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Is it ever going to snow with any oomph again in the Twin Cities?

We're deep into the dead of winter and there have been as many tornado outbreaks as there have been quality snowstorms in the Twin Cities area.

Since November, there have been a total of 25 days with measurable snowfall in the Twin Cities (specifically at MSP Airport). The largest was the 11.8 inches that fell during the Dec. 10-11 snowstorm, which is when Eagan and Woodbury got rocked with 20+ inches of snow. But aside from that whopper, it's been pathetic.

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The second biggest snowfall at MSP this winter was a measly 3.7 inches in mid-January.

Here are the 25 accumulating snowfalls at MSP this winter, in order of recency. It's nothing more than two dozen blips.

  • 1.1 on Feb. 13
  • 0.4 on Feb. 12
  • 0.1 on Feb. 11
  • 0.6 on Feb. 10
  • 0.5 on Feb. 6
  • 0.2 inches on Feb. 4
  • 0.3 inches on Jan. 24
  • 1.3 on Jan. 23
  • 2.3 on Jan. 22
  • 0.8 on Jan. 21
  • 3.7 on Jan. 14
  • 2.1 on Jan. 5
  • 0.4 on Dec. 31
  • 0.1 on Dec. 30
  • 2.2 on Dec. 28
  • 2.2 on Dec. 26
  • 0.6 on Dec. 21
  • 1.5 on Dec. 18
  • 0.2 on Dec. 16
  • 0.8 on Dec. 11
  • 11.0 on Dec. 10
  • 1.4 on Dec. 7
  • 0.1 on Dec. 5
  • 1.0 on Dec. 4
  • 1.2 on Nov. 13

Just two snowfalls of more 3 inches this entire winter in the heart of the Twin Cities. 

The biggest single day snowfall at MSP Airport in January 2019 was 2.6 inches. In 2020 it was 4.7 inches. In 2021 it was 4. 1 inches. That's four straight Januarys without a big snowstorm.

February hasn't been much different the last three years. In 2020, the top February snowfall at MSP was 4.8 inches. The biggest February 2021 snow was 2.1 inches. February 2019? Oh, that was a massive outlier with a record 39 inches of snow at MSP. 

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It sounds pitiful, but it's normal for the Twin Cities 

"Season to date, we are still a full two inches above normal for snowfall," says Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. "We’ve had 36.1 inches of snow compared to the normal 34.1 inches for this point in the season. Obviously we had a running start this year with nearly a foot of snow Dec. 10-11 and then tornadoes a few days later of course. It’s not as though snow just stopped however."

Looking at that list of 25 accumulating snowfalls above, you can get a view of what normal is. 

"Normally, to date, we should have about 10 snowfalls that are 1 inch or greater. This season we’ve had 12," explained Sundgaard. The same goes for 2-inch snowfalls. We've had six so far, which is exactly what the metro averages to date. There are typically three 3-inch snowfalls at this point of winter, and so far there have been just two in the Twin Cities. 

Sundgaard is looking at the potential of maybe an inch or so falling on Friday night, but that's pretty much it this week. 

Look at the American model in animated GIF form below. It shows a strong storm system missing Minnesota to the south this week, then a quick clipper moving through Minnesota Friday. But it's rather dry through at least early next week. 


So will we see a shift in our pattern? 

"The cold pattern has almost certainly cost us significant snowfalls. When we’re cold, the storm track and the larger moistures sources stay south (like will happen again on Thursday)," says Sundgaard. 

"There is some reason to believe, that just like in the start of winter, we could see an uptick again as we hit the end of the season. This is why some years (not all certainly) March can be a big snow month. If you subscribe to my PatreonI do seasonal and monthly outlooks and talk very much about this possibility of a potential increase in storminess late February into early March. Not only does climatology (statistics) support this, but especially in a year with a very pronounced 'mild, cold, mild' pattern."

Sundgaard pointed out that the models are hinting at increased storminess next week, but "if you're waiting for another foot of snow you probably are out of luck." 

"We forget that big snows actually aren’t that common here," he continued. "Take our 11.8 inches in December for example. We average a snow of 11+ inches only once every three years. In fact, we only average one snow of more than 6 inches in a season."

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