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Good news: Thaw. Bad news: Ice, mud, potholes

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Minnesotans longing for a reprieve from the stinging cold are ready to embrace the warmer temperatures sweeping into the state. But the Star Tribune reminds us that the silver lining does surround a cloud. And the cloud could contain rain.

WCCO's forecast shows that highs on Thursday will be near freezing, but the wind will make it feel cooler. Temperatures will fall back to near zero on Friday, with a slight warming trend over the weekend anticipated.

The National Weather Service forecast predicts that a chance of snow that could turn into rain on Monday, when the high of 35 is expected.

The Star Tribune story explains that some streets, narrowed for weeks by ever-growing snow piles, could be converted into ponds as the weather moderates. The water could then leak onto streets and roads and when mighttime temperatures drop below freezing, could turn them treacherous.

Rain this time of year, St. Paul public works spokesman Dave Hunt added, “is the dread for any public works agency,” because it’s often followed by a freeze-up that can leave streets in worse shape than they are now.

KARE notes the expected freeze-and-thaw conditions are already leading to the creation of potholes. Since January, drivers have lodged 57 pothole complaints in Minneapolis. For all of 2013, a city spokesperson said 44 pothole reports were submitted. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has received 168 reports of potholes in the metro area so far this winter.

The Star Tribune explains that city workers are now patching potholes with a temporary “cold mix.” In early March, St. Paul’s hot mix asphalt plant opens and will supply permanent patching material to numerous cities.

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