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Why Is The Snow Sticking Around So Long This Month?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We saw our warmest day of the year so far Friday, when the Twin Cities reached a high of 49 degrees.

But that high was actually only one degree above average for the end of March.

This month-long cold stretch started when we got snow in early in the March followed  by cold temperatures.

“I’d just like the snow to be gone so we know we can get outside again,” said Melissa and Del Young, who went for a walk Friday night.

Typically, we start losing our snow pack in early March, not at the tail end of it.

At the moment, there’s still two feet of snow on the ground in some parts of the state. And despite 40-plus degree temperatures, it’s not going to melt quickly.

That’s because below-average temperatures for most of the month have left us with a kind of granular and gritty type of snow.

Michelle Margraf of the National Weather Service describes the snow we currently have as an “ice pack.”

“And ice takes a lot longer to melt than fresh snow,” she said.

When the snow does melt it first happens around trees, because the sun warms the trees and their roots, Margraf said. Black surfaces, like driveways, also lose snow early because darker surfaces attract more heat.

But before we can really jump into spring, we are going to need a few nights of above freezing temperatures.

“If you don’t get below freezing for a 24-hour period, that’s a fast rate of melt. You essentially double the time for snow melt,” Margraf said.

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