Finally — a three-day respite from a frigid winter begins Tuesday.

Twin Cities residents will bask in temperatures that are expected to hit a high of 40 degrees on Tuesday and then hover in the 30s on Wednesday and Thursday. But by Friday, it’s back into the freezer with below normal temperatures after the area gets another shot of snow on Thursday.

“The next few days will be a gift,” said Tony Zaleski, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The metro area dug out from a snowstorm on Monday, when 2 to 6 inches snarled traffic and prompted another round of snow emergencies throughout the Twin Cities area.

The 4.9 inches that fell at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport put the season’s total at 47.1 inches of snow — 8.7 inches above normal, Zaleski said. Another 2 to 3 inches of snow is expected on Thursday with an expected high temperature of 34 degrees, above the normal high of 30 for this time of year, he said.

Temperatures will then slip again, hitting an expected high of only 21 on Friday and falling to a high of 11 on Monday, Zaleski said.

In other words, it will be time to get all the wool and fleece back on.

“The high [temperatures] have been either slightly below or slightly above normal but the lows have been pretty cold,” Zaleski said. “Most of the lows have been way below normal.”

Mary Lynn Smith