Record January Thaw Lasted into Mid-February!

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Graph of longest January Thaws on record, including those that begin in December or end in February (as long as they include at least two consecutive days in January).
Image credit: Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Rack up another bizarre record for the Lost Winter of 2023-24.

On February 14, 2024, the temperature climbed above freezing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for the the 24th consecutive day, making this the longest "January Thaw" on record in the Twin Cities.

Really? A January Thaw in February?

Indeed! A January Thaw is defined as a run of at least two consecutive days with high temperatures above 32 F, during January. However, some January thaws begin in December or end in February, and to track the longest thaws on record, we have to include those that begin or end in one of January's neighbor months, as long as the streak includes at least two days in January.

This particular thaw began on January 22nd in the Twin Cities and lasted through February 14th, making it 24 days, which beat the former record of 21 days from December 19, 2006 through January 8, 2007.

St. Cloud also observed its longest January Thaw on record, spanning 17 days from January 24 through February 9, 2024.

It's not at all unusual to have above-freezing temperatures for two consecutive days during January in Minnesota. It happens over 80% of the time in the Twin Cities, and over 50% of the time in International Falls. A streak of mid-winter thaw that exceeds three weeks, however, is rare. Even two weeks is unusual. In fact, a thaw lasting 10 days or longer occurs less than once per decade, on average.

For more information on the history and statistics of January Thaws, please see our article here. For more information about the warmth and other oddities of the 2023-24 winter, see our summary of the winter, our January recap, and our story on the historic December of 2023.


Last modified:  Feb 23, 2024

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