Light dusting of snow expected, then gradual warmup will peak with temps near 50 Wednesday

01/24/2013 BOSTON, MA Emerson students Kyler Schelling (cq) 23 (left) and Kathryn Barnes (cq) 21, play hockey on the now frozen pond in the Boston Public Garden (cq). (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
How often do you see someone skating on a lagoon? Emerson students Kyler Schelling, 23, and Kathryn Barnes , 21, played hockey Thursday on the now-frozen Lagoon in the Boston Public Garden.
Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Fear not, Bay Staters. While much of the state may receive a light dusting of snow tonight, relief is coming — unusually warm temperatures are in store next week, forecasters said.

A gradual warming trend beginning today will peak Wednesday, with a high possibly reaching 50 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said.

The morning started out cold, with Boston at 10 degrees, Bedford at 5 degrees, and Orange with the state’s lowest temperature at minus 3 degrees, Simpson said. This afternoon temperatures climbed to 24 degrees in Boston.

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An offshore storm could bring 1 to 2 inches of snow to the Cape and islands, with the Boston metro area seeing between a dusting to a half an inch just after midnight.

The weekend will otherwise be quiet, with calmer winds, mostly clear skies, and temperatures in the mid- to upper 20s.

Though the week’s wicked winds and cold temperatures were a shock to many, Simpson said the resulting wind chills were normal for New England’s winter cold snaps.

“It’s been a couple years since we’ve had this,” Simpson said. “People want to call it record-breaking, but it’s not even close.”

Also normal is the temperature fluctuation, he said, with this week’s highs 5 to 10 degrees below the monthly average of 29 degrees, and next week set to rise above that by 10 degrees or more.

And after next week?

Don’t put away the parka and the earmuffs.

Simpson said forecast models hinted at temperatures taking another dive the following week.