Weather or Not: Last month of summer

WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer

I think we can all agree that this past January wasn’t so bad. We ended the month five degrees above average when you combine the highs and lows. We average 12.2 inches of snow, but we wound up shoveling 9.8 inches away. And here we are a week into February. It’s been cooler, but this month just has to be better than last year.

Last February our temperatures ran eight degrees below average. It’s hard to warm up when you are buried in snow. February is typically our least snowy month averaging 7.7 inches. We buried that number … literally. Six different storm systems crossed the area with each dropping over four inches of snow. One storm dumped 9.1 inches on us. When the month wrapped up, we had accumulated 39 inches of snow. 39! That set a record for the snowiest February on record. People without snowblowers couldn’t feel their arms anymore. In addition, my email inbox was filling up with complaints. In fact, one year ago today one of those snowstorms dropped 5.9 inches on us. Therefore, we are doing much better today.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed relatively hot air with a high of 46 degrees. It will be significantly cooler this weekend, but there will still be hot air. Hudson is the place to be today through Sunday for the Hot Air Affair. There will be a torchlight parade, balloon launches and so much more. I used to work this event in my younger days when I was a crew member for Aamodt’s Hot Air Balloon Rides. You can still catch a ride with that fabulous company over the gorgeous St. Croix River Valley, and this weekend you can see those balloons up close and personal. I can still smell the propane, and I love the heat on top of my head when they fire up the burners. It gets loud, but it is beautiful. Perhaps I will run into you this weekend.

I’m excited that Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. I will be downtown Minneapolis bringing you updates on the weather. So romantic. I hope you get out to celebrate love at one of our fabulous restaurants in the area. A nice romantic twist would be riding along the river downtown Stillwater in a horse drawn carriage. The rides are free from 4-7 p.m. that night. A lovely tradition.

We get a bonus day this month since it is a leap year. I always try to do something memorable on the 29th since it is a rare occasion. A few famous folks celebrated birthdays on leap day. Dinah Shore was born on the 29th of February. Do you remember the 6’7” infomercial guru Tony Robbins? He was born on the 29th. And stud Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks turns 28 on the 29th. I just hope the weather this month doesn’t hit us as hard as Eric hits running backs on a regular basis. Yes, even in February I am talking about our Vikings. Skol! And please win the big game for us soon.

Stillwater native Chris Shaffer is WCCO’s chief meteorologist.

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