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Old 01-07-2016, 09:13 AM
10,194 posts, read 7,894,893 times
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We moved to Rochester area this summer from a southern state/city. I was super worried about the winter here, as I have never lived in a hard winter area. So I got all geared up for a tough winter. Everyone, all summer and fall long laughed and warned me how terrible it was going to be. How awful it is that it gets dark early. How dreary it is. How my rear wheel drive care will never work. How we will need sun lamps, etc. I was totally picturing scenes from Northern Exposure.

Then comes El Nino. So even the news is saying its much warmer and dryer then usual. We are mid January and only have had one big snow and a few dustings. We actually sleep with the window open a little bit (our house seems very air tight and it gets hot and stuffy). Most days are BEAUTIFUL! Truly beautiful. Its beautiful when its snowing, or when the sun is shining. The early darkness isn't so bad...just makes the kids ask for dinner earlier. We still aren't acclimated enough to have spent a lot of time exploring the great outdoors, but am going to give it a try this weekend with the kids (I want to get snow pants so I am warm like them). They play outside every day (all geared up in their snow pants and coats, etc). They never complain, they seem to really enjoy it. And my car is doing fine. Ive slipped a little here and there, but nothing earth shattering.

So how much worse is a "normal" winter? Does it snow more? More icy? More grey days? Painfully cold? More wind?
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Old 01-07-2016, 10:18 AM
Location: Anoka County, Minnesota
114 posts, read 56,527 times
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Honestly, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a "normal" winter in MN. 2012 was THE warmest winter I can recall in my 46 years.

The past two winters were brutal, to say the least. It had a lot of tried and true Minnesotans swearing they were going to once and for all leave this state.

Here is a pretty neat website that allows you to see the weather history for your area... Weather History Rochester, MN

Just for comparison, check out the differences between the past four Januarys...beginning with 2012, which was fabulous (I'm a runner, it was GREAT!)

ETA: ugh...seriously looking back at January 2014 and January 2015 in my area (I'm in the Twin Cities), I am wondering why WE are still here? Those average temperatures are hideous.
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Old 01-07-2016, 12:23 PM
Location: MN
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Winter ranges mightily.

They are defined by two areas:

1) When winter "begins" and when winter "ends". I define "begin" either when you get that first substantial snow fall that sticks around, or a sustained stretch of cold weather lasting 5-7 days and doesn't return back to the same level as it was before. "end" is defined by the final melt-out, or a stretch of 5-7 days of substantially warmer weather that then stays warmer than it was before the warm stretch

2) The other is stretches of cold weather. I'm talking about brutally cold weather (it's all relative) but stretches of 5-7 days of 15 degrees or lower. Some winters "aren't so bad" when there are only a couple of cold-streaks. The past few winters have been tough because it seemed like there would be 5-7 days of very cold weather, then only 3-4 days of moderate, then another 5-7 days of very cold weather. The frequency and length of these cold spells will really determine the harshness of a winter. Snowfall is also included in this.

I have seen Novembers be very moderate, with no snow, where the "beginning of winter" coming around mid-December and "ending" in mid-March. To me, this is ideal and represents more of a "normal" winter in the Twin Cities.

That said, I've also seen winters "begin" in early November, "ending" in mid-April. These are the worst, because of the length.

This year is unique in the sense that winter didn't really "begin" until January 1. Let's say el nino effects its "end" date, hypothetically, early-March, it'll make a very easy winter.

You can always pretty much count on December, January, February as being no-doubt weather months. November and March are wild cards. There have been blizzards on St. Patrick's Day and I have also had BBQs in the backyard with T-shirts on as well, so very hit or miss. (Same can be said for Thanksgiving)
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:13 AM
Location: Rochester, MN
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This winter has been a treat so far! It's great for playing out side. "Normal" as everyone else has said varies pretty dramatically. Drop the temps by 10 degrees and increase the wind a lot and you're a lot closer to normal.
Places to play outside:
Sledding - Judd park, Schmidt park, Eastwood park
Snowshoeing - Oxbow park, Chester Woods park
Cross county skiing - Quarry Hill park (and they have some equipment rentals available), Eastwood park, Chester Woods park
Ice Skating - many neighborhood parks, Soldiers field track
Glad to hear your first winter here is going well! The more you embrace it, the better it will be!
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:45 PM
Location: Anoka County, Minnesota
114 posts, read 56,527 times
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In 2013, Rochester also experienced the pleasure of an early-May snowstorm. IIRC, they received upwards of 12+ inches of snow.

What MNan doesn't love when that happens?!
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