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By the numbers: Minnesota's brutal winter

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FOX 9's Ian Leonard has calculated out a fun fact about this long cold winter: If you add up all the hours that the Twin Cities spent below zero it would tally out to 20.1 full days of subzero misery.

Sure, winter weather still holds a frigid grip on the state, but there's light at the end of the ice-encrusted tunnel – so it's not too early to consider a few other numbers that help put the season in context:

– 50, number of days in the Twin Cities this winter that dipped below zero, well double the average of 21 (but short of the record 68, KARE 11 reports). There have only been four winters with more subzero days.

– 9th, this meteorological winter's rank on the coldest-ever list for the Twin Cities (by average temperature: 9.7), according to the National Weather Service list.

– 20 percent, hike in average heating bills in the metro this winter, compared to last year, the Pioneer Press reported.

– 24, deepest snow depth in inches for the metro this winter (Feb. 21). The last time it was that deep: Jan. 26, 1982 (Pioneer Press).

– 192, this winter's rank on the misery index, well into the "severe" range and the highest since 1986. The index from the Minnesota State Climatology Office considers subzero days and snowfall, among other factors.

– 95.5, percent of Lake Superior that has frozen over, the most in two decades, promising a difficult start to the Great Lakes shipping season, the Star Tribune notes.

– 2nd, this winter's rank on the list of Duluth's coldest ever, with an average temperature of 3.85 degrees, just slightly above the record set in 1874-75. And March is in like a lion: Duluth just set a low-temperature record for March 3 at 23 degrees below zero.

– 4th, this winter's rank on the list of St. Cloud's coldest ever, with an average of 5.5 degrees, the St. Cloud Times reported. It was the third-snowiest winter in St. Cloud.

– Minus-44 degrees, temperature in Embarrass yesterday, the Duluth News Tribune reported. On. MARCH. 3rd.

Enough of the grim numbers. Here's hopeful prose:

"O, wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
– Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)

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