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Taking stock of winter with spring 18 days away

The first week of March may cover the spectrum of weather options, which can be expected as the calendar shifts closer and closer to spring. Spring officially begins in 18 days. Today should bring sun and a high flirting with 30 degrees. After mi...

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Snowfall for February was 3.7 inches. Most of that fell on Feb. 11. The warmest day of the month, Feb. 8, reached a high of 36 degrees. But just three days in February were in the 30s. The normal February highs range from low 20s to 31 degrees at the end of the month. Illustration.

The first week of March may cover the spectrum of weather options, which can be expected as the calendar shifts closer and closer to spring.

Spring officially begins in 18 days.

Today should bring sun and a high flirting with 30 degrees. After midnight, snow of less than one inch is likely. Snowfall may continue before noon Tuesday on a cooler day with a high of 22 degrees and strong winds gusting up to 30 mph.

Below zero temperatures at night aren't in the rearview mirror just yet. By Tuesday night, the low may fall to 7 below zero. A strong breeze and wind gusts will make it feel colder. And Wednesday will be back to sunny but chilly with a high of about 7 degrees and low of 12 below. After giving residents the cold shoulder, volatile March is back to balmy by Friday with partly sunny skies and a high of 35. The normal high for this time of year is 32 degrees.

Cold and not so snowy

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Winter appeared to be off to a jump start during a November that appeared to be confusing itself with January. A normal high for Nov. 28 is 30 degrees. Instead this past Nov. 28 had a high of 9 and a low already dipping below zero. Twenty-four days out of 30 had temperatures colder than average, often by nearly 20 degrees. By month's end, temperatures overall were 8 degrees colder than average.

By Nov. 11, the lakes area had 7 inches of snow on the ground with 5.5 inches falling that day to add to the existing ground cover. The normal snowfall for November is 8.4 inches.

While November was unseasonably chilly, December was warmer than average when it was all said and done. There were 15 days in December to reach 30 degrees or warmer.

The warmest day of the month hit 45 degrees. With four days above 40 or close to it by mid-month, the 4 inches of snow cover remaining from the November snowfall was gone. Total snowfall in December was 1.6 inches compared to the 9.7 inches normally expected.

By January, the maximum snow depth of 2 inches was gone after temperatures spiked to 44 degrees on Jan. 24. and to 42 degrees on Jan. 27.

Cold temperatures were the norm for January for the beginning to the middle of the month with a string of frigid nights. From Jan. 4 to Jan. 16, overnight lows were well below zero, typically in the 12 below to 20 below range. Two days never climbed out of the temperature cellar posting below zero highs.

New snowfall of 0.7 inches fell in January compared to the norm of 9.6 inches.

It was a deficit February wouldn't be able to fix. Snowfall for February was 3.7 inches. Most of that fell on Feb. 11. The warmest day of the month, Feb. 8, reached a high of 36 degrees. But just three days in February were in the 30s. The normal February highs range from low 20s to 31 degrees at the end of the month. There were 20 nights in February with the temperature dropping below zero. The coldest night of the month was 28 below, which was colder than any night in January. The coldest night in January was 21 below zero. The last 17 days of February were all colder than normal and Feb. 23 was more than 30 degrees colder. In Duluth, it was the first February not to reach 28 degrees, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. It was the 10th coldest February to date in International Falls. Wind chill advisories became regular events.

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Record books

The winter of 2015 is making the record books nearly daily for the lack of snowfall and snow depth. As of March 1, the snow depth in Brainerd was 2 inches. One March snowstorm could radically change the numbers but that kind of back-breaking snowfall isn't expected this week.

A storm system developing in Colorado could bring light snow to Minnesota. The National Weather Service in Duluth reported snow accumulation in northeast Minnesota could range from 1-3 inches with more snow falling in Wisconsin.

A normal March means 8.4 inches of snow with another 3.4 inches in April.

On the plus side, after a chilly mid-week, the weekend temperatures will feel springlike with highs in the mid-30s and sunshine.

Related Topics: WEATHER
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