MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The calendar officially switches over to spring on Wednesday, but the temperatures outside tell a very different tale.

The state is much closer to its record cold high temperature for March 20 — 12 degrees in 1951 — than it is to the average high of 43 degrees.

In fact, the last time it was colder than it is today on the first day of spring, it was 1965 and the ice on Lake Minnetonka lasted until May 1. However, on the whole, March 2013 has been warmer than March 1965.

“There has only been one above-average high temperature in the metro since Feb. 27, so this is part of a longer trend,” WCCO weather director Mike Augustyniak said. “Around the time the groundhog was predicting an early spring, a global weather pattern called the Arctic Oscillation allowed a big pool of arctic air to drain into the northern U.S.”

Oh, and March has already seen 14 inches of new snow. That covers up the ice on the lakes and before the lakes can melt, the snow must first.

Augustyniak said the global weather patterns evolve and change over a period of weeks or months, not days, so anyone expecting winter to change into spring like the flick of a switch is in for a rude awakening.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for a winter many Minnesotans would say has overstayed its welcome.

“The good news for people looking for real spring is that the arctic air should retreat back into Canada at the end of March or early April,” Augustyniak said.

For the next few weeks, though, keep the firewood handy and try not to throw it at any groundhogs nearby.


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