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Weather: Computer models hint at possible winter storm

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

What do Roswell, N.M., and Midland, Texas, have that we don't have? Besides vast treeless plains dotted with oil wells, the answer is above average snowfall. Above Bemidji snowfall, in fact.

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A series of storms has piled up snow in southeastern New Mexico and west central Texas. The Permian Basin area of Texas has received nearly 20 inches so far this winter.

Snowfall totals across northern Minnesota include 9 inches in Baudette, 12-15 inches in Cass Lake and Bemidji and just over 17 inches in Duluth. Assuming snowfall continues at the same rate it has thus far, all of the aforementioned locations could set records for the least amount of snow in a season.

The pattern of abnormal warmth interspersed with arctic cold continues. Temperatures fell from a high of near freezing Thursday afternoon to 11 below Friday morning. This weekend should see morning temperatures fall below zero with highs around 20. High temperatures above freezing should return by the middle of next week. Typically high temperatures this time of year are around 20. Tuesday marked the first day since Dec. 25 when the average low is above zero.

From the "It Could Always Be Worse" files: The morning of Feb. 10, 1899 saw temperatures reach past 45 below zero across the north woods, including 59 below at Leech Lake Dam - the coldest temperature recorded in the state until Tower surpassed it in 1996. Temperatures rebounded to above freezing five days later. Also, a strong storm dropped over a foot of snow in the area on Feb. 9-10, 1965.

Long-range computer models are hinting at a change in the weather pattern, including the possibility of a significant winter storm moving into Minnesota beginning the third week of February. Any moisture will be welcome as much of the state continues to experience moderate drought conditions.

TOM SIEMERS is the Pioneer's circulation director.

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