As torturous month concludes, math provides hope

There’ll be no snow Thursday, so we can take a few hours to gather our thoughts and prepare to survive the torture of a few more inches Friday.

And have you heard it’s going to get ridiculously cold again? Of course you have. Otherwise you wouldn’t be out on that ledge.

Winter has pushed us to such a limit, that we are now looking at mathematicians for hope.

In this case, it’s Rafe Jones, an associate professor of mathematics at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., whose op-ed in today’s Star Tribune calculates that this is our low point and we should only expect one more month like the one we’re ending in the next 38 years, although he doesn’t specifically rule out that that one month won’t be March 2019.

March 2019 has a 4/809 probability of landing in the top four. April has a 4/810 probability, next November will have a 4/811 probability and so on.

Adding the first 100 of these numbers, we find that on average we should see 0.47 top-four months in the next 100 winter months.

In order to push this up to one new top-four month, we have to go out 230 winter months, or a little over 38 years.

If you’re curious about how far out we have to go to before we expect one new, all-time monthly snowfall record, the answer is 231.5 years.

Oh, God bless you, mathematics.

There is a caveat in this hope that the worst is behind us: the mathematical model doesn’t account for how climate change is changing our snow patterns, he says.