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Mini-heat wave: Northwest Minnesota experiencing higher than average temperatures this weekend

Elaine Kelly walks with her dogs, Finn and Saig, Thursday afternoon along Lake Boulevard Northeast in Bemidji. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI—Temperatures are on the rise in Bemidji and weather experts are forecasting the trend to continue into next week.

The forecasted high temperature for Friday is 49 degrees according to the National Weather Service and through Saturday and Sunday, temperatures are expected to continue their stay in the 40s. Bill Barrett, a meteorologist technician for the NWS in Grand Forks, which oversees the Bemidji area, said the warm conditions are well above the norm.

"Even into the middle of next week, temperatures will be in the upper 30s for highs. That is considerably above the averages for this time of year," Barrett said. "For Bemidji, the average February temperatures are roughly highs in the mid-to-low 20s."

As a result, Barrett said the warmer temperatures will have a noticeable effect on snow in the region, with a good portion expected to melt.

"We never get rapid melting this time of year because we won't get 60 or 70 degree temperatures, that is something you get closer to April," Barrett said. "Still, this will take care of the existing snowpack in the southern valley and parts of west-central Minnesota, which doesn't have much snow. Further up north in Bemidji, it will bite into the snowpack and could take away about half of it by the time it's all said and done."

Barrett said it's a positive development, as having a good portion of the snow melt this early can prevent high amounts of runoff taking place once the melting season comes.

The Beltrami County Emergency Management has also taken note of the warming temperatures and subsequent melt.

In a Facebook post Thursday, the agency said, "expect a lot of snow melting over the coming days and rapidly deteriorating ice conditions on area lakes. Use caution as you enjoy the remainder of winter."

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