A January heat wave that's smashing records in some parts of Minnesota has some folks switching out their winter woolens for spring khakis.
Temperatures pushed past 60 degrees on Thursday in Marshall, Canby and Madison in western Minnesota, making it the first time a 60-degree day was recorded in Minnesota during the first week of January, according the National Weather Service. And in the Twin Cities, a balmy high of 45 degrees was 2 degrees shy of breaking the previous record of 47 degrees, said Ross Carlyon, meteorological technician at the Weather Service in Chanhassen.
"It's still nice. No one is complaining except for the winter people," Carlyon said. "They bought sleds, and they can't get out on their sleds. And they want to get out on their lake, and they can't get out on their lake."
For many, the un-January-like temps are a welcome respite after last winter's incessant onslaught of cold and snow. Last year, the high was 25 degrees and the low was 3 degrees in the Twin Cities on Jan. 5. The Twin Cities had already recorded 45 inches of snow on the ground and ended the season with 86.6. This year, only 10 inches has fallen.
"After last year, I was ready to pack it up and go to California. I thought, 'I can't take another winter like that,'" said meteorologist Frank Watson, who biked to work on Thursday.
But keep the woolens handy. Temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s early next week will give way to more normal high temperatures in the 20s by midweek and below-normal temps by the end of the week with a high in the teens and low in the single digits, Carlyon said.
MARY LYNN SMITH