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Weather: Mercury finally says it's winter

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It may be Jan. 14, but winter has finally arrived. Thursday and Friday's temperatures in the single digits were the first below-average high temperatures in Bemidji in over a month. Lows managed to creep below zero both mornings, also for the first time in over a month.

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Look for temperatures to moderate over the next several days before returning to current levels by the middle of next week. These temperatures are still a far cry from Jan. 13, 1916, when Bagley reached a morning low of 50 below - the lowest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota history for that date.

Snowfall continues to be sparse throughout the area as well much of the state. Less than a foot of snow has fallen in the north woods - less than half of what would be typical though mid January. The Arrowhead continues to be an exception to snowless rule. Ten to 18 inches covers the higher ground to the north of Finland and Lutsen. Forecast models hold little hope for significant snow, although a storm could affect the state later next week.

Lack of snow is not a problem in areas of southeast Alaska. Valdez has recorded 250 inches since Dec. 1 and 322 inches total for the winter. Eighty-four inches were reported on the ground Friday morning. Cordova has received more than 175 inches of snow. The Alaska National Guard has had to report to the isolated town southeast of Anchorage to help clear city streets. Front-end loaders have been busy dumping snow into melting machines so that the city may be prepared for future snowfall. While this area is accustomed to heavy snowfall, these totals are double the average totals for this point in the winter.

If you have your hopes set on snowfall, keep your head up. Typically the snowiest month in the north woods is March, when we receive 8-12 inches on average.

Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director. You may contact him by email him at tsiemers@bemidjipioneer.com

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