A taste of spring

Published 10:03 am Thursday, February 16, 2017

Forget Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter; Minnesota is ushering in springlike weather that could push temperatures 20 degrees above normal.

But it probably won’t last.

After a high in the low 40s on Thursday, the Austin area and the region is in for what could be six to seven days with highs above 50 degrees.

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“We’re going to see unseasonably warm temperatures,” said Dan Jones, a meteorologist with The National Weather Service in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

A warm front will move through the area overnight Thursday night before Friday’s high is expected to reach 54 degrees.

Several weather forecasts call for highs to remain in the 50s through next Wednesday and possibly Thursday.

While some spots in the area could see temperatures hit 60 degrees around Sunday and Monday, Jones said it’s unlikely the Austin area will top the upper 50s because the remaining snow cover and frozen ground will keep highs at bay. However, the warm stretch is likely to break the snowpack.

But it’s hasty to declare that spring has arrived, as Jones said it’s still too early to predict what March and April weather trends will do.

And lest we forget, Austin saw more than 10 inches of snow in May 2013.

Some forecasts show the area could get rain or potentially snow late next week as highs are expected to fall back to 30 and 31 on Feb. 25 and 26.

To date, the 2016-17 winter has produced 28.5 inches of snow in Austin, according to the weather service.

One thing’s for sure, the first official day of spring is March 20.