MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Climate change is causing a whole new normal in the Twin Cities, when it comes to our weather. The National Centers of Environmental Information released its new climate normals last week.

Climate normals are 30-year averages of temperature, rain and snow representing what is now considered normal for our ever-changing climate — a normal that’s just been recalculated. WCCO spoke with Pete Boulay, climatologist with the Minnesota State Climate Office.

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“We have gone up over .6 degree in the average normal for the Twin Cities,” Boulay said.

Overall precipitation has gone up, with a few monthly changes.

“One month that really changed to drier was March, and one month that became wetter was May,” Boulay said.

And we have a new snowiest month in the Twin Cities; before it was January, and now it is December.

“A big snowstorm [on Dec. 11, 2010, which led to the collapse of the Metrodome’s roof], that boosted December,” he said. “And we had the thunder blizzard in 2018 in April, which boosted April,” Boulay said.

This new information is important when it comes to city planning, such as snow removal.

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“What we found out is that winter can last sometimes from October til April, with some breaks in between,” Boulay said.

You may in fact have noticed April has been a little closer to “lion” than “lamb” lately.

“The outlier is April, it just happens to be 0.40 degrees below average. It makes sense, we’ve had some snowy, cold Aprils,” Boulay said.

These temperature details can also impact the growing season.

“What we have really seen is an increase in overnight winter temperatures, so it doesn’t get as cold as it used to. We’ve lost that extreme cold,” Boulay said.

But the overall trend in the Twin Cities is not a surprise to scientists.

“It fits the climate change pattern. We expected it to get warmer in the winter, and that’s what’s been happening,” Boulay said.

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The average date of last frost has been moved up two days to April 25, which goes to show how abnormal it is to be talking about frost now in mid-May.

Lisa Meadows