Twin Cities snow drought continues

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With just over a foot of snow seen so far this season in the Twin Cities metro, it has been a dismal year.

It is not exactly record-breakingly dry yet, but considering what has happened in much of the northern United States already this season, the metro’s snow drought has become practically historic. 

Nearly every single spot in the northern U.S. between Lake Michigan and the Rockies has seen more snow now than the Twin Cities so far this season. This is something that I am not sure has happened before by this late into January. And if it has, it certainly does not happen very often.

There have been years where we have seen even less snow to this point in the season, but in those years, most other locations in the northern U.S. are also just as dry because of the overall pattern in North America. 

But this year, every major city has had more snow now: Milwaukee, Chicago, Green Bay, Duluth, Des Moines, St Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Omaha - the list goes on. We average over a foot of snow in the month of January alone, but have only seen a little over an inch now, which is one of the top ten driest on record.

It is not a snow drought for everyone statewide as much of northern and southern Minnesota have seen pretty normal snowfall to this point in the year. Duluth now with over 40 inches is pretty typical, with the North Shore getting close to 60 inches. Even the Interstate 90 corridor is in pretty good shape, with 20-30-inches area wide.

It is just central Minnesota and western Wisconsin that have managed to miss almost every major storm so far. While many will try to point to something like the weak El Niño or climate change or something else, there is no direct proof of that at this time. Quite likely, it is just sheer dumb luck that has pushed storms around us.

If the Twin Cities' snow was already done for the season, this would be the least snowiest on record for the metro beating out the winter of 1888-1889 by about 2 inches.

Now, clearly that is likely not the case, especially with a good shot at some snow Sunday into Monday. Just puts things into perspective that year-to-year variability of snow in the Upper Midwest can be pretty drastic.