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Get me out of here: Minnesotans flee to warmer climates

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Last week, for the first time ever, all six parking ramps at both Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport terminals were full, according to the Star Tribune. Why? Because this winter was cold.

Minnesotans – and people across much of the Midwest and Northeast – have been desperate for a break from this never-ending winter. The airport experienced a 6 percent increase in passengers – 134,000 people – this January compared to last year, the Star Tribune reports, and local travel agents say sales are up 30 to 50 percent so far this year.

"I don't need a vacation. I don't need the relaxation," Shannon Frauenholtz, of New Ulm, told the Associated Press. "I just need the heat."

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that this winter was one for the record books – it was ninth on the coldest-ever list for the Twin Cities. Not to mention the snow, all 57-plus inches of it, and it's not over – March is typically the snowiest month. This winter had even the most seasoned Minnesotans seeking something warmer.

“The location is not the top issue,” AAA spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer told the Star Tribune. “It’s ‘I want to go somewhere next week for $3,000, and I want to go somewhere warm.’ ”

Visit Florida says hotel bookings in the state rose 3 percent in the four weeks ending Feb. 15 compared with the same period last year, according to the Associated Press, and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association reports that RV parks from Florida to Arizona are packed, with one Arizona park expecting a 6 percent increase in revenue over last year.

While some have escaped to warmer climates, the Star Tribune reports Minnesota ski hills saw an increase in visitors thanks to all the snow.

For those that couldn't catch a flight out, there is hope in sight. The National Weather Service predicts a thaw this week – temperatures are expected to be in the 30s and 40s.

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