The reason behind our mild winter

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It might have been a little scary at first when we saw those frigid December cold snaps. We had barely finished out Thanksgiving turkey when we started to see the temps dive to well below zeros, and stay there for a while. Then came Christmas and rain, then came our January thaw, and now here come some possible record highs right in the middle of February, a month that does not have a warm reputation.

El Nino has left the building and for that matter, so has La Nina. However, these jet stream manipulating climatic forces has left their mark. The ground may be barren here in the Upper Midwest, but in northern Europe, the snowpack is quite healthy. This cold region has pushed the jet stream down towards Hawaii, which is the prime location for the Pineapple Express. South of the jet stream its warm while north of it lays cold air. This is what is known as a temperature gradient, also known as the birthplace and transport of low pressure systems, better known as storms. This is why California is getting slammed with rain and snow. Once these storms come in the southwest and strengthen, they lower the jet for the west, which in return, raises the jet for the east. Its that jet stream rising to the north that allows the warm air to spill into our neck of the woods. This is a story that has repeated itself all winter long.

This 2016-2017 did start out as a Strong El Nino year. As the map below shows, the El Nino start affected the weather just as expected. Check out the massive rain and snow predicted for out west and the milder temperatures and lower snowfall predicted for the Upper Midwest.This is right on the money for what we have experienced this winter.

As we finish up our week, the jet stream is once again pulled south by another big storm coming onshore our west. While this is bad news for rain battered California, its good news for us, as the jet will surge north and the warm air will flood in. When you combine this surge of warmth with no snow cover on the ground, the possibilities are endless.

Now, we just sit back and wait as the next mini heat wave takes a trip to our neighborhood and takes the temperatures on a ride that will put them into near record territory. Below is a list of our daily record high temperatures for the Twin Cities.

Not bad, if you consider the average high for the weekend is still below freezing at 30°. Enjoy the warm up everyone. There is still plenty of time to see some winter around here.