Weather Forecast


Weather Talk: Snowless winters have happened before

The average winter snowfall in Fargo-Moorhead from 1981 to 2010 was 50.1 inches. The average was 45.7 inches from 1961 to 2010. The average since the trifecta of floods here, 2009 to 2011, has been just 34.3 inches.

So far, a mere 15.3 inches of snow has been measured this winter season. Unless the next three months bring a new weather pattern, this winter will be the fifth consecutive winter of below-average snowfall and the sixth of the past seven.

There is another long period in the record of relatively snowless winters. The average during the nine-year period from 1952-53 through 1960-61 was just 21.7 inches.

It is interesting to note that neither of these lengthy periods of little snow coincided with major drought. Snow is only about 10 percent water, so most of our average annual precipitation comes in the summer. As long as we get enough spring and summer rainfall, limited winter snows do not necessarily signify drought.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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