A to Z 2014: Winter

(An A to Z Challenge entry)


Minnesotans are notorious using the weather as common small talk conversation. I am sure other people elsewhere use it too, but not nearly as much or as often as Minnesotans. And the reason I say that is because how many places do you know can change 50-70 degrees overnight? It is actually a regular occurrence here, and it happens year round.

And this winter was no different. We had our worst and coldest Minnesotan winter in 35 years. Here are some stats according to the Minnesota DNR:

The winter of 2013-14 from December-February in the Twin Cities was the coldest Meteorological Winter in 35 years. It also points out that February 2014 wound up being in a three-way tie for the 7th coldest and was also the 6th snowiest.

Coldest Winters in the Twin Cities: 1872-73 to 2013-14

     Winter          Avg Temp (F)      Rank

1874-1875     4.0     1
1886-1887     5.7     2
1935-1936     7.3     3
1872-1873     7.9     4
1903-1904     8.4     5
1916-1917     8.5     6
1882-1883     9.2     7
1978-1979     9.4     8
2013-2014     9.7     9
1887-1888     10.0    10

Here are some photos shared with the local news station during our blizzard on February 20th.Thanks to the four Minnesotans who submitted these photos to WCCO to share (and now I am borrowing to use!).


Taken in Hopkins, MN by Chuck Heubach..


Taken in Inver Grove Heights, MN by Mary Hillegas.


Taken in Green Isle, MN by Mike Westphalen.


Taken in Goodhue, MN by Sue Gorman.

These photos do a good job of showing how much snow we got on that particular blizzard, but is also a good representation of how much snow we have gotten in several of the other blizzards this winter. Here is a graph to show just how much snow we have gotten (recorded at the MSP International Airport). It does a good job of comparing our snowfalls this year to last year, as well as comparing it to the long term snowfall average.


And every time it snowed, Minnesotans got crankier and crankier. I felt bad for Jak because he has to shovel the apartment complexes’ sidewalks and one of the buildings is on a corner lot, which means twice as many paths.

But worse than the snow were the temperatures. We spent 53 days this winter (December – February) at 0°F or colder, making this winter tied at 5th on the books for coldest winters. We spent 17 days straight (January 26 – February 11) below zero. That is a long ass time. And while those are the minimum temperatures for any given day, when you have a -20 to -30 windchill, it really doesn’t matter that the temperature is in reality.Windchill (for those who live in balmy weather and never experience such cold temperatures where this term is used) is what the air temperature feels like to the body, especially exposed skin. Windchill, like its name implies, it determined when wind or other factors involved makes the temperature feel chillier than what the thermometer reads.

So yeah, this winter has been brutal. I would use “was”, but I have learned in my 28 years living in Minnesota, to not count your chickens before they hatch. Last year we had a snowstorm the first week of May, and just last week we have a blizzard that dumped 6-18 inches of snow on us (depending where you live). I want to believe this treacherous winter is behind us, but until we have more than three days at 55-60°+F in a row, I won’t speak too loudly.

How are the winters where you are from? Have you ever experienced a Minnesota Winter? 


Posted in A to Z Challenge
4 comments on “A to Z 2014: Winter
  1. Raquel says:

    Holy crap. I don’t envy you guys at all.

    I grew up in– wait for it– on a beach in south FL.

    So… yes, I grew up in a place where people throw on their hoodies and scarves and boots at 70 degrees F.

    On the extreme though, we had some very hot times. Like 17 days in a row of over 100degree heat with 10000% humidity. I’m not complaining. Since I grew up in it, I have a strange need to be in intense heat once in a while. I visited a sauna nightly when I had access to one in one of my universities.

    Spent my first winter in Kansas City when I was 18 and it was the first time I’d ever seen snow. It was a fairly mild winter but I do remember desperate times when we didn’t see the sun for weeks.

    And now having spent a winter in NY, a fairly brutal one (not comparable to yours but brutal for NYC), yes. I realize I have to live South. I spent the better part of this winter banging my head against the window and I’m not interested in keeping that up for any number of years. Husband and I are definitely moving South for our forever home.

  2. kborman says:

    Ah yes. Whenever the south gets hit with a snowstorm and they all panic because they cannot drive through the mess — well all of us in MN chuckle a little bit. An inch of snow in the South creates a frenzy equivalent to 18 inches here.

    We even had like 5 days where schools closed. Not because of the snow, mind you, but because of the -40°F windchill, and it was simply too cold for the buses to run. That’s a first!

    You what’s the best? We all bitch and complain about the weather, but MN has the highest retention rate for those born in the state.We ALL stay here. It’s like we forget every year just how bad it gets.

    I hear ya about the lack of sun. We hibernate, literally, in the winter — when the sun sets just past 4 pm, and it is dark outside when we wake up in the morning for work. But we all struggle with our seasonal depression together!

    Though, I cannot imagine the holidays without snow. Just seems unreal!

  3. You wrote a whole post about weather! Wink. I die for snow. Just like a small child, still. It’s just magical to me.

    • kborman says:

      You’re right, it was a double W post. Snow is pretty the first few times it falls each winter, and then pretty when we would get a sparkly dusting. But not so magical when we first get it November 5 and are still getting blizzards on April 16. 😉

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