Major Minnesota events hoping for colder January temperatures

Whether you talk to people who run the St. Paul Winter Carnival or the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, both are counting on the ice on the ground to remain firm and both are crossing their fingers for a change in the forecast.

“Ice fishing, ice fishing tournaments, snowmobiling, skating, enjoying winter, those are all going to be at risk as we go into this weekend and beyond,” said Ian Leonard, FOX 9 Chief Meteorologist.

No matter if you hit the snow and ice for fun or sport, it’s going to be harder to do as our forecast flirts with temperatures that are twice what we typically see.

“We prefer to have the teens or 20s,” said Jim Dahline, of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, which are scheduled for Lake Nokomis at the end of the month.

“A few days of warmer weather will not necessarily scare us away obviously sustained 40s and 50s would be something a bit different so we’re looking for Ian and team to forecast some nice cold weather for us,” Dahline added.

However, Leonard says the thaw, which has only grown warmer over the years, could wash out Minnesota’s chance at a traditional Minnesota freeze.

“This weekend, the temperatures we’re expecting are the kind that ruin winter activities, not just in the near term, but possibly going right through the rest of the winter,” Leonard said.

As for St. Paul’s Winter Carnival at Kellogg Park this year, things aren’t looking great, either.

“We need 3-5 inches just to support the ice carvings and things like that,” said President and CEO Deb Schaber. “Our Snow Park, on the other hand, at the State Fairgrounds, needs a lot more snow and they’re currently making snow. So, if it gets warmer, that doesn’t help.”

Still, with more than 250,000 people expected to attend, Schaber is ready.

“Don’t worry. Come out. We’ll still have fun. 40 degrees, or five below,” she said.

Schaber and Dahline do hope for a little help from Old Man Winter, who they both know and love.

“We’d like to have one of those famous Alberta clippers come through to freeze everything up pretty good,” Dahline said.

“We need 25 and cloudy and a dusting of snow every day,” Schaber said. “That would be our ideal weather.”

The health and strength of the ice is important to note. With multiple freeze and thaw events under sunny skies, it’s likely the ice isn’t thick enough to sustain hardcore winter sports.