By Lisa Meadows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This time last year we were about to drop below zero for three days straight during the polar vortex. But this year has been a much different story.

“It’s so cold and it’s so dark I just can’t handle that,” said Margo Smith.

For some, winters in Minnesota are atrocious. But for Alex Burns, who owns a restaurant in Minneapolis, the winters aren’t that bad. “I like winter. I think it’s part of being a Minnesotan. I try to embrace it as much as I can,” he said.

While opinions differ on how to rate winter, the DNR has found a way to compare each winter season using the Twin Cities snow and cold index. The more snow and cold, the higher the number. So far this year, we are at a 37. Last winter however, we totaled a whopping 157, categorized as a severe winter.

“That was intense. I just never experienced anything like that before and I hope to never experience it again,” said Smith.

At this point last year our index score actually wasn’t very high; because this was the turning point, when we started seeing the extreme cold and the record breaking snow of February.

“Most of my team could not come to work their cars would not start. Their homes were just frozen,” Smith said.

While some people embrace the mild winter, for others, it’s a cause for concern.

“To me it is kind of scary when you have days I think you mentioned like a week ago when it’s raining. When it should be the coldest part of the winter is strange to me,” Smith said.

It’s strange to be shoveling a sloppy mess instead of a foot of fresh snow.

“I don’t mind the cold I just don’t want to have to shovel and it’s really nasty outside. Who wants to go outside when it’s all wet and slushy, it messes up your boots and shoes,” said Damian Powell.

While we are about to find out what February brings us this year, at least we are over halfway through winter.

“If we get another cold snap or two then spring is just around the corner,” said John Barobs.

Lisa Meadows