The last weekend of meteorological winter is going to feel a lot like spring.
Temperatures will continue to climb through the end of the week – and near record highs are possible on Saturday, the National Weather Service says.
Highs Friday will be mostly in the 30s, but temperatures will jump into the high 40s and mid-50s across the state Saturday, the weather service says, thanks to limited snow cover, sunny skies and due west winds, meteorologist Paul Huttner wrote on MPR News' Updraft blog.
The record high for Feb. 27 in the Twin Cities is 54 degrees, and Huttner says he's becoming "increasingly convinced" we'll approach and "possibly smash" that record.
Low 50s is the average temperature for the first week of April, meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune's weather blog. The normal high for this time of year in the Twin Cities is 34 degrees, AccuWeather reports
Dust off your clubs
And the forecast has a lot of people thinking spring.
ShadowBrooke Golf Club in Lester Prairie is kicking off the golf season with a noon shotgun on Saturday, the course wrote on Facebook. There will be a few hazards (some greens still need to thaw), but they're "optimistic that the weather will cooperate," the post notes.
Most golf courses aren't expected to open for a few more weeks, the Minnesota Golf Association's website shows. But a few courses are opening their driving ranges.
A few other ranges have opened in the metro area, according to TwinCitiesGolf.com, including: Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids, Majestic Oaks Golf Club Signature in Ham Lake and Oak Marsh Golf Club in Oakdale.
There are several outdoor events planned for this weekend as well, including Red Bull Crashed Ice on Friday and Saturday in St. Paul, and there's a good chance restaurants will open their outdoor seating so people can enjoy the nice weather.
But, if you're planning on going out on the ice, remember to check conditions first. An SUV had to be pulled from Lake Minnetonka on Wednesday after breaking through the ice.
The groundhog may have been right
After Saturday's potentially record-setting warmth, it'll start to cool down on Sunday. Temperatures will drop back down to normal levels through the middle of next week, the weather service says.
But Huttner says the odds of having an early spring are growing – which means when the groundhog predicted an early spring on Feb. 2, he may have been right.
There are several factors that could mean an early spring, including little snow cover (there's only a trace in the Twin Cities, according to the National Weather Service), a shallow layer of frost, and the forecast is pointing to a warmup around March 10 – temperatures could reach 60 degrees.