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glen
11-21-2007, 10:49 AM
Jon,
My question is, in your opinion or maybe scientific data, why do we not get snow here in MN like back in the 60's? I remember going to the farm to dig my Grandma and Grandpa out of the farm house. Literaly digging down to get to the front door. Just wondering if there is a real reason or maybe Ma Nature was just having fun with us back then.

john
11-21-2007, 11:25 AM
Glen.

I get asked this quite a bit and I think the answer is two fold.

1) The weather is never the same from year to year or even decade to decade. I don't know if it is fair to say it runs in true cycles all the time, but if you look at the numbers there are certainly times of more snow and cold and times of less for anywhere that sees winter in the world. As to the causes of that, the answer is still blowing in the wind somewhere and we have yet to determine what controls the weather on a seasonal or longer scale. Currently we seem to be in a trough or low point when it comes to cold and snow for many areas of the NW Midwest.

2) The second part to my answer is that I believe our memories of what things were like back many years ago gets a little biased. If you look at the actual numbers from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's we are not WAY below average for snowfall for anywhere in the Midwest. There are the years that produce bumper crops of cold and snow for certain locales and I think folks remember them and automatically associate them with "normal" weather for an area when in fact they are actually the extreme.

So in closing I think there is just a combination of the two going on right now. A warmer and less snowy trend the last several years, combined with the wrong impression of what is actually "normal" or average for a particular location.

-John

ed
11-21-2007, 12:51 PM
i feel in chicagoland that we may get our "average snowfall" for a season but the temperature inbetween the rounds of snow rises and it melts away. my childhood memories seem to recall colder constant temps so the snow always stuck around for the season.i do remember numerous years shoveling the drive and the mounds along it getting higher and higher. now i just wait a few days and it melts away. waaaaaaa!

john
11-21-2007, 01:08 PM
Well Ed, we may be talking about different time periods here, but I grew up in Chicago, basically spending my life there from 1966 to 1999 and being a hockey player we always wished for "outdoor" ice because it was free and we could go skate on it at any time. My memories from my growing up is that in many years it never got cold enough long enough for them to even attempt to make a rink and in the majority of the years that they did make outdoor ice, it did not last for more than a few weeks before a thaw came and turned things to mud.

There were a few (2 or 3) years that stand out. 77-78 and 78-79 as the big ones and then I believe 82-83 was pretty good for snow and cold. I remember some great outdoor ice and some big snow banks from shoveleing in thsoe years.

The rest stunk. Heck, the main reason I even came to vacation the UP in the first place was to experience a place that had real snow all winter and have the guaranteed opportunity to ride our sleds! There were many years that we just could not ride them down in S. WI and N. IL. So my brother and I decided to plan a trip that would be a guaranteed sucess to be able to play in snow. Never stopped coming after that and in 1999 moved here!

-John

jr
11-21-2007, 01:15 PM
Ed -

The 78-79 winter was the last time I remember mounds of snow in Chicago. I remember cold and little snow in the early 80's. I remember the late 80's generally having three large snows during the winter, (around Jan. 1, Feb. 1, and Mar. 1), with melting within three days of the snow fall.

Also during the 80's I remember NE Iowa having good winters when the Hawkeyes went to the Rose Bowl. (I can't prove it.)

I also rememeber years in the 80's when northern WI would not get snow until the day of X-mas.

I might be the crazy one here but I think the winters "appear to me" to be geting better but shorter. Last year Chicago had a late (and short) real winter with snow staying for about a month, and we got snow on top of snow, after El Nino left. It has been since 78-79 that I remember that happening.

ed
11-21-2007, 01:38 PM
i will agree with you all. mid 70's to early 80's, my childhood years, we had winters you could have fun in. always loved the snow days off from school. after that if you want more of it you have to pull a "John Dee" and move. but during that good time period i wasn't a sledder and part of me was wishing that the snow would stop because lifting it over the drive banks was becoming a real work out. for now i'll trailer and whine about it.
and by the way John way to go on calling for the snow way before our own local weathermen. but again it will be gone and i'll probably be golfing this weekend!