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Misery Index Confirms Our Worst Winter In 30 Years

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Colin Smith Colin Smith
Colin is a morning anchor/reporter for WCCO-AM. A Minnesota nat...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans — you have a reason to complain.

According to the Winter Misery Index, a measuring stick developed by State Climatologist Pete Boulay, the Twin Cities are officially dealing with the worst winter in 30 years.

“Everyone always says that winters today aren’t as bad as they used to be,” Boulay said. “Now we have a winter that was like when you were a kid.”

The index is based on a points formula that awards points based on cold, snowfall and snow depth.

One point goes for each low temperature at or below zero and each high temperature 10 degrees or colder. There’s one point for a 1-inch snowfall gets, bonus points for snowfalls of four and eight inches. There’s also one point for every day that the snow depth is 12 inches or more.

As of Feb. 28, we are currently at 180 points. That’s the highest Misery Index since the winter of 1983-84.

“It’s highly likely we will top 222 points, which will put us in the ‘Very Severe’ category,” Boulay said. “There have been only six of those winters since 1900.”

Boulay said it’s possible, but unlikely this winter will top the all-time high of 305 points in 1916-17. The all-time low WMI was set just two years ago — 16 points in 2011-12.

A St. Paul native, Boulay got the idea for a WMI on a daily report in the Pioneer Press, called the ‘Pain in the Posterior Index’ which measured winter’s wrath.

One bright spot not measured by the WMI is sunshine. While this winter is miserable, it has not been gloomy with a near-record number of sunny days.

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