MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Temperature swings are taking a toll on our roads and cars, and it’s helping unearth an annual problem for drivers.

“First Avenue, whew, it’s super rough,” said Kyle Long, as he walked his dog along the Minneapolis street that brought his car pain earlier this week.

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A pothole popped his tire off the rim along 1st Avenue near 22nd Street on the city’s south side. Luckily, his repair shop is only a few blocks away.

“I realized when I got there that I was definitely riding on the rim,” he said.

The past month has featured brutally cold days below zero, with sprinkles of warmth pushing above 32 degrees — creating a freeze-thaw cycle that potholes need to thrive.

“This year definitely feels sooner than usual,” Long said.

The reality is the potholes are right on schedule, according to Mike Kennedy, director of transportation, repair and maintenance for Minneapolis Public Works.

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(credit: CBS)

“We’re starting to see some of the potholes pop through on some of the older roads, and it can get kind of bad when they start to pop,” Kennedy said. “But it’s pretty average so far right now.”

When public works crews aren’t plowing snow, they’re out patching the problem, and they’ll be doing so in the days ahead. St. Paul will specifically have two crews focused on that job Thursday.

“Typically they might have five crews working five different service areas around Minneapolis at any one time,” Kennedy said.

However, Kennedy wasn’t sure how many crews would be patching Thursday. They’ll be using the “cold patch,” which is only a temporary fix until the spring season. That’s when temperatures fully melt the snow and ice, revealing the true scope of the damaging nuisance.

Kennedy asks that drivers be patient. Most of the pothole problem emerges at once, meaning crews must prioritize the worst ones first.

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To report potholes in Minneapolis, contact 311. To report them in St. Paul, email potholes@stpaul.gov.

Jeff Wagner