Cruising to a record

Temperatures higher than average for this time of year

Only the breeze was cold Friday morning as Peggy Sundell puts out the “open” flag for New Ulm’s Own Fair Trade store. Sundell said she appreciated the warm weather this winter because she did not need to worry about slipping on ice.

NEW ULM – Unusually warm weather is expected for the weekend, which could clinch a winter temperature record.

Temperatures Friday reached a high of 39 degrees. This was the coldest high reported in the last five days and it was still higher than average for late February. All week New Ulm experienced temperatures in the mid-40s. Friday saw the only dip in temperature, but the weather is forecast to rise through the weekend to reach 60 degrees Monday.

“We’re pretty sure to have the highest winters temperature on meteorological record,” said National Weather Service (NWS) Meteorologist Melissa Dye.

NWS uses temperatures from December through February to determine average winter temperatures. The current record for warmest average winter in south central Minnesota is 29 degrees. This record was set in the winter of 1877-1878. This winter is tracking to have average temperature of 30 degrees.

Dye said with 60 degree temperatures forecasted for Monday, it is a safe bet a new record will be set this winter.

A fishing boat motors past the Minncon landing. With temperature above freezing for most of the week, the Minnesota River is mostly clear of ice. Only thin crust of ice remains on the river shore.

Why is this winter so much warmer.

“El Nino is a lot of the reason,” Dye said. The El Nino can result in warmer and dryer winters. Over the past year, south central Minnesota experienced relatively dry weather.

“We had a few wet months in September and October, but it has been on the dryer side,” Dye said.

Another factor is this warm winter are the nightly lows. During warm winters, it is easy to focus on the high temperatures, but the low temperatures are also higher than average. Dye said this winter’s low temperature have sometimes been higher than the average high temperature.

“We’re probably going to set a record for highest low temperature on Monday going into Tuesday,” Dye said.

Temperatures will drop again Tuesday and Wednesday, but will climb back into the 60s for the first weekend in March. The Climate Prediction Center forecasted warmer than average temperature going through the first weeks of March.

“It is safe to say we will be higher than normal,” Dye said.

Though it will remain warm going into March, the dry spell is expected to end. NWS is forecasting a high probability of precipitation by mid March, though it is too soon to say whether it will fall as rain or snow.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today