BEMIDJI -- Despite some snowfall this week from a system moving through the area, this winter has been rather mild so far according to the National Weather Service.
While no records have been hit in terms of temperature, the days have been consistently warmer than normal. On Jan. 3 in Bemidji, the temperature reached a high of 42 degrees, and the next day it was 39. Since then, the temperature has fluctuated around 27 degrees or higher, hitting the low 40s again by the middle of this week.
"As of this week, I'm not aware of any records that have been hit, but we've come pretty close in some spots," said Austin Perroux, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. "Yesterday, we came within 3 degrees of our record here in Grand Forks."
Even without records broken for warmer temperatures, Perroux said the numbers are well above normal.
"There's a range typically that you'd normally see in a winter," Perroux said. "On a climate scale, you're looking at decades, and within those years, you can have those times where it's just way warmer than normal."
In addition to the warmth, this winter has been drier than average, too. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the upper portion of Beltrami County and much of northwest Minnesota is classified as being in a moderate drought. Southern Beltrami County, including Bemidji, and much of the rest of the state, meanwhile, is listed as abnormally dry.
Perroux said the amount of snow and the temperature also go hand-in-hand.
"Because we don't have that kind of snowpack that we typically see this time of year, there's also an effect where we don't see as much solar radiation bouncing off that snow," Perroux said. "So we can also get warmer than normal from that heat."
Next week, Perroux said the forecast has temperatures getting closer to seasonal norms. However, they will still be above normal and Perroux said that pattern is likely to persist for a while.