Saturday, January 06, 2007

There is snow in Minnesota

Rumors to the contrary, there's snow in Minnesota in January!
Trail snow depth: Koochiching State Forest - Tilson Creek Ski Trail
Local snow depth is 6-8".
Wow. The trail is even open -- with a 2" depth. All you need to do is drive a few hundred miles north of the twin cities and go east of International Falls, once known as the ice box of the nation.

Otherwise the state's beautiful web site for snow conditions shows brown everywhere, and almost every Nordic ski trail is closed. None of the non-refrigerated ice rinks in the metro area are open.

I read that this is an El Nino year, so maybe there's hope for something 3 years from now -- but by then the net warming and drying trends may make this year the norm. The new Minnesota climate feels to the casual observer to be dry throughout the winter and winter weather that feels about 5-8 degrees warmer than most of the 20th century. Sure, the state web site says the average temp is only up 1 degrees F, but that's the entire state and the year-round average. For example, the MSP summers seem milder than they used to be, which would mask the dramatic winter changes.

I'd like to see a fifty year chart of average January temperatures in the Twin City metro area. I'll keep looking ...

Update 1/8/07: This UMN climatology page is just what I was looking for. MSP residents live in a Missouri climate nowadays, but there there were warm Januarys between 1890 and 1940 -- if you believe the old temperature records.

Update 1/8/07: Several stores are sold out of replacement basketball backboards in the TCs. BB is one of the few outdoor activities that still works around here now ...

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