As kids growing up in Minnesota, winter blizzards were cause for celebration.
Despite our reputation for cold and snow, Minnesota averages only one "real" winter blizzard per year.
There are many more days, however, that fall into the category of "winter storm" or elicit "winter weather advisories" from the National Weather Service.
We knew that a winter storm meant a "snow day" closing of school. These "bonus" holidays kept us from our studies but not from enjoying Minnesota winter activities.
Although snow is the main form of our winter precipitation, freezing rain, ice, sleet, and occasionally rain are all possible during Minnesota winter months. We are well known for our changing seasons and variable Minnesota weather.
Minnesota was pounded by a succession of blizzards in 1996-1997. Many stories told by our parents and grandparents speak of severe winter weather of proportions many of us have never seen. It can be tempting to dismiss those stories as exaggerated however photos from those days prove the tales to be true. This photo shows a snowbound locomotive, photographed on March 29, 1881, in western Minnesota.
When we have enough warning, we sometimes pack up the family and check in to a nearby hotel or resort. It can be fun to rode out the blizzard in one of our lovely Minnesota lodging establishments.
School officials are kept up to date about the approach of a winter blizzard so students can be safely bused home before the arrival of the storm.
Snowplows are often able to clear city streets within hours of the end of a blizzard. Rural areas, on the other hand, can find their roads blocked for days. This poses a great hardship on farmers and others who make their living by being out of doors.
Staying alert to winter weather forecasts,and observing changing conditions, are the best ways to protect yourself in the face of an approaching storm. Radio and TV stations in Minnesota do a wonderful job of keeping us aware of changing conditions. As well, you can find updated predictions and conditions online.
We love the Minnesota winter season. The fun activities winter brings are not to be missed. A little education about what to expect and how to react will keep you safe as you head out to enjoy winter sports and activities. Or curl up by the fireplace with some of your favorite winter poems.
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