MAP: Current Minnesota snow cover - KMSP-TV

MAP: Current Minnesota snow cover

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Meteorologist Cody Matz Meteorologist Cody Matz

With temperatures as far below average as they have been since the start of winter, almost every single flake that has fallen the last 2 months or so, is still on the ground in its solid form -- snowpack.

With snowfall running at or even slightly above average for most locations, there is plenty of snow on the ground. But just because we have seen nearly 40 inches of snow this winter, doesn't mean that our current snowpack is 40".

Because of gravity, snow will condense over time typically become about half the height it was when it fell...of course that also depends on its snow ratio.

But without getting too complex, a typical January snow of 6 inches will turn into about a 3 inch snowpack in a few days. Then, if you add above freezing temperatures to the mix, the snowpack dwindles further.

But not because it's melting into creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, but because it melting into itself, becoming a more dense version which will drop the overall height of the snow but without losing any water. That's why snow eventually turns to a more ice like substances when it's melting.

Eventually though, if temperatures are warm enough, long enough, then the snow will hit a critical point where it can't handle any more water and the liquid starts to flow out of it. This is often why there is a delay in the rise of our bodies of water with the seeming "end" of our snow melt.

So here is your current snow cover followed by how it compares to the average snow cover for this time of year.

The metro has a snowpack generally between 12 and 18 inches, which according to the second image is about in the 80th percentile. This means just 20% of winters in history have had a higher snow pack then we have right now at this point in the year.

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