Many would describe Minnesota winters with one word: miserable. State Climatologist and St. Cloud State alum Peter Boulay developed the Winter Misery Index, which demonstrates how “miserability” has changed over the last Century.
“Misery” is measured by the number of cold days and snow events a city experiences. We get one point every day the high is less than 10 degrees F, and another if the low is below zero. A low of minus 20 or colder scores eight points. Every time it snows an inch, we get one point. Four inches earns us four points, and eight inches of snow is deemed a whopping 16 points. An additional point is added for every day there is at least 12 inches of snow on the ground.
St. Cloud State Meteorology Professor Bob Weisman explains that the past two years were abnormally warm, and this year’s misery score stands out in comparison. However, in the larger scope, this winter has actually been more mild, despite a string of below average temperatures in February, says Weisman.
St. Cloud’s misery score is less than Minneapolis’s or Duluth’s this year because they have both been hit with several snow storms that have missed us.
A snow storm passing through St. Cloud tonight, and another this weekend, both have potential to rack up some misery points, according to Weisman.