Predictably perhaps, Minnesota weather ranks among the least predictable

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Those of us who live here might have forecast this. But when a well-known number cruncher sat down to calculate where America's most unpredictable weather is found, Minnesota and some of neighbors ranked near the top of the list.

At his FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver analyzed weather records and determined that seven of the eight most volatile weather markets in the country are in Minnesota or an adjacent state.

Duluth was the only Minnesota city in that group, placing sixth. But Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Houghton were also among the wildest half-dozen. Bismark and Aberdeen were right behind.

And the grand champion is a locale that may have been named for how quickly the weather changes: Rapid City, South Dakota.

Among the country's 50 largest metro areas, Silver found the Twin Cities to have the third most volatile weather.

Silver arrived at his rankings by comparing daily weather patterns with the long-term averages in the same area. So while Honolulu deviates very little from its customary weather pattern, Rapid City is prone dramatic swings away from its average.

MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner says the volatility of the Upper Midwest is not news to forecasters. He says within the profession Minnesota is known as "the Super Bowl of weather."

A stretch of championship-caliber meteorology came along last April, when Minnesota Weather Blog reminds us a snowstorm and 60-degree temperatures arrived in quick succession.

Silver also looked at precipitation levels and determined that Houghton – famous for its lake effect snows – is the least predictable.

In a follow-up to Silver's study that might border on hair-splitting, bloggers at the Washington Post argued that he didn't truly measure the most unpredictable weather. The Capital Weather Gang says a real gauge of unpredictability would involve looking at how much the local forecast deviates from the weather that actually arrives.

Meanwhile, some in South Dakota are reveling in their top-of-the-heap status. KELO of Sioux Falls noted the state was also recently named the second most generous in its contributions to charities – demonstrating that it's a state of big hearts and wild weather.

Next Up

Klobuchar and Trump

Klobuchar reacts to report Trump plotted against his attorney general

The NYT story alleges further tactics to overturn the election.

snow, plow

Snowy Saturday: Here's how much snow is forecast in Minnesota

Snow will reach the metro area by the early afternoon.

Cam Talbot

Wild improve to 4-1 with victory over Dubnyk, Sharks

The 4-1 win gives the Wild four victories in five games to start the season.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice, Allina Health CEO found dead in Iowa

The 21-year-old was found dead in the parking lot of a sorority, according to police.

Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 8.42.40 PM

Federal charges: MN marijuana lobbyist threatened U.S. representative

"I want you to be as scared as possible," the voicemail allegedly says.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Wisconsin Republicans aim to end governor's mask mandate

They've introduced a resolution to remove the governor's emergency powers.

Ted Schweich

Community group hopes to install billboard to get neighbor a kidney

A group called "Team Ted" aims to raise $5,000 to find their friend a kidney donor.

Andrew Palmer

Charges: Coach raped teenage girl on Minnesota basketball team

The 33-year-old head coach has been charged in connection to the alleged crimes.

radio station, microphone

WCCO Radio's program director leaves the company

It's not clear why John Hanson and the station parted ways.

Related

Ranking: Minnesota 'least miserable' state

Things are pretty good in the upper Midwest, according to Bloomberg, which has tallied a list of most and least miserable states based on 13 factors, including poverty rates, air pollution, people with health care, income equality and employment. The most miserable: Mississippi.

Cravaack ranked least conservative among Minn. Republicans in Congress

An influential conservative outside group ranks first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack as the least conservative of the four Republicans in Minnesota's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives based on his voting record in 2011.