For downtown Minneapolis valet Edgar Urgiles, Wednesday’s 60-something temperatures were literally a breath of fresh air. Wearing a lightweight sweater, he was already daydreaming about pulling his bike off the rack.
“It’s gorgeous, buddy, it’s gorgeous,” said Urgiles, who works at the Westin Hotel. “Literally, 80 percent of my time I’ve been outside.”
Winter-weary Minnesotans eagerly embraced a warm-up into the high 60s Wednesday for the first time in nearly half a year, though the respite might be brief.
Evidence of spring busting out all over the Twin Cities included bumper-to-bumper food trucks parked curbside and some bike racks nearing capacity in downtown Minneapolis. Residents and commuters stepped outside the skyways to grab lunch or simply enjoy the mild temps.
Jake Haehnel and Alex Carter, strolling downtown, said the nice weather took them by surprise. “I thought it was going to be a brutal winter that skipped over spring again,” Carter said.
Sara Baldwin, Chelsea Knutson and Ashley Probst, all public defenders from Minneapolis, waited for lunch at a food truck downtown while reveling in the nice weather. The best part, Baldwin said, was not having to take the skyways everywhere.
“It’s nice to feel the sun,” she said.
The weather also has also made commuting easier, Knutson said. “I always take the bus to work,” she said. “I’m finally not waiting for it in the darkness.”
At the University of Minnesota, students in shorts and light jackets paraded around campus, enjoying the sudden burst of warmth.
“Spring semester starts out sad because of the weather,” said Sydney Warch, a freshman from St. Paul who was studying finance outside in shorts and a sleeveless top. “I think everyone’s a lot happier today. It’s nice to see everyone out walking to class.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) had forecast a late afternoon high of 66, making it the first time in five months the Twin Cities would crack 60.
By early afternoon, that elusive 60 was officially recorded. However, strong winds undercut the warmth sun-lovers were feeling on their newly exposed skin, NWS meteorologist Alexandra Keclik said.
And if the chill wasn’t enough to undermine spring spirits, the NWS was anticipating the warming trend to be teasingly brief. For anyone brave enough to peek into next week, a four-letter word — snow — has a “slight chance” of becoming reality, the NWS said.
Aaron Clark, who was peeling an orange for lunch on Nicollet Mall, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Mother Nature played a trick on Minnesota.
“I sure hope [winter’s] gone, but you never know,” he said.
Keclik forecast a cold front for later Wednesday, with temperatures dropping back into the 30s by evening. From there, the NWS is calling for a high near 50 on Thursday, when the Twins play their home opener, and nothing warmer than the 40s through the weekend.
In the meantime, people were anxious to grab what they could of the mild weather.
Sachchit Murali, a senior at the U studying computer science and math, played Ultimate Frisbee with friends on the campus mall. As captain of an Ultimate Frisbee club team, he said he’s been telling his teammates to go outside.
“We’ve gotten out a lot since the start of the week. About seven to 10 guys have been out every day, throwing in the mall between classes,” Murali said. “We encourage our guys to come outside and practice in the wind because we’ve been practicing inside all winter. Today is the perfect day for that.”
Sitting outside a downtown coffee shop, Minneapolis accountant Kyle Hart worked on his laptop.
“It’s my first day of spring sitting outside,” he said. “Hopefully it’s not the last.”
Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this story. David Mullen and Isabella Murray are University of Minnesota students on assignment for the Star Tribune.