Snow drought, strange January weather puzzles Minnesotans

Many Minnesotans may find this milder winter to be a blessing. But, the colder temperatures heading our way is just another chapter in what’s become a very strange January.

Due to this snow drought, plowing companies have had an unusual season.

“In a normal January, we’d be fixing our broken trucks, washing the salt off our trucks …we’d be giving our guys time off between snow storms,” said Charlie Britt with The Grounds Crew, a plow and landscaping company.

Britt said he's never seen his snowplow trucks this clean in January.

“If this would continue the next three, four weeks, we’d probably be concerned, but it’s a welcome break right now,” he said. 

Britt isn't just sitting back doing nothing; even without the snow, he's been getting calls for work he's never really had this time of year.

“A landscape estimate in January is very strange, but yeah, we did one Monday morning. It was a patio and some sod work. I think the snow has melted and they can see the landscaping and it’s on their mind,” he said.

FOX 9 Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard has a name for this: calendar confusion.

“This January is very un-January-like,” he said. “We’ve had 11 inches of snow; we’re 13 inches below average. I think a lot of people, if it’s January, February, March, they say, ‘let it be winter, we’re not going golfing anytime soon so let it be winter,’ but that’s not really happening.”

So when will our snowy winter be back? Ian said it will reappear - eventually.

“I think people tend to get a little worried, ‘what does that mean for the spring, what does it mean for our farming friends, what does it mean for rivers and lakes and streams and cabin life’ – all of that does go into what we talk about this time of year. The possibility of a snow drought, I think what I would tell people now is don’t be worried, there’s plenty of winter left.”

Even Britt knows this winter break will come to an end soon enough.

“Our ideal is probably a snowstorm every 10-14 days, but if we got a ton of snow end of January we’d welcome it,” he said.