Compared to the Northeast, MN doesn’t know snow

The snow hadn’t even started falling yet in the northeast’s “historic” snowstorm when Minnesotans and other Midwesterners were taking to Twitter to joke about the East’s ignorance of what to do when it snows.

In order to adopt this attitude, one has to forget that commuters in the Twin Cities took an hour to drive a couple of miles several weeks ago. Total snowfall that evening? A half inch.

Colleague Eamon Coyne — a Vermonter, for the record — sends along this season’s top 10 snow cities (of over 100,000 people) in the United States. Only one three — Rochester is the only Minnesota city — are from the Midwest.


Last year, despite the Twin Cities’ 54 inches of snow, Minnesota was shut out for any bragging rights in a season dominated by Lake Erie.


You’ll note Worcester, Mass. — about 40 miles outside of Boston — at No. 11. In 2012-13, they were No. 2 in the nation. St. Paul finished 12th. Minneapolis 13th.


The last time the Twin Cities finished in the top 10 was 2010-2011, when St. Paul finished sixth, 1 inch more than Massachusetts. Minneapolis finished ninth that year, just ahead of Hartford, Conn.


So far this winter, the Twin Cities has had only three storms of more than 3 inches.

  • jon

    I’ll give you that anything with large bodies of water and cold air get more snow than MN…

    But we can still make fun of Atlanta and Texas when they get snow right?

  • Gary F

    Yep, every time it snows a bunch, they always say “historic”. Thanks for the quotation marks Bob.

    • The great broadcast news writer Merv Block had several cardinal rules. One was “leave history to the historians.”

      • Gary F

        Are they teaching “weather hype” as a class in journalism school now?

        • I can tell you from experience that three feet of heavy wet snow (the kind that usually falls in the Northeast) isn’t hype.

          Making a big deal of two inches is hype.

          But here’s the thing. Whenever there is a hint of snow in the forecast, it’s the most popular page on this and — I’d guess — every other news site in Minnesota. People eat it up and the name of the game is audience.

          People complain about the “hype”, but they’re mostly lying.

          • Jerry

            I think it’s wrong to assume that the people who complain about the hype are the same people who cause the hype.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    Only one city in the Midwest? I know we’ve been debating the meaning of Midwest, but I think Grand Rapids, South Bend, and Cleveland might be confused that they aren’t Midwest cities.

  • Ben

    I also don’t like it when Minnesotans make fun of how other parts of the country handle snow and cold. There’s always someplace tougher than us. But, to be fair, I think the traffic issues we had a couple of weeks ago were more due to the cold than the amount of snow. The thin layer of snow was more like ice than a normal layer of snow. Also, the snow that the NE is going to get will melt rather quickly compared to a normal blizzard here, especially in the metro areas. Of course out state it will stick around longer, but nobody cares about those hicks.

  • Dave

    Boston can keep it. Let it snow out east where it belongs. Not everyone in Minnesota likes snow.

    I was pleasantly surprised that our Saturday night storm fizzled and we did not regain the snow we melted Friday/Saturday. It makes the winter go faster when there’s less snow and not as cold.

    • tboom

      Like I was telling Mrs. tboom all weekend – Better them than us.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        Except for those of us with family in or near the bulls-eye. My mom, in NY, is bracing for a week where she doesn’t get out of the house at all. She tends to watch our weather when its really cold, and I watch hers when they get the big storms (winter and summer). I’m hoping that the storm tracks are a little further east, then she won’t get stuck for as long.

  • David Hoffman-Dachelet

    But we win cold, right?

  • Greg W

    I don’t understand the self-important chuckling about East Coast snow troubles, either. Definitely a passive-aggressive response to being treated as “flyover” country.

  • Matt Todd

    The place that gets the most snow east of the rockies is six hours away from the twin cities in the UP of Michigan. Their average of 200 inches or more a year makes the north east look like a mere dusting. Michigan Tech, in Houghton, the epicenter of the lake effect snow belt up there, has closed once in about 30 years because of snow.

  • J-dawg

    FYI, Bob, the east coast doesn’t get Lake Effect snow.

    • New York is an East Coast state. So, technically, it does.

      • J-dawg

        Way to master geography there, buddy. And Grand Junction can be lumped in with Wray, too, because they’re both in Colorado! Weather and climate are totally constrained by state lines.

        • I think “northeast” and “East Coast” are pretty interchangeable. Upstate is “northeast.”

          But anyway, I never said the East Coast gets lake effect snow, what is the point you’re making exactly?

          • J-dawg

            That your categories and statistics are kind of murky and meaningless The Keweenaw on the UP of Michigan gets over 200″ of snowfall not infrequently. Is that not “Midwest”?

            Ann Arbor gets on average less than 60″. But since Michigan has a place within its borders that gets a massive amount of snow, do all Michiganders get snow bragging rights?

            And how does a snowstorm affecting the coast (not the great lakes section of “the northeast”) have anything to do with your tables of high-snow towns on Lake Erie?

            Plus, you’re kind of glossing over the entire melt factor, in that the East Coast, while it does occasionally get measurable snowfall, usually experiences melt and has bare ground for the majority of the winter, whereas in MN the snow normally (not so much in the warming-influenced winters we’ve had for most of this century) does not melt, at all, and once it’s down you can’t do anything with it but push it around. And you can’t just dump it in the East River, either.

          • I see. You”re on the “our snow is worse than your snow”.side.

          • J-dawg


          • Matt Todd

            I wouldn’t consider Rochester, NY or Erie, PA to be east coast in a climitological sense.

  • Nick K

    I think we get superior in Minnesota because of the lack of national news coverage here. This current storm sounds intense, but the East coast seems to be averaging 2 nationally covered Snowmaggedons a year. I think we only get a bigger chip on our shoulders when the temp drops to minus 20 and the ten second blurb on CNN is about it being zero degrees in Chicago.

    • Matt Todd

      Thats because for the national media the only thing between New York and LA is Chicago. The rest is just a vast wasteland of nothingness which they want nothing to do with except to look down their nose upon.