Contrary to what many may think, our 2017-2018 winter so far has been fairly “normal” here in much of Minnesota. While we have had several major arctic outbreaks, still in one at the moment, the mild periods in between these cold snaps have kept overall average temperatures this winter near normal. December ended up about a degree shy of average while January ended about a degree above average. That’s in the metro, areas of northern Minnesota finished a little further above average in January than most.
Aided by our biggest storm in 7 years, the Twin Cities also finished well above average in the snow department, toping 20 inches for the month and getting us within a couple inches of seasonal averages. But much of the country is now facing drought after 2 consecutive months of well below average precipitation in many areas. In fact, parts of Texas and Oklahoma didn’t receive a drop during the month and now the country has the largest drought footprint in 4 years, with nearly 70% of the U.S. in some form of drought.
While significant snow occurred for some in January, others didn’t receive much. West central Minnesota was the big loser on snowfall with most areas just getting an inch or two in the month and are now largely snow free despite all of the cold air around. Most areas in Minnesota are running below average in the snow department… most are only a shade below average, but parts of the west have seen less than half their usual snow.