December heat? Those words don't usually go together in Minnesota. But the month we're in right now may well turn out to be the warmest December on record in the state.
Climatologist Mark Seeley tells MPR News 2015's December is on pace to join September as a record-breaker and will likely leave this year in sixth place on Minnesota's list of warmest years.
Seeley wrote in his U of M Extension blog last week that statewide December temperatures were running 14 to 18 degrees above average.
The warmth has made ice and snow scarce across the state, although the National Weather Service says the eastern half of Minnesota may get an inch or three on Wednesday.
Far northwestern Minnesota was getting snow Tuesday night and forecasters say totals there could reach 5 to 8 inches.
But in much of the state lakes that often have ice fishing houses on them by now are still devoid not only of shacks, but ice. Department of Natural Resources climatologist Peter Boulay tells the Brainerd Dispatch many lakes in the area will set new records for latest ice-in.
The shorter ice fishing season means resorts that cater to anglers are taking a hit in the wallet. WCCO visited resorts as well as ski hills where even making snow is difficult when temperatures are above freezing.
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A December this warm may be unprecedented for our state, but it's pretty typical of what's happening around the country.
In a roundup of economic winners and losers in the unseasonably warm month, NBC News notes some of the bright sides: it keeps homeowners' heating bills down, extends construction season, and even boosts ice cream sales.