During a recent Q&A at St. John's University, Gary Eichten asked me, "Is it really so bad that Minnesota winters are a little warmer?" My personal opinion: I can live with that.

There is a silver lining to climate change: fewer hours below zero, longer autumns and growing seasons; earlier springs. Winter is losing some of its bite. Will it compensate for intense summer rains, more pests, more weather whiplash, from floods to droughts? I doubt it.

Meteorological spring arrives March 1. The coldest 90-day period of the year ends in about 12 days, and gazing at the maps and models, that isn't hard to believe.

Temperatures approach 50 on Friday with rain showers — weather typical for late March. Forties linger into Sunday, and after a puff of cooler air, return late next week.

NOAA's CFS (Climate Forecast System) model shows March temperature anomalies 10 degrees warmer than average across Minnesota. Winter is winding down rapidly — the pattern favors a fast-forward spring.