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September 20, 2014

Snowman in July: Reminders of harsh winter still linger

Do you want to build a snowman?

ABC 6 Meteorologist Chris Kuball built one Tuesday – a sad, dirty little thing, but still a snowman – in July.

He used snow from a snow pile at Marcusen Park in Austin, Minnesota. There’s still a 4-foot by 5-foot by 50-foot pile there, which is a dumping site for snow in the area.

Here’s a look at the snow pile on July 5:

Kuball measured the pile of snow of last month also. On June 23, it was 10 feet tall, 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. He tweeted out a photo of last month’s snow pile compared to the mountain of snow that was there in February:

Kuball told BringMeTheNews via Twitter last month that the snow piles usually melt away by the end of June. How fast snow piles melt depends on how much snow there is and how warm the spring is.

For some comparison: In 2011, a giant snow pile that reached the top of the light posts in the Sears parking lot in St. Paul melted by June 8.

Harsh winter

The snow pile in Austin isn’t the only reminder of Minnesota’s record-breaking winter. St. Louis County in northern Minnesota is already looking ahead to next winter’s icy roads.

The St. Louis County Board gave preliminary approval to buy next winter’s road salt Tuesday. The county plans to buy up to $1.4 million worth of road salt, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

County officials figure they will use about 33.3 million pounds of salt next winter, as the county attempts to curb its salt usage and increase its use of pre-treatment brine before snowstorms, the newspaper adds.

“The good news is we got through that record-book winter without going over budget and still managing to reduce our salt use,’’ Jim Foldesi, St. Louis County public works director, told the Duluth News Tribune on Tuesday. “The money we’ve invested in calibration (technology) is paying off now in savings on salt.”

The salt is expected to arrive in Duluth by boat in the next few weeks, then it’ll be trucked to the county’s highway garages, the newspaper says.

This week: Summery

That’s enough winter for now – it’s expected to be another beautiful summer day Wednesday with temperatures in the high 70s for much of central and southern Minnesota.

It’s expected to be slightly cooler in northern Minnesota, with high temperatures topping out at about 70 degrees, the National Weather Service says.

Dry weather is expected to continue through Thursday, but Thursday night into Friday morning there’s a chance for some spotty thundershowers, KARE 11 notes. But that’ll likely be the only chance of precipitation over the next several days.

Normal to above-average temperatures are expected for much of the weekend throughout the state, KARE 11 says. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms Saturday night into Sunday, the weather service notes.

The National Weather Service is predicting a cold front next week, which will end the chance for rain, but also bring much cooler temperatures.