MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Here’s another statistic that just proves that this Minnesota winter has been perfectly average. While it may feel snowier in some cases and colder in others, it has been a pretty “average” Minnesota winter. This not only rings true for the amount of snow we’ve seen, less than 6 inches below the seasonal average with 5 weeks of snow season to go, but also for how long it has sat on the ground.
The national, and maybe the world, opinion of Minnesota is that it’s this frozen tundra that gets hundreds of inches of snow every year. While this can be the case, it is often not true. Minnesota typically gets plenty of very small storms every winter. Lots of ones, twos, and threes, eventually add up to our average of 54 inches. But the big difference between Minnesota and many other spots of the country that can get mammoth snows, is it falls and the typically stays for the duration of the winter. This can make it seem like it snows far more than it really does.
Minnesota is one of the only non-mountainous states that can hang on to at least 1 inch of snow cover more than a hundred days out of the year on average. The only other states are our neighbors; North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. For the metro, we average right about 95 days of at least 1 inch of snow on the ground every year. For reference, place like Chicago end up with about 55 on average, New York city with about 40, and Kansas City with roughly 25.
This year, the metro has now tallied 104 days with at least 1” of snow on the ground, including 67 straight. We had a break in our 1”+ of snow cover for all of one day in January. For Eau Claire though, it’s been 102 straight days with 1”+ of snow, that has now ended. And for St. Cloud, it’s down a little more at 94.
But much like everything else in Minnesota, our snow cover can vary wildly. The record longest consecutive 1”+ streak is more than 4 months for the Twin Cities… roughly 130 days. For comparison sake, northern Canada’s record is more than double that. See… it could always be worse.