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Marching into an early spring: More 60-degree days possible this week

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Yes, they say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. But were they talking about the first week of March?

April-like temperatures swept across Minnesota on Sunday and forecasters expect more of that in the coming days.

The National Weather Service lists more than a dozen locations in the state where it reached or surpassed 60 degrees on Sunday:

Across the Red River, Fargo broke its record high for March 6, topping out at 64 degrees.

There's still snow in the Northland, but at this rate it might head down some yellow brick road into Lake Superior by St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday's highs were actually a little lower in some of southern Minnesota, but they were still well above average even in Rochester:

The Weather Service says it was a "prolonged stretch of warm weather" that began Sunday, with highs expected to be in the 50s and 60s for most of the state this week.

Here's a look at the high temperature forecast for Tuesday:

There's a brief cool down in the forecast for Wednesday, when highs will be in the 30s and 40s, before climbing back up into the 50s Thursday.

The average high temperature in the Twin Cities this time of year is 36 degrees, MPR News' Updraft blog says, while the average first 60-degree day typically comes in late March, the weather service says.

There are also a few chances for showers and thunderstorms this week. A low-pressure system could bring a slight chance of showers to the southeastern corner of the state Sunday afternoon and evening, while thunderstorms and showers could affect the region Monday and Tuesday, the weather service says.

Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk blog says warmer than normal temperatures are expected to last past mid-March, noting Minnesota will lose most of the snow cover and soil frost by the third week of March.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune's weather blog that winter is mostly over. He does say there could be a few more days in the 30s, along with a "couple sloppy, slushy snows."

6th warmest winter on record

Meteorological winter (December through February) was the sixth warmest in Minnesota on record, Seeley says, thanks in part to the warmest December in state history.

Seeley says the average temperature was about 13 degrees warmer than normal, noting the warmth this winter came from "unusually warm nights" rather than warm days.

Although the winter was mild, it was also gloomy – the past three months had the second-lowest amount of sunshine since the winter of 1962-63, Seeley says.

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