Snow is expected to return to the Twin Cities area Monday night. If that inspires you to engage in some traditional outdoor fun, your opportunities are fading fast.
Fish houses must be pulled from the ice by midnight Monday in the lower two-thirds of Minnesota.
Ice rinks are in various stages of shutdown in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Warming houses are closed in Minneapolis as of Sunday night, and flooding and maintenance has been discontinued at all but the refrigerated rinks in St. Paul.
“Based on current weather forecasts, the skating season is quickly coming to an end,” St. Paul parks spokesman Brad Meyer said Sunday.
But snow is back, or at least expected to be. A Sunday National Weather Service forecast predicts up to 3 inches between mid-evening Monday and 6 p.m. Tuesday, and Paul Douglas predicts 2 to 4 inches.
It’s been a while. Tony Zaleski, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, said “the last time we had anything like this” was when 3 inches fell at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Jan. 8.
The heaviest snowfall, perhaps up to 2 inches, is expected between 6 a.m. and noon Tuesday, Zaleski said.
Temperatures through the week will remain below freezing, with daytime highs in the teens and 20s, and some subzero temps for lows.
At the state Department of Natural Resources, officials say dark houses, fish houses and portables must be removed by 11:59 p.m. Monday in the southern part of the state and by 11:59 p.m. March 16 in the northern one-third.
Enforcement action will be taken if shelters remain after the deadlines, the DNR said last week.
People still can skate outdoors in the cities, but in the case of St. Paul, “if the ice becomes choppy and slushy, we’ll then restrict access,” Meyer said.
In Minneapolis, Ronnie Morgan, an administrative assistant at McRae Park, had hoped its warming house could remain open for one more week. But Sunday marked the end of the season for the warming area at Lake of the Isles, and an employee there who declined to give her name said there was a good turnout on the final day and night.
She was heard to say, “See you guys next year,” before hanging up the phone.