2024 Has Been Minnesota’s Warmest Winter Ever By This Metric
If you have found yourself thinking that this has been the most mild Minnesota winter ever, you are (mostly) correct.
According to the Minnesota DNR, a "January Thaw" is "two or more consecutive days with a maximum temperature above 32 degrees F."
January Thaws are a common occurrence in the state, especially in southwestern Minnesota. They also occur most years in other parts of the state.
As of February 12th, Minnesota has experienced 22 straight days (and counting) of January Thaw. The previous record of 21 days was set from December 19th through January 8th of 2006-2007.
The previous record of 18 days had stood for over sixty years, dating back to 1944. That year also saw the thermometer reach 58 degrees on January 25th- the single warmest January day on record in Minneapolis.
As an example, of the 17 thaw events lasting nine days or more in the Twin Cities, only four occurred during the period of modern winter warming since 1970, and 12 of the remaining 13 occurred prior to the end of World War II!
This suggests that winter's dramatic warming trend is taking place without dramatically increasing the number of January Thaw days. The relationship between relatively cold and relatively warm days has not changed appreciably.
What has changed, is the average temperature on any day. Cold days and warm days alike are now generally warmer, and often much warmer, than they had been historically.
It's not just your imagination: this truly has been the warmest on record for the state of Minnesota!