The warmer weather is being greeted with a little bit of optimism in the Minnesota farming community, as the warm temperatures could mean an early planting season.

True, there are no leaves or buds on the trees yet, but the early signs of spring all over southern Minnesota and farmers are taking notice.

“Well, I think there's a little cause for optimism,” said Scientist Tom Hoverstad of the Southern Research and Outreach Center.  “The first thing farmers look for in the start of the spring year is to start getting fieldwork done, as the absence of soil frost and our frost depth it's not very deep. In addition to that, soil temperatures at the 4 and 8 inch level are at about 30°, indicating it's not going to take a lot of energy to remove the frost.”

It's no wonder things have started to thaw out. Temperatures have been about 15 to 20° above average. Temperatures over the weekend are expected to not even get below freezing.  This weather pattern is usual, but not unheard of.

“We have seen February's like this before, particularly 1981 was a very warm February,” said Hoverstad.

Even though it's warmer than usual now, it's probably best not to get used to it. Out of the 15 warmest February's on record in Minnesota, 9 have had a colder March. So it's possible that this is just a spring preview, before winter makes a comeback.

“In fact, sometimes March is much colder than February, there's really not a lot of indication or correlation this weather is going to stick around.” Add Hoverstad.