Friday, February 5, 2016

How Much? Not As Much As I Thought

I was curious, because that's the way I am. Having had the snowstorm earlier this week and now the melt and freeze, I wondered, "How much snow does my city really get, compared to others?" After all, I think we get more cold weather than lots of snow, but I could be wrong. So, I Googled it (because the internet is the 'Holder of All Answers') and found the following. Wow! Saint Paul wasn't even close to number one (Youngstown, Ohio, if you're curious, with 395.1 inches average). Nope - Saint Paul was all the way down at #68 with 46.4 inches, average. If you're curious about where you live or places you've heard about, here's a link to the list of the Top 101 cities with the highest average snowfall in a year (population over 50,000). You can autosort on either ranking or alphabetic city listing.

The plows come out to clear and salt the streets anytime there's at least a inch
of snowfall. It really doesn't take a lot of snow to snarl traffic, especially on
the freeways and in intersections. 

What amuses me is that Denver isn't even on the list. Yet, I've lived through some really nasty snowstorms in Denver that shut the city down completely. Which got me wondering. "Why does a similar snowstorm shut Denver down but not my own city?" It comes down to one thing - we know snow. Denver knows snow as a short, serious and severe pain in the neck. The Twin Cities know snow as something to clear away, move into large piles, and clear the roadways. The plows are out on our streets if there's as little as 1"-2" of snowfall. They are clearing and salting to make transportation safe and efficient. We're a model of Scandinavian/German efficiency, which makes sense when you consider that we were settled by immigrants from those areas of Europe. Snow doesn't phase us, it's an inconvenience.

There's a 28 minute documentary on Swedish Immigration
to Minnesota produced in 2011. Here's the link if you're interested. 

Other cities send teams up to the Twin Cities to learn from us. We, in turn, are always on the look-out for new and better materials to use in our annual battle for traffic supremacy against the lowly snowflake. One of the newer things we are using is cheese brine. Yes, the cast-off products from cheese production are very salty and Minneapolis is using the brine in some of its salt trucks because it's environmentally friendlier than other types of salt for the roadways. The negative is the smell. Apparently it still smells like cheese. I haven't experienced this myself, so can't swear to it. But the morning newscasters have mentioned it when talking about their early morning drives in to work.

Using cheese brine on the roads has been one of the salting methods
used in Wisconsin for a couple of years.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Here's a
short NBC News story about the use of cheese brine in our
northern states. 

Looking at other lists on the database, I found the category for Top 101 Cities with the coldest winters. That's where my area shines with six in the top ten (Minneapolis was #20 and Saint Paul was #21). So I'm going to bundle up and head out to the pool. I'll offer you the main link for the Top 101 Cities comparison categories. It's rather fun to see where, or if, your city qualifies for some of the many lists. Happy Friday to all!

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