Inauguration to the Northland

I had been cautioned by my Hoosier colleagues about the long winter seasons experienced in the Northland. As I drove north through Madison on Dec. 3, 1991, Old Man Winter rolled out the white carpet.

Traveling westbound on I-94 was harrowing, as an icy wind blew fine snow crystals across the highway in the late afternoon. Arriving in Bloomington after dark, I pulled into a motel lot hoping to negotiate a parking spot near an outside electrical outlet. Snow was pushed three feet high along the border of the building. After a little digging by hand, I got lucky and found a buried outlet to provide power to my engine heater.

It was noteworthy to view the weather highlight on the NWS Web page yesterday, which listed the record low as -11 on Dec. 4, 1991. Yes, my first day as NOAA’s chief meteorologist for the Twin Cities remains an historical event, if only related to weather records.

In my 15 years at the helm of the NWS I don’t recall one show-stopping snow storm where school was canceled in Minneapolis/St. Paul. On a couple of occasions the governor did cancel classes statewide due to brutal cold.

As Paul Huttner noted in his morning blog, this is more like your daddy’s winter.

December snowfall.

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