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Temperature jumps 50 degrees in N. Minnesota, warm weekend ahead

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The heat is on – at least by Minnesota standards. In advance of a much-anticipated weekend warm-up, blissful high temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees were felt Thursday across the state.

In the northeast, the heat wave was dramatic Thursday – the mercury leapt nearly 50 degrees in Ely from minus-31 degrees at 3 a.m. to 18 degrees by early afternoon, the National Weather Service reported. In Hibbing, it went from minus-31 degrees at 2 a.m. to 11 degrees by 2 p.m.

In Bemidji, the temperature soared from minus-10 degrees just after midnight to 20 degrees by 2 p.m.

And in the Twin Cities, the mercury jumped from minus-9 degrees at midnight to 18 by early afternoon, the National Weather Service reports.

And it gets even better. High temperatures in the 30s will be felt around much of the state Friday through Sunday, forecasters say. It could hit 36 degrees in the Twin Cities Sunday.

In the metro early next week, temperatures will continue to be above average with highs in the upper 20s, KARE 11 reports.

The four-day cold spell that started Sunday, which brought some of the coldest weather in a decade – and was dubbed "The Winter Kraken" by WCCO – was more than a shiver-inducing annoyance. Nationwide, at least 20 deaths were blamed on a deep freeze that settled over the U.S. early this week. Among them was a 32-year-old Lakeville woman found on her doorstep.

Minnesota hospitals were busy with dozens of cases of frostbite and hypothermia during the cold stretch, the Star Tribune reports. The state's two burn centers that treat frostbite, Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and Regions Hospital in St. Paul, saw a spike in cases, the newspaper reports.

In Duluth, a second woman was found unconscious with severe frostbite and is now recovering at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The cold snap may have cost the U.S. economy as much as $5 billion as people stayed indoors and canceled plans, the Associated Press reports.

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