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Minnesotans rejoice over warm temperatures before snow returns

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Winter seemed to drag on, but this weekend it finally started to feel like the end was near – if only for a day or two.

Temperatures reached the low to mid 40s on Saturday (which is just a few degrees below average for this time of year), but with the warm sun it sure felt like spring. Highs on Sunday reached into the 60s in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota. The last 60-degree day in the Twin Cities was Oct. 13, KARE 11 says. We're just a few days late on the average first 60-degree day – it's usually March 29.

Businesses took full advantage of the warmth. Several metro-area golf courses opened their driving ranges for the first time this season, WCCO reports. And golf course officials planned ahead – they stocked up on extra golf balls because they'll have to wait until the snow melts to collect them all.

Restaurants opened their outdoor spaces, and people flocked.

"When you live in Minnesota, you cherish the days that are nice. So just having a rooftop and being outside is the best thing. But it means, as far as business sense, it's a huge money maker," Gary Windschitl of Stella's Fish Cafe in Uptown told KARE 11.

Even ski hills benefitted from the winter weather reprieve. Skiers and snowboarders packed the hill on Saturday and Don McClure, general manager at Buck Hill in Burnsville, told KARE he predicts a larger crowd – likely in t-shirts or even shorts – will hit the slopes Sunday.

A taste of spring was all it was, though. A major winter storm system, which could dump several inches of snow on central and northern Minnesota, will move into the area late Sunday night and stick around until Tuesday morning.

The storm will start as rain in most places and make the changeover to sleet and snow as temperatures drop Monday evening, the National Weather Service says.

There are several weather alerts for the upcoming storm: A blizzard watch is in effect for western Minnesota – from Alexandria to Granite Falls – from Monday into Tuesday. A winter storm watch is in effect for much of northern Minnesota and a hazardous weather outlook, which means the storm system could have pockets of heavy rain, mixed wintry conditions and accumulating snow, is in effect for central and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities.

Expect slushy conditions for the Twin Cities on Monday, KARE 11 says. While areas in northern Minnesota could see a foot of snow by Tuesday morning, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Here's a look at the storm's timeline around the state:

Twin Cities: Monday will start out feeling like spring with a high near 55 and a 50 percent chance of rain, but Monday night rain and sleet are likely, possibly mixed with snow and becoming all snow after 2 a.m. Tuesday. For Tuesday, there's a 30 percent chance of snow before 1 p.m. and then it will gradually become mostly sunny with a high near 36. Snow and sleet could total 1 to 2 inches.

Duluth: There's a 30 percent chance of rain after 4 p.m. Sunday. Rain or freezing rain will fall mainly after 10 a.m. on Monday, but rain and snow will become all snow after 10 p.m. Snow is also likely on Tuesday.

Moorhead: There's a 20 percent chance of rain after 4 p.m. Sunday. Rain will possibly mix with sleet before 4 a.m. Monday, then snow. There's a chance for widespread blowing snow, which could be heavy at times, on Monday as wind speeds reach 29 to 38 mph. Five to 9 inches of snow is possible.

Marshall: There's a chance of showers and thunderstorms early Monday morning into the afternoon. Rain and snow will become all snow after 10 p.m., totaling around 3 inches.

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