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No blizzard here: Mild weather hurting outdoor activities

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While the East Coast is preparing for a couple feet of snow, in Minnesota we're left waiting for some. Unusually warm temperatures over the past several days have melted what little snow cover we had.

Some folks are happy about the milder winter, but it is messing up plans for some favorite outdoor events around here.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival, which will be going for the rest of the week, is probably most concerned that the ice sculptures and courtyard – also made of ice – will melt before the carnival ends on Saturday. Other outdoor events are planned but the participants might not mind if it's a bit warmer.

The annual City of Lakes Loppet cross-country skiing festival set for next weekend in Minneapolis may have to change course because there is so little snow on the trails around the Chain of Lakes, MPR News reports.

So far, the organizers say they're still planning to stick to the original routes for the various ski events and will be making snow to cover those trails. But if the conditions on the lakes deteriorate too much, they'll consider moving some of the events to Theodore Wirth Park.

They expect more than 10,000 people to participate in the two largest events – a marathon ski race and the nighttime luminary loppet.

And law enforcement authorities are warning people again that the ice on area lakes is becoming too thin and are urging caution. The Hennepin County Sheriff's office notes that three vehicles have gone through ice on county lakes just in the past week. Several other similar incidents have happened around Minnesota recently.

Here's some more information from the DNR about ice safety.

Businesses who cater to winter enthusiasts are suffering a bit, too, according to WCCO. At least one ski shop told the station that business is down compared to last winter; people aren't inclined to buy ski equipment when they don't see much snow on the ground.

WCCO's Lauren Casey said the Twin Cities metro area is 11 inches below normal for snow so far this season.

It looks like the above normal temperatures will be with us for a couple more days, before it gets colder toward the end of the week. But there isn't much snow in the forecast.

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