Columbia to see warmer, milder weather in coming days

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 6:38 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — For the first time in 13 days, Columbia will see temperatures above freezing starting Wednesday afternoon.

Despite a low of 32 degrees and a chance of flurries starting Wednesday, the weather is predicted to stay warm for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service's website.

Starting Thursday, with a high of 42 degrees, the weather is expected to continue to stay mild through the weekend. The highs are expected to stay between 45 and  50 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, said Thomas Spriggs, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

At least for now, Columbia will have a break from the snow.

"Outside of the chance of flurries on Wednesday, there appear to be no systems that will produce snow anytime soon," Spriggs said.

The recent frigid temperatures are atypical for this time of year. The average low temperature for Columbia in February is 20 degrees, and the average high is 44 degrees, according to the the weather service's website.

Between Feb. 2 and 8, the average temperature in Columbia was 13 degrees, according to the weather service's website.

Spriggs predicted Columbia will "see arctic air go away, with no more bitter cold for a while. There will be more of a battle between mild temperatures and what is more typical cold for February. It will still be cold, but not bitter like we've been seeing."

Although a relief from the cold, the rapid change in temperature might mean trouble for Columbia's roads.

"Changing of the states of water is part of the reason we see potholes, but we don't see as many ill effects going from cold to warm," Spriggs said.

Potholes form when water trapped under the road freezes and expands, pushing the road upwards. When warmer temperatures arrive and the ice melts, car tires collapse the surface into the gap, causing a pothole, according to previous Missourian reporting.

For many people, warmer temperatures mean finally getting to spend some time enjoying the outdoors.

"I hope it gets warm enough that I can run on the MKT trails again," Columbia resident Mary Martin said.

Supervising editor is Ted Hart.

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