By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If it feels like this winter has been a little more “miserable” than the previous winters, you may be right.

And according to the Twin Cities Winter Misery Index, there’s a way to prove it.

Yes, the misery index is a real thing.

“Or, you could use it as the winter fun index, too, depending on how you want to look at it,” said Pete Boulay, a DNR climatologist.

Boulay is the brainchild behind the WMI. Like the commissioner of a fantasy football league, he’s tallying points left and right.

“Every time something wintery happens you gain a point. Such as an inch of snow, inch of snowfall, or if you get a temperature that goes zero or colder at night. Or the high stays 10 degrees or colder during the day,” said Boulay.

And bonus points are awarded for extreme cold and major snowfalls.

Boulay said one thing that’s held back this winter is snow depth. To gain points on the misery index, you need to have a snow depth of 12 inches or greater.

We’re about 5 inches behind on snow, but we’ve already had more nights below zero than the previous two winters combined. That puts us at 66 points for the winter, so far. Last year we had a mild winter at just 49 total points.

“We are already ahead basically the last three winters. This is a moderate winter, somewhere in the middle of the pack,” said Boulay.

But try telling that to University of Minnesota student Ismael Ramirez. He’s experiencing his first January and February in Minnesota.

“I’m originally from Mexico City. So this winter is really cold for my own winters in the south,” said Ramirez.

The WMI for the winter of 2013 and ’14 was 207 points. That qualified as a “severe winter” on the misery index.

To get into the severe range this year, we’d have to add another 86 points and that would mean a lot of snow and cold the rest of the way.

Boulay said there is also a Twin Cities Summer Glory Index, which essentially measures the weather in the summer.


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