We knew we had a decent-sized snowfall headed our way early in the week here in the Twin Cities.  Advance estimates put the snowfall between eight to ten inches from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning, which would test the snowplows’ ability to keep traffic moving in the metro area but would be a rather routine if heavy snowfall for this area.  Instead, Minnesota got near-whiteout conditions and double the predicted snowfall, making this the snowiest winter in almost 30 years and the second-snowiest on record — with a month left to go:

Many colleges in Minnesota and some public schools intended to hold classes Monday, a national holiday. That long-ago scheduling decision was trumped by up to 17 inches of snow Sunday gumming up the roads and keeping many thousands of additional students away from their pursuit of knowledge.

The snowfall scoreboard displays some impressive numbers, the types of tallies we’ve been to used to seeing this winter season. As of daybreak: 17 inches in Eden Prairie, 16 in Bloomington, 13.3 in St. Paul, 12.3 in Minneapolis, 11.2 in Chanhassen, 11 in Red Wing, 8.6 in New Hope, 8 in Sauk Rapids, 7 in Isanti and 4 in Kimball.

The Strib’s meteorologist, Paul Douglas, put it in perspective last night:

If we pick up 10″ from this storm (pretty likely) we’ll have the unique distinction of living through the second snowiest winter (to date) since 1891. Only 1982 had more snow as of now (76″). Take a bow – this is turning into a truly historic winter for snow.

As of last night, when the page was updated, it showed Minneapolis with 12″ of snow and a season total of 73″.  That was about the same total in the city reported this morning, too, so 73″ is where we sit now.  More snow is predicted at the end of the week, and March is usually our heaviest snow month.

The snow dump will have ramifications when winter finally ends:

At Montevideo, in western Minnesota, 10.5 inches by Sunday evening added to concerns about spring flooding.

Expect to hear more about flooding in April, or perhaps even late March.

Yesterday, I had the misfortune of getting caught in the snowstorm when it hit.  We went out for breakfast and figured we could make it to church before the snowfall got bad enough to get off the road.  Instead, it hit suddenly and in full force while we ate breakfast, and it took an hour to return home after driving 15 minutes or less to get to the restaurant.  The 40-mph wind didn’t quite bring us to whiteout conditions, but it reduced visibility to about 150 yards or so.

To get a perspective on how much snow fell and how big the drifts became, here’s the view from my deck:

The drift is about waist-high on the deck, and it took three passes with the snowblower over a 16-hour period to clear the driveway.

Note: All conclusions reached about global warming after the big winter storms in the Upper Midwest are the responsibility of the reader.

Tags: Minnesota