The Twin Cities Winter Misery Index

Winter Misery Index chart

Were the winters when you were young worse than they are now? You may be able to prove it with the Winter Misery Index.

The Winter Misery Index (WMI) is an attempt to weigh the relative severity of winters. The index assigns points for daily counts of maximum temperatures 10 degrees or colder and daily minimums of 0 or colder. If the minimum temperature is -20 or colder greater weight is assigned to the value times 8. For snowfall, one inch is assigned a point per calendar day. A four inch snowfall is times 4, and an 8 inch snowfall is times 16. The duration of a winter is noted by the number of days the snow depth is 12 inches or greater. All current measurements are at the Twin Cities International Airport.

The WMI for the winter of 2013-14 in Twin Cities was 207 points, or in the high end of the "severe winter" category.  This is the 9th most severe winter on record based on WMI points. The lowest WMI score was the winter of 2011-2012 with 16 points. The most severe winter is 1916-1917 with 305 WMI points. The winter of 2014-15 so far has only 7 points as of December 22. How many WMI points will this winter score? stay tuned!

Note, this could also be called the "Winter Fun Index" depending on your perspective!

 

Last modified: December 23, 2014
For more information contact: climate@umn.edu