Minnesotans got an early taste of summer Tuesday, as temperatures hit the 80s for the first time following a long, gloomy winter that was the third-snowiest on record.
At Minneapolis' Gold Medal Park, 28-year-old climbing coach Xavier Abdullahi was basking in the sunlight while lounging on an inflatable sofa, joined by fellow climber Simon Hibbeler. Abdullahi, a Minneapolis native, said he was joyous about the sudden departure from winter, after going through a snowstorm a week and a half ago.
"Simon saw last week how down I was, and that now being outside just puts a smile on my face," said Abdullahi, lying in the downtown park along the Mississippi River. "It feels like the longest winter I've experienced."
Tuesday saw the first 80-degree weather in the Twin Cities since Oct. 11, according to the National Weather Service. The rest of the week is expected to stay warm in the metro area, with highs in the low 80s Wednesday and Thursday, and around 77 on Friday, forecasts show.
Hundreds of others also took advantage of the weather, lying on blankets at grassy parks along the river, taking walks with their dogs and clambering along the rocks near the riverbank.
Hibbeler, a nationally ranked climber, moved to Minneapolis six weeks ago from Portland, Ore. He said he has no issue with long winters, noting he's a self-described gym rat who doesn't mind being stuck inside.
"I don't dislike Midwest winters. I like the seasons to feel like the seasons," Hibbeler said. "If it's Christmas and there's no snow, I'm like, 'This is lame.' "
The change of weather comes as a relief to many dog owners. Darcy Cascaes of Minneapolis, who was walking over the Stone Arch Bridge on Tuesday with her dog Jaz, said it's a challenge to get her pet outside during the cold months for a walk.
"She loves to be outside when it's hot, but is not a fan of the snow, so it's challenging," Cascaes said of Jaz, a Jack Russell and rat terrier mix.
The weather made for good conditions for one couple's marriage proposal halfway across the bridge, as dozens ran or bicycled past.
Temperatures are expected to cool down Friday night and over the weekend, with highs around 50 on Saturday and the upper 40s on Sunday in the Twin Cities metro, said Weather Service meteorologist Bill Borghoff.
While there is a chance for a small amount of snow over the weekend, he said it's unlikely there will be more snow in April after that.
"After we get beyond this weekend, it's tough to see much more snow unless we get a big-time pattern change," Borghoff said.
The weather was beneficial in St. Paul for road crews ramping up their efforts to patch potholes, according St. Paul Public Works spokeswoman Lisa Hiebert.
But 18-year-old Nathan Amare said there are pros and cons to summer, such as the "oppressive" temperatures that get amplified in concrete-covered areas of the city.
"It can make it unbearable, like you almost can't breathe when it's too hot," he said.
Amare was positive, though, about the calming effect he thinks the warm weather has on people.
"You ever see salamanders or lizards chilling out in the sun? It feels far more calming being outside," he said.