DULUTH, MN — It’s been a long, snowy winter in Duluth.
Especially this February, which is on the verge of breaking the month’s snowfall record of 33.9 inches, set back in 1939.
“The last time we had over 30 inches of snow was all the way back in 2001, so it’s been about 17-18 years since we’ve seen this much snow in one month,” Meteorologist Adam Lorch says.
What’s causing it? According to KBJR 6 Meteorologist Adam Lorch, a perfect combination.
“We’ve had the jet stream in the right place,” Lorch says. “We’ve had a positive arctic oscillation, which keeps that cold air off to the north, so we’ve seen more moisture making its way northward as well. It’s just lined up for all the perfect — the perfect scenario for us to get good amounts of snowfall here in our region.”
Though it comes with its share of headaches, Lorch says it actually has a beauty to it.
“It’s kind of nice to see an actual winter happen where we had some really, really cold temperatures and a lot of snow,” Lorch says. “From a scientific standpoint, I find that kind of fun.”
It also comes with reassuring news. The largest winter snowfall the Twin Ports has ever seen is, roughly, 135 total inches. Currently, this winter has seen just over 75 inches.
“We’re not going to breaking that record it looks like, but the snowiest February on record definitely looks like a good possibility,” Lorch says.
Meanwhile, experts say the snowy conditions could have a major impact on Northland wildlife.
A Minnesota DNR representative tells KBJR 6 that native species are generally able to handle these type of conditions.
Moose, for example, actually do *better in deeper snow and colder temperatures, but, for deer too much snow can have a negative impact.
Experts say deer normally engage in fasting during this time of year, so the longer the deep snow pack extends into spring, the more starvation and predation can occur.
“If they’re being held in areas because of feeding and so forth that is sub-optimal because they need woody brows to survive the winter, then they might not actually do a well as people think,” Beau Liddell says. “Despite feeding that occurs from people, oftentimes, we may even kill as many deer as we might save from feeding.”
Experts say birds, like pheasants, could be very negatively impacted this year’s snow, but larger-bodied birds, like turkeys, most likely won’t be.