The Twin Cities and most of Minnesota will go from frigid to balmy as the region experiences a January thaw.
After bottoming out at 7 below at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Friday morning, the mercury in the metro area is on the way up and will rise into the mid- to upper-30s by the middle of next week and might touch 40 degrees by next weekend, the National Weather Service said.
“We are already starting to warm up,” said meteorologist Eric Ahasic with the weather service in Chanhassen, noting that by 6:30 a.m. Friday temperatures had already warmed 3 degrees from overnight lows. “It will feel nice.”
The near 50-degree change may have winter-weary Minnesotans shedding heavy jackets and hats ever so slowly as temperatures moderate over the next week. After a high of around 10 degrees Friday, the forecast calls for highs in the low 20s on Saturday and Sunday and the low 30s on Monday and Tuesday. By next weekend, the mercury may hit 40 degrees, Ahasic said.
“Every day we will get warmer,” he said.
The changing weather pattern comes after the mercury dropped to 39 below early Friday in International Falls, 36 below in Big Fork, 35 below in Crane Lake and 33 below in Ely and Baudette. The jet stream that has been dipping sharply to the south, ushering in the arctic conditions in Minnesota and an ice storm in the central plains this weekend, will bend back to the north, bringing a January thaw that will last right through the end of the month, Ahasic said.
“It’s not too out of the ordinary to see temperatures in the 30s and 40s in January,” he said, noting that temperature extremes are common in the winter when the jet stream is at its strongest. “We saw this in December. After it was minus 20, it was above freezing two days later.”
Of course, this being Minnesota in the winter, there’s a dollop of bad news to mix in with the good.
The warmup will bring a chance of snow and freezing rain on Saturday night and Monday, turning to all snow on Monday night and Tuesday. Sunny conditions will prevail Wednesday and Thursday, the weather service said.
The long-range forecast calls for average to above average temperatures into early February.