Thanks to our big time warm up the last week or so, our current snow cover for most metro locations has gone from 16 inches earlier in the week to half a foot this morning. This is the official measurement at the airport so what you see in your backyard will vary with areas of the north metro likely still coming in around the 1 foot mark. More impressive though, is that parts of western Minnesota are now snowless… the same areas that had 8 or more inches less than a week ago. It's actually really good news that the majority of us will stay below freezing this weekend, to prevent a large rise in river levels because of the melting snow… but we all know that flood season isn't far away.
Here is a comparison of the snow we had on the ground on March 6th and the snow we had on the ground just a week later on March 13th. It won't match with our current numbers because it won't take into account the melting that occurred in the latter half of the day Thursday and all of Friday, but it shows you just how fast things are dwindling.
Notice the bare ground in western Minnesota… the metro losing about half of its snow cover… and even northern Minnesota starting to lose a few inches. So how do we know how much we lose on a day to day basis? Well that's where climate data and the National Weather Service comes into play.
The National Weather Service has a measurement tool at official sites that will measure the current snow cover at that location. Clearly, snow cover can be drastically different from one mile to the next or one surface to the next, but this gives us the best idea for how much snow is currently on the ground. We can see these measurements by utilizing the preliminary climatological data on the National Weather Service web site that you see below.
There is a lot happening on here so let me explain. First, the two columns of numbers I want you to focus on are the ones circled in red and blue… just ignore everything else. The red column indicates the depth of the snow cover taken at dawn each day starting with the 1st of the month at the top and working downward. So, on the 1st of the month, there was 21 inches of snow on the ground, and now there is only 6. The second column, which is circled in blue, are the high temperatures for each day, once again starting with the 1st at the top and working downward. Notice the highs the last few days in the 40's and low 50's. That would explain the rapid decrease in snow cover across much of the area. But, there is a little snow in the forecast with a mixed bag of precipitation possible next week. We will focus on that potential storm coming up in later posts.