“Pale January lay in its cradle day by day, dead or living, hard to say,” wrote the poet Alfred Austin. January is the reason Minnesota doesn’t have a population of 20 million, which is probably a good thing. Long shadows, numbing nights, a windchill capable of making a grown man cry; January is an acquired taste.

On the other hand the mosquito count is down, and the weeds in my yard are hibernating. Historical data shows the coldest weather of the entire year is 1-2 weeks away, on average. That won’t be hard to believe next week, possibly the coldest of 2016.

The sun stays out much of today and Monday as temperatures cool down to average; expect a late-week thaw with a chance of some wet snow by Friday and Saturday. Nuisance amounts are possible — this doesn’t look like The Big One.

A hunk of polar air breaks off and pinwheels across the Midwest next week. Daytime highs may hold in single digits with two to four nights below zero.

Unlike previous winters I don’t see a prolonged push of polar pain, just a few days of nicely numb.