A couple of months ago I went out on a tenuous limb and predicted "half a winter" for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Studying the maps and models I stand by my (reckless) outlook.

Despite a La Niña cool phase in the Pacific (which often produces colder winters here), unusually strong jet stream winds are blowing more from Seattle than the Yukon. Bitter air is trapped to our north; just small burps of chilly air are reaching the United States.

Follow the trends: According to NOAA January is the sixth warmest on record at MSP, to date. This is the 11th warmest meteorological winter (since Dec. 1) on record.

A quick coating of snow is possible today, with more significant accumulations possible Saturday night into Sunday.

Sustained polar cold? I don't see it — at least not yet. ECMWF shows two to three colder-than-average days over the next 10 days. NOAA's GFS model predicts another thaw as we sail into February.

We've picked up 31 minutes of daylight since Dec. 21.