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Here's how much snow fell in Minnesota; blame the 'dry slot' for less

Totals of 4-7 inches were about it. Way less than many thought they'd get.

Waking up to a lot less snow than you were expecting? Blame the "dry slot." 

It's essentially dry air that pushes into a storm system. In this case, the dry slot really cut down on the 7-9 inches of snow the National Weather Service (NWS) was forecasting for the Twin Cities Friday-Saturday. 

"Where's my snow?" the NWS Twin Cities said in a tweet. "A dry slot is now moving across southwest MN that is quickly changing snow over to freezing drizzle. This freezing drizzle will last for a few hours before snow over eastern SD moves back through, switching us back to snow for the rest of the storm." 


The weather service predicted a dry slot to create freezing drizzle and cut down snow totals in far southern Minnesota, but this time the dry slot pushed further north, resulting in lower snow totals all the way up through the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. 

The precipitation was still there, with two-tenths of an inch of ice resulting in Chanhassen because of the freezing drizzle. Had that drizzle fallen as snow, snow totals would've been higher for folks waking up Saturday morning. 

"What happens is you need saturation at temps colder than -12C to get snowflakes," explains senior meteorologist Bill Borghoff. "If it dries out aloft where temps are at or colder than that temp, it isn't cold enough to freeze pure water. So it falls until it hits something to freeze on and then instantly turns to ice."

The end result is the Arrowhead of Minnesota and the North Shore getting exactly what was forecast (8-12 inches) while the rest of Minnesota got less. 

Here's the official definition of a dry slot from the NWS: "A zone of dry (and relatively cloud-free) air which wraps east- or northeastward into the southern and eastern parts of a synoptic scale or mesoscale low pressure system. A dry slot generally is seen best on satellite photographs."

Snow totals

Click here for an interactive map to see snowfall totals around Minnesota. We'll update these numbers are they are updated by the National Weather Service (it's still snowing for some, especially in northern Minnesota). 

14 inches - Finland, MN

12.8 inches - Hovland (near the city)

11.1 inches - Two Harbors

10.6 inches - Lutsen

10.5 inches - Grand Marais

9.8 inches - 7 miles SW of Grand Rapids

9.5 inches - Crookston

8.8 inches - Cook

8.5 inches - Bigfork

8.4 inches - Keewatin

8 inches - Chisholm, Nisswa, McKinley, Taconite

7.6 inches - Brainerd

7.5 inches - Pine River, Hancock

7 inches - Orr, Shaw, Ely, Cloquet, Nemadji, Brewster, Slayton, Moose Lake, Coleraine, Embarrass

6.3 inches - Mora

6.2 inches - Redwood Falls, Fort Ripley

6 inches - Duluth, Hermantown, Kimball, Olivia, Winger, Mankato, St. James, Milaca, Montevideo, Worthington

5.8 inches - Richfield

5.5 inches - Minneota

5.2 inches - Edina, Plymouth, St. Francis

5 inches - Minneapolis, Roseville, Long Prairie, Brainerd, Little Falls, Paynesville, Watertown, New Ulm, New Prague

4.9 inches - MSP Airport

4.8 inches - Victoria, St. Joseph

4.7 inches - Hastings, Rice

4.6 inches - Chanhassen

4.5 inches - Rosemount, Red Wing, Le Center, Owatonna, Pine River, St. Peter, Prior Lake, Albert Lea, Fairmont, Austin

4.4 inches - Rochester Airport, Benson

4.3 inches - New Brighton, Cannon Falls

4.2 inches - Bloomington

4.1 inches - Waconia

4 inches - Long Lake, Excelsior, Winona, Rushford, Cottonwood

3.8 inches - Chisago City

3.5 inches - Eden Prairie, Columbia Heights, Stillwater, Mound

3.4 inches - North St. Paul, Jordan

3.3 inches - Woodbury, Chaska

3.2 inches - Lino Lakes, Blaine

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