Cold by this winter’s standards, Thursday was still a degree above normal for Feb. 4 and extended the uninterrupted string of days with above-normal temperatures that began Jan. 22.

Indications are this stretch will continue into Monday — 18 straight days with above-normal temperatures. If forecasts verify, the first eight days this February will average 8 degrees above normal. During the same period a year ago, we averaged about 4 degrees below normal.

This coming weekend, a mild ridge of high pressure is expected to build over the West Coast. This will create a huge buckle in the jet stream, setting up a northerly flow aloft and steering arctic-source cold air south through central Canada into the Midwest and Great Lakes.

The core of coldest air will probably touch on the northern Great Lakes, but we will still absorb a cold punch that will establish the lake-effect snow machine around the south end of Lake Michigan the first part of next week.

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