, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. A dense-fog advisory is in effect for much of southeastern Minnesota, including the south metro, until noon Sunday.
Sunday’s high will be 38, and late in the day, rain and freezing rain, possibly mixed with sleet, will begin to fall, turning into snow and continuing into Monday.
While only an inch or two of snow is expected to accumulate, it could gum up Monday morning’s commute and make for hazardous driving through the day.
Cold will return Monday night. And more snow is possible on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The highs those days won’t rise above the low 20s, the Weather Service said.