Sunday felt a lot like spring, but we haven't escaped the throes of winter yet.
The metro area reached a high of 46 degrees early Sunday morning — an average temperature we normally don't see until late March, said Bill Borghoff, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Chanhassen.
The high fell short of breaking a record of 48 degrees set in 1991. Normal highs this time of year are in the mid-20s, with an average low of 8 degrees. "It's almost a 40-degree swing to where we should be to where we were," he said.
It was so warm that the Ice Castles exhibit in New Brighton — an elaborate display of thousands of icicles — closed on Sunday.
"As a weather-dependent attraction, we must do this from time to time to ensure a fun and safe experience for our guests. We hope to reopen Monday," a spokeswoman said.
All ticket holders for Sunday received a text, an e-mail and an automatic refund along with a coupon to rebook at a discounted price.
Temperatures held steady in the low- to mid-40s Sunday but will fall back to near freezing by the afternoon and eventually level out in the teens by Tuesday.
Windows in the back of Metro Transit buses were cracked Sunday, and gutters and storm drains gurgled and dripped as neighbors shoveled the loosened, melting snow from driveways and sidewalks. Sunshine eased such chores and welcomed outdoor activity with minimal layers — some daring to sport shorts in true Midwestern fashion anytime the mercury rises to 40 degrees.
"If you don't have your window down while you're driving around today, are you even a Minnesotan?" the Chisago County Sheriff's Office tweeted Sunday afternoon.
The unusually pleasant weather convinced Lilian Gallagher, 27, to drive up from Mankato to skateboard in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday evening and again Sunday.
"I did have a jacket on earlier but I got too hot," Gallagher said, adding that she welcomed the warm weather since the past few weeks have been bitter and cloudy.
The warmth is short-lived. Borghoff said the first half of February is going to be near or slightly below normal temperatures.
"Spring is around the corner. It will get here eventually," he said.