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Iowa On Track for Its First Above-Zero Winter

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) It won't be a surprise to anyone who spent January on the golf course, but Iowa could be in line for the warmest winter on record.

From Dec. 1 the start of the season for the National Weather Service through Monday, the state is tied with the winter of 1918 for the warmest average temperature at 31.6 degrees.

For the first time since the weather service began keeping records in Des Moines in 1878, there have been no readings below zero. At the weather service's office in Johnston, the temperature did hit zero once, on Jan. 19.

"We haven't had many storm systems that dropped a lot of snow on us, and without a snowpack, it's tough to really drop off temperatures below zero in the winter," NWS meteorologist Kevin Deitsch said.

The temperature has been far warmer many days this winter, including stretches in the 50s and 60s that prompted some golf courses to reopen.

However, a snowstorm that moved through parts of Iowa last weekend left up to 10 inches of snow, and an arctic airmass will move through the state Friday night and into Saturday morning. That will cause temperatures to fall to the single digits possibly as low as zero.

The weather service's Climate Prediction Center expects that Iowa will see average temperatures for the next three months. Precipitation is expected to be above average in eastern Iowa and near average in the central part of the state. The meteorological winter ends on Feb. 29.

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