Life in Minnesota… how’s the weather?

When I travel to other locations with idyllic weather I often find myself bored… and longing for our endlessly changing Minnesota weather. It isn’t easy to predict, which is part of what makes it so interesting!

They cautioned that last week’s snow storm threatened to be record breaking… and I for one was hoping that it would be so. There is something I love about a storm which forces everything to shut down, where there isn’t an option for ‘business as usual’.

The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 still firmly holds the record for the top snowfall in Twin Cities history at 28.4″, and last week’s snowfall of 13.4″ at the airport (19.3″ in Apple Valley) didn’t even top this year’s early January storm which dumped an official 14.9″ at the airport. Still, it was significant and advance preparations made it possible for it to blow through quite easily and reluctantly only rank in the top 25 snowfalls on record.

It may not have been the ‘epic’ blizzard some had suggested it could be, but it fell within the range of most predictions. Severe blizzards can be life threatening so we don’t know how many lives may have been saved by the advance warning.

But the numbers give Minnesotans yet another reason for bragging rights to make the weather a favorite topic. According to the chart below from Kare11 weather, the two big snowfalls in January and February this year total almost twice the snowfall for an entire average winter season! Hopefully this will help counter the drought conditions of the last few years and help quench the dry, thirsty ground when the snow melts.

However, don’t think that big Minnesota weather events are confined to the winter months… the photo and excerpt below is my response to a surprising hail storm in May 2008!


“When I was out looking at houses with clients on Saturday we commented on what a beautiful day it was…and it was! …a warm, sunny, idyllic spring day. When it came time to meet some friends for the evening I decided to continue savoring the beautiful day by driving downtown and parking in the Minneapolis warehouse district, where we were going to a site-based dance performance…then walking to meet them for dinner across the river on NE Hennepin.

I had just started driving in that direction when the tornado sirens started shrieking relentlessly. Although I struggled with whether to continue on my path I decided to turn around. I had been home only about 5 minutes when we were pummeled by hail…as evidenced in the photo above…I was very happy I heeded the warning!

What does this have to do with real estate? Well, it has a lot to do with your ‘sense of place’. If you want reliably predictable weather Minnesota may not be the place for you, but it is a key element in defining our sense of place.

I grew up in North Dakota and felt like I had moved to the ‘banana belt’ when we moved ‘south’ to the Minneapolis area. Growing up on a farm in the flatlands where the wind never stops blowing and visibility is frequently greatly reduced due to blowing snow in the winter, weather was always a common topic of discussion. The immense sky meant you could always see what was coming. I remember standing with my father on the creek bank watching storms roll in and even watching a tornado along the horizon as a child. Can you tell I’ve always loved storms?

Our Minnesota weather can be unpredictable, changeable and challenging at times. It is a key element in defining our sense of place, and it is part of what I love about living here…but it doesn’t fit everyone! I sold a house for a couple this year where it didn’t fit. They were new to our part of the country and couldn’t handle the weather so moved away. It also works in the opposite direction. I was out with a client yesterday afternoon who talked about how she also loves storms. She moved from California back to Minnesota because she missed our weather!”

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results HomesMSP Team –

Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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