Despite the present forecast and the memories of last year in February and March, our winters here in the Northern Plains are gradually growing warmer. Any given year, of course, may be very cold or very mild, but the general trend is for there to be more mild weather and less cold weather during the winter season.

Checking the records back to 1880, there has been an average of 16 thawing days during the winter months and an average of five days of at least 40 degrees. Using the most recent complete three decades, the average number of thawing winter days has swelled from 16 to 21, while the number of days of at least 40 degrees has grown from five to six. Conversely, the average number of days with a subzero high temperature has shrunk from ten per year, the record since 1880, to just eight per year in the last three decades.