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.

Also see our dynamic graph.

The Winter Misery Index (WMI) is an attempt to weigh the relative severity of winter when compared with winters of the past. The WMI assigns single points for daily counts of maximum temperatures 10 degrees F or colder, and daily minimums of 0 degrees F or colder. If the minimum temperature drops to -20 degrees or colder greater, eight points are attributed to that day. Snowfall totals of one inch or greater in a day receive one point. Four-inch snowfalls generate four points for the day, an eight-inch snowfall receives a whopping 16 points. To quantify the duration of winter, one point is tallied for every day with a snow depth of 12 inches or greater.

All current measurements are at the Twin Cities International Airport.

As of April 11, 2018 the WMI for the 2017-18 winter is at 111 points: 43 points for cold, 68 points for snow. This is enough for 2017-18 to be categorized as a "moderate" winter. As of April 11, the winter of 17-18 has 78.2 inches of snow so far at the International Airport, 24.6 inches above normal. The winter of 2017-18 is now the 4th in ranking for the most miserable winter of the 21st century.

The WMI for the winter of 2016-17 finished with 49 points, enough for 2016-17 to be categorized as a "mild" winter. The total WMI points for the 2016-2017 winter were 23 for cold and 26 for snow: 49 points.

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 was 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.

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

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center offers an objective winter severity index called the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI). The index quantifies relative winter severity for a number locations around the United States.

 

Last modified: April 16, 2018
For more information contact: [email protected]