"January Thaw" January 5-7, 2008

winter swim

Swimming in January 1944.
Courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society

In a respite from the wintry weather of December, Minnesota experienced a classic "January thaw" that cut the snow pack down a bit and people could shed their warmest jacket for a few days. One of the warmer places was Grand Rapids with a record setting high of 48 degrees on the 5th. Marshall tied their record of 48 degrees on the 5th. The Twin Cities didn't set any records, but did have a maximum temperature of 41 degrees on the 6th, the warmest day since November 25th, 2007.

The warmest January thaw on record for the Twin Cities is 58 degrees on January 25, 1944. The Minneapolis Star Journal took a photo of a person taking a quick dip in a lake that was partially open. A close second is the 57 degrees reached on January 24, 1981. As recently as 2003, the thermometer has reached above 50 degrees in January in the Twin Cities. On January 8, 2003 the high was 53 degrees and it was nice enough for a pleasant walk or to rake leaves. The high has reached 50 degrees or higher in January eleven times in the Twin Cities since 1891.

Below are records compiled by Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension, Dept of Soil, Water, and Climate:

Record-setting Daily High Temperature Values for January 5 and 6, 2008
41 degrees F at International Falls on the 6th
48 degrees F at Grand Rapids on the 5th
47 degrees F at Collegeville on the 6th
42 degrees F at Fergus Falls on the 5th
44 degrees F at Olivia on the 6th
48 degrees F at Marshall on the 5th tied the record high, 
44 F on the 6th was a new record
45 degrees F at Cass Lake on the 6th
44 degrees F at Little Fork on the 6th
46 degrees F at Brainerd on the 6th