Thursday began with sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures, but by early afternoon sooty clouds overtook the blue sky in advance of the approaching storm.
With temperatures 20 degrees above normal for this time of year, rain and not snow fell across the southern half of the state as the storm moved north. Rain began falling in the Brainerd area a little after 6 p.m.
Temperatures, still at 40 degrees after 6 p.m. Thursday, were bolstered by southern winds. But the National Weather Service in Duluth noted even if the air temperature is warm enough for rain it will be falling on frozen ground resulting in an ice glaze on untreated roads and sidewalks. Drivers were cautioned to take it slow and be aware of stopping distances. Overnight lows Thursday were expected to hover around the freezing mark.
Temperatures began to fall before 7 p.m. dropping to 37 degrees. Thursday topped out at 42 degrees, just 6 degrees shy of the record of 48 degrees set last year.
The freezing rain advisory for Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties remains in effect until noon Friday. Ice accumulations may range from less than a tenth of an inch to less than a quarter of an inch through Friday morning. Areas of fog may add to the mix Friday morning and continue in patches in the afternoon. Friday will remain mild with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. More rain and freezing rain is expected, which could change to light snow by Friday night. Don’t expect to have to shovel much as the weather service predicts accumulations will be up to 1 inch. But the mild temperatures will take a turn.
Extreme northwest Minnesota may experience heavy snow as colder arctic air sweeps into the region Friday night, the weather service reported. It’s a bit of a shift from the downright balmy 52 degrees recorded on this date in 2012, which remains the record high.
With the cold air blowing in Friday night, temperatures will drop and may only rise to 15 degrees for a high Saturday for a nearly 30 degree drop compared to Thursday.
Overnight lows Saturday are expected to fall into negative numbers of 3 degrees to 8 degrees below zero with wind chills of 10 to 20 degrees below.
The cold may have staying power. Overnight lows through the week are expected to range from a few degrees above zero to 9 degrees below with highs in the single digits to upper teens or maybe even 21 degrees Tuesday.
A chance for light snow returns Tuesday night and Wednesday.