Watch CBS News

Good Question: Does Early Snow Mean A Long Winter?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Monday's snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas just north of the Twin Cities.

That snow hit the area early this year. In a typical year, the first inch of snow in the metro area won't fall until Nov. 18.

So, could this year's early snowfall tell us anything about the rest of the winter?

"It's kind of complicated," WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer said. "Looking back at the past, we've seen it go both ways."

In 2010, the Twin Cities saw almost 8 inches on Nov. 13 and ended up with a record 87 inches that winter.

But, in 2005, it snowed just over 5 inches in November and ended up with just 44 inches that season.

The average winter snowfall in the Twin Cities: 55 inches.

"They're just not consistent enough," Shaffer said. "It's so hit or miss and, sadly, we've been hitting the snow and cold lately."

So, will an earlier snowfall lead to a longer snow cover, given that many in the north metro might not see grass again until the spring?

"If we get hit hard in November, often times that leads to an above-average snowfall for the entire winter," Shaffer said. "Not always, though."

On average, it snows an average of 10 inches in November. The first day of continuous snow cover (defined as 1 inch) generally occurs on Nov. 21 and ends April 2. On average, it lasts 100 days.

The record for snow cover in the Twin Cities is 136 days back in the mid-1960s. In 2013-14, the snow cover lasted 115 days, which tied for the 8th all-time highest. But, it wasn't until Dec. 4, 2013, that snow started to stick around.

For more information about the continuous snow cover, you can visit the DNR's website.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.