Wow, that was almost quite a winter storm we nearly had Tuesday and Wednesday.
Two inches of wraparound snow fell Wednesday morning in the Bemidji area constituting the entire storm total. You didn't have to go too far to get into the heavier snow totals, with 10-16 inches falling in a band roughly along a line from Sisseton, S.D., through Alexandria and Hinckley and into northwest Wisconsin. The snow champ appears to be Butternut, Wis., where 19 inches was recorded.
While not completely reflected in their storm total snowfall of 10 inches, Duluth recorded the worst conditions. Frequent bursts of heavy snow were accompanied by winds that gusted close to 70 mph Wednesday morning. Travel by car was nearly impossible near the Lake Superior shore - heck, standing upright wasn't so easy either.
Another aspect of this powerful storm was evident on its south side where several states saw tornados. Harrisburg, Ill. was pummeled by an EF4 tornado early Wednesday morning. Six people were killed and damage was widespread including the complete destruction of a shopping mall. A tornado sighted near Stapleton, Neb., was the first tornado ever recorded in February in the state of Nebraska.
It seems odd to mention record winter warmth after a winter storm but Fargo just finished the warmest meteorological winter in their history. Meteorological winter includes the months of December, January and February.
The winter of 2012 finished one-tenth of a degree warmer than the winter of 1987 but nearly 5 degrees warmer than the 10th warmest winter recorded in the 1940s.
Speaking of warm - the Global Forecast System (GFS) computer model run daily by NOAA is hinting at some very warm temperatures by the middle of March. Don't be surprised to see temperatures across the north woods reach near 50. Keep in mind that forecasts beyond seven to 10 days are notoriously inaccurate. But it is fun to picture the onset of spring.
TOM SIEMERS is the Pioneer's circulation director.