On Friday snow cover at MSP International Airport shrank to a trace. 45 degrees and a third of an inch of rain had something to do with that. According to the National Weather Service, that was the end of 56 straight days with at least an inch of snow on the ground. During an average winter an inch or more of snow is on the ground for 90.3 days, based on NOAA data from 1981-2010. No, it wasn’t a “tough winter.”

30 inches so far this winter at MSP — we’ll see more snow in March, but a higher sun angle and thawing temperatures mean a wetter, sloppier snow with rapid melting.

Wave at the big, moisture-laden storms passing well south of Minnesota this week; more echoes of El Niño. Daytime highs climb to near freezing all week; 40 degrees next Saturday before a Sunday clipper drops an inch or two of slush. We could see 1-2 days in the teens early next week before another rapid thaw. The model solutions for early March look like something I’d expect to see in mid-April.

Meanwhile the strongest cyclone on record in the southern hemisphere just hit Fiji.