By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Thursday, the Twin Cities metro topped 40 degrees. If it happens again tomorrow, it’ll officially be considered a January thaw. Weather experts define that as two days in a row of above freezing.

So how common are January thaws? Good Question.

They happen in about 90 percent of winters, according to the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Connor and Austin Bartz know that well from eight years of creating giant snow sculptures in their New Brighton front yard.

The brothers said that by this weekend, this year’s snail could lose its snow antennas.

“We’ll keep touching it up so people can keep coming to check it out,” said Austin. “It’s kind of what we sign up for.”

The thaws can last up to a week, but are often only two to three days. During a record warm January 2017, one lasted eleven.

“It can happen anytime during the month, but it seems to cluster in the third week of January,” said Pete Boulay, Assistant State Climatologist.

Over the past decade, the Twin Cities metro area has average two thaws each January – as many as four and as few as zero.

Boulay says the number of thaws haven’t changed much over the last half-century, but Januarys are getting warmer. That’s because there are fewer days that dip below zero and the higher overnight temperatures.

Heather Brown


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