This week, forecasts show the southern half of Minnesota is in for an impressive double-barreled snowstorm.
Round one, with 3 inches to 7 inches of snow, is expected to start early Tuesday afternoon and end in the wee hours of Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s Twin Cities office. Round two goes from about noon on Wednesday into the middle of Thursday morning and dumps the rest.
“The main system will bring a band of snow on Tuesday, but more widespread heavy snow late Wednesday to Thursday. Odds are a ruler won’t cut it when measuring this one,” the local NWS tweeted.
Some of the heaviest snow is forecast for the Twin Cities area, where between 17 inches and 23 inches are expected to fall through the worst of it Thursday (or the best of it, depending on your attitude toward snow).
So, how does what’s in the forecast for this week compare to snowstorms of yesteryear? And how does this season stack up to historic records and averages?
An additional 17 to 23 inches of snow would put us far above February’s snowfall average — but nowhere near the record for February snowfall.
The records at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport go back to 1938, and in that timeframe, the record snowfall in February was 39 inches, set in 2019. The average February snowfall at MSP is 8.8 inches.
This week’s storm is in the running for top Twin Cities snowstorms.
If the forecast holds and we get between 17 and 23 inches of snow, we are gunning for at least sixth place — maybe even second — in terms of snowfall during Twin Cities snowstorms. In its latest alert, the local NWS says it’s likely to be top five. In order to take first place, we would have to get more snow than the legendary Halloween of ’91 blizzard, which dumped 28.4 inches. Seems unlikely.
This has been a pretty good winter for snow — maybe even a record year by the end of the week.
As of the morning of Feb. 21, MSP had received 57.3 inches of snow this winter season, according to NOAA data. An additional 20-or-so inches would put this season’s snowfall at or close to the top 10 seasons for snowfall.