Anyone living in Minnesota right now knows just how cold this winter has been. The Minnesota DNR writes, “The winter of 2013-14 has been the coldest in years. So far the average temperature of Meteorological Winter (December-February 9) is 9.4 degrees. If similar extreme cold continues for the rest of February, the winter of 2013-14 would be tied with the winter of 1978-79 as the eighth coldest on record. With moderating temperatures in the outlook, the average will most likely increase.” As much as it is fun to break records, I’ll take those moderating temperatures, thank you.
I’d been wondering how deeply the ground has frozen this winter, and now I have my answer. From the University of Minnesota Extension WeatherTalk newsletter: “The persistent cold has produced deeper than normal frost penetration into the ground. Where snow cover has been thin the ground frost has gone deeper than 40 inches. Minnesota Department of Transportation notes that under roads and pavement some of their measurements show frost at 6 feet or deeper. Near Ottertail, MN frost was measured at 95 inches (nearly 8 feet), and in the Rochester area there were reports of a number of frozen water lines this week. For many parts of Minnesota frost depth has not been this deep since the 1970s.”