So here we are, a week before the winter solstice, enjoying a mixed bag of rain, sleet and wet snow. We shouldn't be surprised.

Dr. Mark Seeley has documented a fourfold increase in midwinter rain and ice since 2000. We're still seeing cold fronts and snowstorms, but the volume and duration of bitter air, the sustained hours below zero, has steadily decreased since the 1970s. It's not getting as cold — or staying as (consistently) bitter as it did for your parents and grandparents. It's hard finding anyone upset by the prospect of less pain, but the result may be more slop-storms like today.

Today we're right on the rain/snow line; a warm layer aloft may refreeze raindrops into sleet (ice pellets), or even an inch of mushy slush.

A second storm Wednesday may drop another inch of snow; more over central and western Minnesota. A cosmetic coating of snow is possible here by late week with highs stuck in the 20s — a windchill dipping to 5. You know, December.

We warm up to 40 by Sunday; 30s linger into Christmas.