I'm starting to wonder if this may evolve into a rare Goldilocks winter: cold enough for snow most of the time, but without the shuddering, gasp-worthy blasts of bitter air, still reeking of the polar regions.

Perspective is in order. The next few weeks are, historically, the coldest of the year for Minnesota. Looking at past data, the coldest day at MSP is about Jan. 17. That doesn't mean we can't get subzero temperatures into March, but the severity and duration of Arctic chill peaks in January.

Weather models continue to show a remarkably persistent flow from the Pacific, with the coldest Siberian air swirling well to our north the next few weeks. I don't see anything subzero for the metro looking out two weeks. Will we dodge a bitter bullet this winter? It is too early to say with any confidence, but at this point I'd wager a stale State Fair corn dog that this will be a milder winter for Minnesota.

The maps look pretty dry and quiet, with a January thaw breaking out next week.