45 degrees forecast high temp at MSP Sunday afternoon
(50s possible in western Minnesota!)
25 degrees average high temp Sunday at MSP
+20 degrees vs. average!
7.9" Season to date snowfall at MSP
-8" snowfall vs. average season to date snowfall at MSP
34" snowfall by this date in 2010!
+26.1" snowfall to date in 2010 vs. this year!
+5.5 degrees November temps vs. average at MSP
+3.0 degrees December temps vs. average so far at MSP
What a difference a year makes!
The fall & winter so far in 2011 is turning out to be one of the mildest and least snowy starts to winter on record.
That's a stark contrast to 2010 which featured one of the snowiest starts to the winter season on record.
There are people on both "sides" of a mild, nearly snowless winter. There are those who benefit greatly from the increased mobility and lower heating bills. There are also those who make a living with snow, and those who enjoy the abundant recreational opportunities that snow provides.
To put it bluntly, there are real, economic "winners and losers" this year. I've listed my take on a few below... but I'm far more interested in how you feel about our Missouri like winter so far?
Let's see if we can reach a consensus this weekend, or if Minnesotans are divided on our "ideal" winter. Chime in!
City & County Governments - Last year Minneapolis had already declared 2 snow emergencies by this date. Each snow emergency can cost the city of St. Paul up to $500,000.
A winter like this saves cities and counties millions in snow plow driver overtime, salt costs, vehicle maintenance and other costs.
Homeowners and business: - Own or rent a home? Run a business? Paying for heat?
You're saving almost 20% on your heating bill this year.
Gas utilities use "Heating Degree Days" (HDD) to keep track of seasonal heating needs. The HDD is calculated by subtracting the day's average temps from 65 degrees. (That's a normal comfort level for homes) So if the average temp was 35 degrees on a given day, that would be 65-35=30 HDD.
In an average season (starting on July 1st) the Twin Cities has accumulated 2236 HDD by this date. This year we've had just 1854.
That's about 83% of average, or a savings of $17 for every $100 you spend on monthly heating costs!
Snowplow drivers who charge by the month: It's an annual gamble. "Do I pay my snowplow guy by the month or by the plow?" This year the guys who charge by the month are making bank to sit home and watch football.
Commuters and those with mobility challenges:
Remeber the number of nightmare rush hour commutes last winter? Remember the snow choked streets and sidewalks?
If you drive to work everyday you have to be happy about this winter so far. 'Nuff said.
Some Wildlife: It can be tough to find food in deep snow!
Resorts: It's a cliché but it's true. Resorts that run winter business centered on snowmobiles, cross country skiing and ice fishing love it cold & snowy. There's been little of either this year. You'll need to head to the Arrowhead or the lake effect snow belts of Wisconsin and Michigan's U.P to get decent snow.
Many of the resorts on Mille Lacs are still waiting for about 10" of ice to roll out the big fish houses this year. That's later than usual.
Sunset on Mille Lacs Friday. Image courtesy MNlakecams.com
Auto repair shops: last year's snow blitz produced early potholes, and accidents by the thousands. That was bank for auto repair and body shops. This year they'll have to wait.
Ski Areas: Yes, they can and are making good artificial snow. But business really gets booming after a good powdery snowfall. This year? Not so much.
Snowplow drivers who charge by the plow: Last year my neighbor, really great guy, and snow plow guru Howie clipped me for about 9 plow jobs. I haven't seen him this year. He's a great guy and I'm happy to have him plow my 2" threshold, but I'm not crying in my beer after last year's bill!
There are many more angles on this year's version of "Winter Light" so far, both economic and social and with everyday life. What's yours?
Have a great weekend!