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Frustrated By Lack Of Snow? Blame The Jetstream

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — January is often the snowiest month in Minnesota, but not this year.

In fact, the last two winters have been pretty wimpy in the snow department. And that has snow lovers like Jerry Danner wondering what the deal is.

“It’s not good this year” said Danner, who owns Danner Landscaping.

He said his company, which is located in Inver Grove Heights and sells service snowmobiles and plows snow, has had to reduce its work force, due to the lack of snow.

“We need at least six inches of snow in our area to still salvage some of the winter,” Danner said.

Half the snowmobiles he’s ordered for this winter remain unsold.

Keith Johnson, of Woodbury, has been snowmobiling for 30 years and he says this winter has been, by far, the worst he’s seen when it comes to snow.

“Nowadays you have to drive four hours to find snow, and even that’s difficult this year,” he said. “The UP of Michigan — you always rely on that — there’s no snow there this year.”

Bill Borghoff, of the National Weather Service, says Minnesota is seeing some of the driest snow depths in the last 100 years. It’s the result of split flow.

“We have a split flow in the jet stream, so we have a polar jet which is to our north, and a subtropical jet, which is to our south. And when that occurs, storm tracks go north of us, and storm tracks go south of us,” Borghoff said.

It looks like this split pattern will be with us well into February.

“Things may change a little bit towards spring, but there is too much uncertainty at this point to call whether we’re going to start to see more snow or not,” he said.

For Danner, whose business relies on snowfall, giving up is not an option.

“You wait for that one big one that could happen, and then the people will go out and use [the snow],” he said.

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