The Snowening

What kind of wimps are they out there at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities branch? They canceled classes! Just because of a major snowstorm!

We’ll have to see what happens—it’s on the way to the western campus (us) and should hit this evening. I’d also like to know why winter has dawdled about getting here until March and now is trying to give us a whole season’s worth of snow in two weeks.


  1. Tony Popple says

    I just finished a two hour trip home from the University of Minnesota campus.

    Just out of curiosity, are we sure global warming is a bad thing?

  2. says

    Oddly enough with the winter season nearly over my fair city has gotten < 6" of snow for the season. This is VERY unusual. It's almost as though a protective bubble is over the city and the urban ring because outside that they've been getting quite a bit of snow. Here's the odd part. It'll drop 4-5" of snow on the ground and by that afternoon, most of it is gone. I mean gone. Temps are rising into the mid 40's and there's plenty of sunshine so evaporation is doing its thing. I must say, winter really didn't start until mid January. This means that we'll have a very wet spring again.

  3. Ferin says

    Heh. Here in columbus, we cancel for an inch of snow. We are the weaklings of the midwest in winter.

  4. Heather Kuhn says

    Here in Philly, the threat of snow sends everybody running for the supermarket. Two or three inches won’t keep people inside, but it does seem to bring out the idiots. The real winter hazard in this burg though, is ice. The worst storms tend to be freezing rain. I’ll take snow any day.

  5. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    The snow is great! I walked to work in not-quite-a-blizzard through snow up to my knees in places. Great fun!

  6. Sonja says

    They’re saying we haven’t had two back-to-back snowstorms like this since the infamous January of 1982.

    The U supposedly never closes, but I remember a couple other times — a storm in 1983 and again for the Halloween blizzard of 1991.

    I’m a lifelong Minnesota resident, but I take these storms seriously and I can only hope that other people in responsible positions (such as operators of motor vehicles) take them seriously as well.

  7. jjj says

    It seems like everyone is acting like it has never snowed before in Minnesota. I thought you got a lot of snow!

    Be thankful you are not in Alabama.

  8. False Prophet says

    We got it in the Toronto area too. Irritatingly, the municipality I work in sent all their employees home early, but the public library I work for stayed open for regular hours.

  9. Andrew Watts says

    #3 Ferin: Columbus Public Schools may close for an inch of snow, but Ohio State (which is a better equivalent for U of M Twin Cities) has only had three and a half snow days since 1978. Two of them were this year, but OSU generally is overly conservative with snowdays.

  10. says

    Oh, man. I remember Morris winters. With the radio forecast including the number of minutes it would take exposed flesh to freeze and die. (Often a single digit.)

    SOooo glad I’m out of there, you can have it PZ.

  11. Molly, NYC says

    Here in Philly, the threat of snow sends everybody running for the supermarket.

    Me too, and not just for staples. If it’s snowing outside, I want a big pot of one of those dishes that cooks all day. Chili. Minestrone. Chicken soup made with a proper old hen.

  12. says

    Whenever I think that Rutgers should close because of inclement weather, I think “Well, can’t be worse than in Minnesota.” Still, walking to lab in sideways “winter mix” isn’t the best way to start the day.

  13. says

    Fine and sunny here in Australia. Although there was a bizarre occurence a little while back. Massive bushfires were threatening alpine towns, but the towns were saved at the last minute by SNOW, on CHRISTMAS DAY! The newspapers had bizarre photos of firefighters, all grubby and covered in soot, posing in front of their firetrucks, with the landscape around all white. Freakish stuff.

  14. Fernando Magyar says

    Snow in summer!? What kinda blizzaro place is Australia anyway?
    I know you did say alpine towns but I thought the Himalayas were over in Asia or something. Besides climate change have you guys also been experiencing recent tectonic plate upheavals too? I’mean how far up are these towns?

    Anyway just the thought of a white christmas in summer in the land down under is a bit much.

  15. says

    It was in the Great Dividing Range, in VIctoria, in the Alpine National Park. Australian mountains aren’t that high by world standards – the largest is about 2.5km high I think.

    But yeah. It was freakish. Very much so. Melbourne also had its coldest Christmas Day ever last year, with a max of 14 degrees Celcius.

  16. autumn says

    Here in Gainesville, Florida I had to turn the air conditioner on last week. It’s already too damn hot to do much of anything outdoors after noon.

  17. JohnnieCanuck says

    And here in the Pacific Northwest, the snow and hail accumulation made a nice backdrop for the crocuses and snowdrops. That is until it melted and then did a repeat. The lawn is getting to the point of needing a cutting, but I refuse to mow the snow as well.

    Global warming does not mean that we expect every location to have higher average temperatures. Some regions get lower temperatures in the models. Also some places get more precip and others get less than before.

    Change is what you will get, whether you like it or not.

  18. Fernando Magyar says

    “Some regions get lower temperatures in the models. ”

    Looks like some regions are getting lower temperatures in the actual *regions* as well, eh? ;-)

  19. MorpheusPA says

    I’m 50 miles north of Miss Heather Kuhn and agree with her completely. Winter, here, seems to be ending fast. Today we’re at 40° and pouring rain already and heading up into the fifites with some sun.

    Since snow wasn’t in the forecast it was actually safe to step into a grocery store. Under those conditions, buying a loaf of bread puts you in danger of being beaten with an old woman’s cane. Then she steals your bread.


  20. Marlon says

    And here in Austin, Texas they are calling for clear and mid 70s today. I think a nice long bike ride may be in order this afternoon.

  21. says

    It had snowed all day here in the lovely Twin Cities, and at times visibility was less than 1/4 mile. It was really coming down. So much so, that the plows had a difficult time keeping up. Thus, they closed early. We’re open for business today though! The snow is falling slower, but what is 2 feet of snow between friends? (Which followed the 12 inches we got last weekend…)

  22. quork says

    I’d also like to know why winter has dawdled about getting here until March and now is trying to give us a whole season’s worth of snow in two weeks.

    You know why: it’s those durned Republicans and their global warming.

  23. jeffk says

    It may be true that the undergrads went home, but I assure you, the graduate students and professors were still here. hmph.

  24. llewelly says

    Just out of curiosity, are we sure global warming is a bad thing?

    If (when?) the Greenland ice sheet melts, everyone in New York and
    Miami and LA will have to move 2 floors up. If the West Antarctic ice
    sheet melts, they’ll need to move up 2 more floors.

    But that’s no biggie. Think of what will happen to volatile south Asia
    and the middle east when precipitation patterns change, impacting
    harvests in an almost certainly negative fashion. Recall that the
    Darfur conflict is due in part to a local shift to a drier climate,
    and pre-existing tensions. Recall that 3 south Asian / middle
    eastern powers have nuclear weapons, and a 4th may be seeking nuclear

  25. SLC says

    Re Heather Kuhn

    The Washington DC area is even worse then Philadelphia. A flake of snow is enough to send the school kids home early and shut down the Government.

  26. Sylvanite says

    I suspect the panics in Philly are due to the municipal indifference to snow removal. I swear, municipalities in southeast PA seem to budget for snow removal based on the idea that they exist in Florida or something. Living in hilly, narrow-streeted Manayunk/Roxborough as I do, I can attest to the utter impassibility of some of the streets even with rather small snowfalls. Fortunately, I live within walking distance of a grocery store, so I can go after the initial panic subsides, and pick over the looted shelves.

    Also, what’s up with the way Philadelphians stampede hardware stores to buy snow shovels? Every freakin’ year, it seems. Stop breaking your snow shovels, people.