Does snow in October mean we are in for a brutal winter?

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Mouths have been all a flutter lately with the constant buzz of the doom and gloom that many expect: a long and brutal winter.

While we have seen October snow in past years, it’s been a while since we have experienced some accumulating snow during the month. You actually have to go back to 2009 to find a year where the metro had some accumulating October snow. But, does early snow mean we will have a very snowy winter?  Let’s examine…

There are two pictures above that can explain the facts. The first graphic shows the last seven years that the metro has had accumulating snow in the month of October and the corresponding snow total for that particular season. The last time this happened was back in 2009, NOT a snowy winter for the metro. The average snowfall for the metro is 54 inches. We came up more than a foot shy. Before that it was 2002 and again that year we were below average by a pretty wide margin. The year before that we were above average… then average… then below average… then above… I hope you’re getting the trend. If not, the trend is that there is NO trend. There are years where we were above average and below average with no apparent pattern or correlation.

This point can be further made by the next picture from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This list shows the top 15 snowy starts to the season through the end of November. It then shows the amount of snow seen through the rest of the season and the ranking, then the average temperature for the rest of the season and its rank.  The results? They are all over the board. Some years were really cold and snowy, others really dry and warm, there is absolutely no pattern at all!

So to sum up, just because we have had early season snow and are heading into November colder than average, does NOT mean we will have a brutal winter. Anything is possible from here!

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