The Twin Cities Snow and Cold Index

Snow and Cold Index chart

Were the winters when you were young worse than they are now? You may be able to prove it with the Twin Cities Snow and Cold Index.

The Twin Cities Snow and Cold Index (SCI) is an attempt to weigh the relative severity of winter when compared with winters of the past. The SCI 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. A Year-To-Date comparison chart of the Index is also available.

So far the 2019-20 winter has 55 points: 22 points for cold, 33 points for snow, just enough to be in the "moderate" winter range.

The 2018-19 winter had 157 points: 63 points for cold, 94 points for snow. This was enough for 2018-19 to be categorized as a "severe" winter.

The SCI 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 SCI points. The lowest SCI score was the winter of 2011-2012 with 16 points. The most severe winter is 1916-1917 with 305 SCI 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 17, 2020
For more information contact: [email protected]