Updraft®

Springing into March

Meteorological winter is considered to be the months of December, January and February for record-keeping purposes. Winter 2023-24 was the warmest winter of record for most of Minnesota.

Weather patterns deflected by a strong El Niño kept the cold arctic air bottled up well to our north and the storm systems with major snow tracking far to our south most of the time.

Winter El Niño weather pattern
Winter El Niño weather pattern
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In the Twin Cities, winter was a crazy 10.3 degrees warmer than average. That made it our warmest winter by almost one degree (0.9 degrees for record keepers). Seasonal records rarely get broken so thoroughly. Snowfall since Oct. 1 has been a paltry 14.3 inches.

Thursday’s high temperature of 59 on the last day of February, our bonus leap day, was the 18th 50-degree day in the Twin Cities during the winter months. The previous record for most 50-degree days was just eight, so 18 this past winter was quite remarkable.

Only two of those 50-degree days occurred during the first half of December, when we would have been most likely to have bare ground and an opportunity for unseasonably mild temperatures.

Springlike February

February was certainly wacky. In the Twin Cities, it was 12.7 degrees warmer than normal, easily making it our warmest February of record. Nearly all of the month’s seven inches of snow fell during a single event on Valentine’s Day.

March mildness coming

Friday will be a breezy, springlike day to kick off March. Morning temperatures have been starting out at about where our daily highs should be for all but the chillier northern part of the state.

Sunrise temperatures were in the teens near the Canadian border. High temperatures will be in the 40s in the north, 50s for much of the state, and low to mid-60s in the southwest.

The Twin Cities should flirt with the record high of 59 for this date. Some light smoke from the Texas wildfires is possible, mostly aloft.

Forecast high temperatures for Friday
Forecast high temperatures for Friday
National Weather Service

Saturday will bring warmth to central and southern Minnesota in the form of highs in the 50s central and 60s south. Northwestern Minnesota will have a cooler day with highs in the 30s for spots such as Hallock, Roseau and Baudette.

The Twin Cities should enjoy an afternoon in the low 60s, clobbering the record high of 54 set in 1923.

Forecast high temperatures for Saturday
Forecast high temperatures for Saturday
National Weather Service

Warm and maybe wet Sunday

Sunday will see even warmer air blowing into Minnesota on strong southerly winds. The Twin Cities will likely break the record high of 65 and might reach 70 to become the earliest 70-degree temperature of record.

Forecast high temperatures for Sunday
Forecast high temperatures for Sunday
National Weather Service

That warm air will be drawn into Minnesota ahead of a low-pressure system that will kick off scattered rain on Sunday. The energy should be there for possible thunderstorms in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, but a lack of significant moisture will limit them. Severe weather is not likely.

Forecast weather map for Sunday
Forecast weather map for Sunday
NOAA Weather Prediction Center

Rain and snow Sunday night-Monday

Cooler air on the backside of this low will trigger areas of rain and a little wet snow Sunday night and Monday.

Temperatures will cool early next week, then warm again later in the week. The Twin Cities should have a much cooler, but still warmer-than-average, high in the low or mid-40s on Monday.

Forecast high temperatures for Monday
Forecast high temperatures for Monday
National Weather Service

Extended temperature outlook

Warmer weather should return later next week. The temperature outlook for March 8-14 calls for the strong likelihood of a return of warmer-than-normal temperatures.

Temperature outlook for March 8-14
Temperature outlook for March 8-14
NOAA Climate Prediction Center