High pressure was in control of the weather from California to Maine on January 9th and 10th, 2012. Plenty of sunshine and bare ground helped the temperature to soar into the 50's over much of southern and central Minnesota on the 10th. The warmest temperature found so far on January 10 was 58 at Canby in Yellow Medicine County.
For only the 12th time in 141 years the air temperature warmed to 50 degrees or higher in January at the Twin Cities Official reporting station. So far for January 10th the high temperature is 52 degrees, breaking the old record of 49 degrees set back in 1990. January 10, 2012 was a nicer day than January 10, 1990 when there were plenty of clouds and a gusty southwesterly wind.
The highest temperature ever recorded in the Twin Cities since the modern period of record keeping began in 1872 is 58 degrees on January 25th, 1944. Newspaper accounts at the time reflect a familiar prose with descriptions of thousands of people going outdoors, children playing summer games and problems with lake ice. In fact, one aspect of the January warmth in 1944 that is not a factor today was the annual ice harvest on lakes in Minnesota. Back before the days of refrigeration, ice block cutting on lakes was an annual event in the winter. The goal was to store the ice to keep food cool during the warm season. There is a mention in the Weather Bureau's notes for January that the ice harvest was severely hampered by the warm conditions.