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It's been 98 days, do you know where your grass is?

By Bob Freund

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

This is one of those winters of lingering snow.

Cross-country skiers love it; those suffering from cabin fever hate it.

But the fact is, it’s been unusually white in the Rochester area this winter.

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There’s been an inch or more of snow on the ground continuously since Dec. 1, the start of "meteorological winter." The National Weather Service considers December, January and February as its official winter.

That’s 91 days of not seeing your grass or any other patch of bare ground.

According to weather service forecaster Jeff Boyne, it’s only the 10th time the snowpack has lingered that long since 1938-39, when the service started tracking such things. In a typical winter, snow would be around for only 66 days during meteorological winter.

Actually, the snow first arrived on Nov. 30; today, nearly a week into March, we’re at 98 straight days and counting. The record for snow covering dates back to the winters of 1978-79 and 1950-51, when Rochester area residents didn’t see bare ground for 133 straight days.

Robb Welch, owner of Tyrol Ski & Sports in Rochester, said the cold and snowy winter has brought his store strong sales of neck "gators," which protect the area under the chin, hand warmers, gloves and mittens.

Overall, the winter has been fairly typical for Minnesota, it’s just that recent winters have been unusually warm, weather forecasters said.

The snow won’t be leaving soon. More snow is expected tonight but should be light, and high temperatures will remain below freezing through the weekend. A high near 40 degrees is expected Monday.

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