Scarcity of Winter Snow in the Twin Cities

January 22, 2003

Subject: Scarcity of Winter Snow in the Twin Cities

The cancellation of the Winter Carnival Giant Snow Slide is a reflection of how 
sparse Twin Cities snowfall has been this winter. As of midnight last evening 
(Tuesday, January 21), the official Twin Cities seasonal snowfall total was a
 meager 6.7 inches. Official Twin Cities snowfall observations are made by the 
National Weather Service at their Chanhassen office.

The 6.7 inches total to date represents the fifth lowest seasonal snowfall total 
(through January 21) of the modern Twin Cities record. The modern Twin Cities 
snowfall data base covers 112 winters (1891-1892 through present), and includes 
data gathered at the downtown Minneapolis office of the U.S. Weather Bureau, the 
Twin Cities International Airport office of the U.S. Weather Bureau (later to be 
named the National Weather Service), and the Chanhassen office of the National 
Weather Service.

Here are the other snow-scarce winters through this point in the winter season:

                  Seasonal Snowfall total 
Rank   Season       through January 21
 1    1980-1981          6.0 inches        (entire winter total = 21.1 inches)
 2t   1958-1959          6.3 inches        (entire winter total = 19.1 inches)
 2t   1930-1931          6.3 inches        (entire winter total = 14.2 inches)
 4    1960-1961          6.5 inches        (entire winter total = 40.2 inches)
 5    2002-2003 *        6.7 inches        (entire winter total =    ? inches)

last season (2001-2002) 25.4 inches        (entire winter total = 66.0 inches)
largest total to date   63.1 inches        (entire winter total = 84.1 inches)

The record low seasonal snowfall total through the end of January is 6.9 inches (1897-1898). 

Here are the lowest seasonal snowfall totals for an entire winter:

                  Seasonal Snowfall total 
Rank   Season        for entire winter
 1    1930-1931         14.2 inches
 2    1894-1895         16.2 inches
 3    1986-1987         17.4 inches
 4    1967-1968         17.5 inches
 5    1958-1959         19.1 inches


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Last modified: January 24, 2002