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Will warmup threaten chances for a white Christmas in parts of Minnesota?

Another cold start to the week but warmer days are ahead.

Even hearty Minnesotans will admit that the past week or so has been way too cold for the first half of December, but believe it or not, the average high temp in the Twin Cities so far this month is a balmy 27.5 degrees. 

Remember, eight of nine days to begin December featured high temps at or above freezing. The past week, however, has been frigid. High temps Dec. 10-15:

  • Dec. 10: 8 degrees
  • Dec. 11: 9 degrees
  • Dec. 12: 19 degrees
  • Dec. 13: 18 degrees
  • Dec. 14: 20 degrees
  • Dec. 15: 17 degrees

Low temps have ranged ranged from -5F to 9F the past six days, and it's been much colder in parts of greater Minnesota. 

We stay in the cold zone for a few more days before a pre-holidays warmup arrives, and it might get toasty enough to put a major dent in the snowpack leading up to Christmas. 

"Little or no snow is expected through the week, but odds are still in our favor for a white Christmas," the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities says. 

According to NOAA, there is at least a 50% chance for above normal temperatures throughout Minnesota Dec. 21-25. Drier than normal conditions are expected over that stretch, too.

As of Dec. 16, the snowpack is about 7-8 inches in the Twin Cities, according to NOAA, and is forecast to drop to about 5-6 inches by Dec. 19. Basically, an inch per day would have to melt to ruin chances of a white Christmas. 

The snowpack in Brainerd is about 11 inches, with a solid foot on the ground in Grand Rapids. Duluth, after getting pounded numerous times by snowstorms and powerful clippers, has nothing to worry about in terms of having a white Christmas. 

Here's a look at the European temperature model. It shows a frigid Wednesday morning with temps plummeting well below zero area wide, but then temps surge into the 20s and even low 30s for daytime highs Thursday through about Christmas. 


The forecast discussion from the NWS Twin Cities notes that while warmer days are ahead, nothing too much higher than the freezing mark is anticipated. 

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