We know, we know: It's probably too early to start talking about it, but after an especially frigid February, last weekend's mild sun got us daydreaming about spring.
Is Minnesota primed for an early thaw, like the outrageous March of 2012, when it was 80 degrees on St. Patrick's Day? Or are we looking at another six weeks of barren white winter?
"Oh yeah, there's hope on the horizon," says Jeff Masters with Weather Underground. "Our models are showing a possibility, anyway, of real spring-like conditions as early as March 9-14."
Spring-like conditions, eh? What does that mean, exactly?
"We're talking temperatures in the 30s and 40s and maybe some rain," Masters responds. "Hey, temperatures in the 30s are spring-like for this climate."
Bob Smerbeck, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, echoed that cautiously optimistic sentiment.
"This spring will be warmer than last spring, for sure," he says. "I think we gotta deal with the cold through at least the next week... But once we get beyond Friday or so, we're seeing a shift in the pattern where the Arctic air will have more of a glancing blow."
So hang in there, everyone. It sounds like relief is in sight, though Dan Luna with the National Weather Service warned March still very much resides in winter's domain.
"In terms of spring coming, March is anything but a spring month at this latitude in Minnesota," he says. "We've been spoiled in many years past, maybe not the last two or three, but overall I wouldn't look for a very warm March."
In fact, all of the meteorologists we contacted hedged their cautious optimism with frank reminders about Minnesota's arctic climate and the folly of long-range forecasting.
"When it comes to long-range forecasting, I often just say gimme some dice," says Masters.
Minnesota's climate "is what it is," adds Luna. "We're still in that long stretch of the year where it's going to be cold."
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