Climatologist: Powerful Winds Set This Winter Apart From Those Past

23 February 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some people love the late February snow, while others have their eyes on spring, now just a month away.

“The only weather I won’t run in is lightning. Anything else, if you dress properly, you’ll be OK and be careful of the ice too,” Dane Rauchenberg said.

The Tuesday snowstorm in Minneapolis didn’t stop Rauchenberg from running seven miles along the Mississippi River. He said he recently moved from Texas to Minnesota so he could experience various seasons.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources analyzes the severity of every winter on a snow and cold index graph.

“If you want to do winter recreation this winter it’s been very good,” said DNR Climatologist Peter Boulay.

This winter has 71 points so far. Last winter reached 68. Both are nowhere near the severe winter of 2014, which reached 207 points.

While the index doesn’t factor in wind, Boulay said the wind sets this year apart.

“We’ve seen wind gusts up to 61 mph in February at the Twin Cities airport, and we haven’t seen wind gusts that high since the 70s,” he said.

As for the cold, Boulay said January and February will be below normal, but December was above normal. He said we are reaching the point in the year when the sun is able to melt snow even below freezing.

“As bad as this winter has been, there’s been others a lot worse than this one not too long ago,” he said.

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