46° and Thunderstorms at 4:43am in Pine City

It’s Been A Real Minnesota Winter So Far

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 at 6:13 am

The calendar said yesterday (Tuesday, Dec.21) was the first official day of Winter, but common sense and the amount of snow on the ground tell us Minnesotans differently. Winter has already been here for a while, and this year’s winter is turning out to be a record setter.

Crews in the Twin Cities have never worked harder than they are this season at are continuing to plow and remove snow. The latest storm, that dropped about 6 inches on Monday, has triggered the 5th Snow Emergency of the season, the most on-record ever before Christmas. Minneapolis is now just one Snow Emergency away from tying the record total of six Snow Emergencies, but those came over the span of an entire season (2000-2001).

In 1991-1992, despite the ocean of snow left by the historic Halloween blizzard, only four Snow Emergencies were declared and all of them happened before Dec. 31.

Statistics say the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area has received more than 28 inches of snow in December, making it the third snowiest December recorded in the area. With that much already on the ground, and more possible, city officials are reminding property owners to clear off their sidewalks the best they can, as soon as possible.

While it is amazing to watch the snow pile up, it’s also very costly. Plow crews have been on the roads around the clock seemingly for weeks now, and county budgets are being stretched.  The head of Anoka County’s Highway Department told KARE 11 that his county is hoping for a clean two weeks to end the year.

The county runs on a “calendar year” budget and the recent deluge of snow is costing the county plenty. To give you an idea, the past couple of snow events have cost counties all over the metro countless amounts in overtime as municipalities pay plow drivers. In Anoka County alone, they have dumped $120,000 worth of salt on slick roads, and they’re hoping they won’t have to order more this fiscal year.

On a state level, MnDOT was just catching up to the massive Dec. 11 snowfall when another dose of snow hit the metro on Monday. KARE 11 reports the department has been running a full crew, non-stop, for 10 days now.

Christmas eve is on Friday, and there’s no concern from Santa – he will have a white Christmas this year.

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