Snow, cold are in; record is out

Heron Marquez Estrada

Star Tribune

Published Dec 23 2001

Like Joe DiMaggio's record-breaking hitting streak, Minnesota's stretch of above-average daily temperatures is expected to end at 56.

The streak began before Halloween, and not even a snowstorm in November could break it. Day 56 of above-normal temperatures was Saturday, when the high was near 40 in the early morning, said Jim Richardson, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

But a mild winter storm that began as rain Saturday morning -- combined with falling temperatures in the afternoon -- produced several inches of snow throughout most of the state.

Although the storm was not severe, Richardson said the trend, beginning today, is for below-average temperatures heading into Christmas.

He said the high temperature today is expected to be in the middle to upper teens.

The normal high is about 22 degrees.

Although the warm streak will end, it appears that those dreaming of a white Christmas will get their wish.

"We got a light cover over most of the area, and that should stick around," Richardson said Saturday. "An inch of snow would be considered a white Christmas."

The forecast says the snow should taper off today, but flurries or light snow could continue Monday and possibly Tuesday.

The temperature should drop to a high in the middle to low teens by Christmas. The low could be in the single digits tonight and possibly go as low as 3 below on Tuesday.

Richardson said the storm moved through the area much more quickly than expected, which made the storm much milder than anticipated. Instead of the nearly 6 inches of snow that was expected, only 1 to 4 inches were recorded around the state.

"It's kind of a minor storm," he said.

That might explain why the weather caused only minor delays at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and only minor collisions and traffic problems on roads and highways, authorities said.

In one accident, a bus en route to the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake ended up in a ditch about 12:45 p.m. The driver avoided several cars, and passengers were able to walk to the casino. No one was injured.

-- Chris Graves contributed to this report.

-- Heron Marquez Estrada is at .