An Entire Winter’s Worth of Snow at Duluth by February 23! Less Snow Fell, but Area Impacted Was Larger
The Twin Ports were just brushed by a massive snowstorm, one that didn't live up to all the hype (comparisons with the '91 Halloween Superstorm were probably a bad idea - that blizzard was a once-in-a-lifetime event) but the storm was impressive nonetheless.
Minnesota's Undisputed Snow Capital
As of noon yesterday our winter snowfall at KDLH was 92.1", according to the Duluth National Weather Service. During an average winter (an entire winter) 90.2" of white gold falls on the Twin Ports. Wow.
6.2" snow fell at Duluth on Thursday, a daily record for February 23.
According to Minnesota's Senior Climatologist, Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld, initial estimates are that 25,000 to 30,000 square miles of Minnesota picked up a foot of snow or more. "This was, by all accounts, a very large snowstorm. It's a rare specimen" Blumenfeld said in an email.
How much fell across the Northland? We were on the northern edge of a broad shield of snow. Only an inch or two fell on the Iron Range, but some 10" totals were observed in northern Wisconsin, with generally 6-8" in the immediate Twin Ports area. A significant storm, but hardly historic.
The Bigger Picture
Heaviest snows fell over southern Minnesota and Wisconsin, with 26" reported at Benoit, Wisconsin and some 20" totals at Tracy and Apple Valley, Minnesota - in the Twin Cities metro. Check out snowfall totals for yourself (zoom in our out - this works for the entire USA) by clicking on this handy snowfall total map from NOAA.
Twin Cities Snowfall
- A total of 13.4" fell at MSP International Airport, the 23rd biggest snowstorm since 1884, and the second biggest February snowfall on record.
- This is the 17th snowiest winter on record for MSP, with snow totals in the Twin Cities running 33" above average.
Why were amounts less than originally predicted? The answer is complex, but in a nutshell it all came down to timing. A blizzard is a delicate dance, with just the right amount of northern cold and southern moisture arriving at the perfect time. If the ingredients show up at just the right time, voila!, you have yourself a major wind-whipped dumping. If any of these elements are late, if the storm isn't phased properly, amounts won't be as great. Check out a good explainer from the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Most of us would argue that 92" snow by late February is...good enough. But wait, there's more! At the rate we're going I wouldn't be surprised to see another 20-30" of snow before robins start showing up in your yard.
Let it snow!