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Climate Myths

State’s reputation: A ‘Snow Job’?

Ask a non-Minnesotan why they don’t live in Minnesota and nine out of 10 will say “it’s too cold” or “there’s so much snow.”

But ask a Minnesotan – even a transplant from another state – what they love most about Minnesota and many will mention the “four distinct seasons” or wax poetic about our wonderful spring, summer and fall.

Facts first


Over the past 35 years, there has been a clear, upward trend in the average low temperatures in Minnesota. That’s not to say it doesn’t get cold, but lately we’ve seen 62 degrees in February. And the USDA has updated its plant-hardiness zone map, broadening the range of plants that can now flourish in the state.


Minnesota gets less snowfall than quite a few other places. Syracuse, N.Y., for instance, gets more than 2.5 times more snow on average than Minneapolis-St. Paul. What’s more, we’re so prepared for snow that it doesn’t slow us down – unlike places where a couple of inches will shut down schools, businesses and airports for days at a stretch. In fact, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) was recently ranked the most on-time airport of its size in the world – a testament to our all-weather readiness.


Minnesota receives more sunlight hours in mid-winter than many other warmer parts of the country, including all of the Great Lakes states, the Pacific Northwest, parts of the South and almost all of the Northeast.

Minnesotans are fun people – and we know how to have a good time. We take it as a personal challenge to make the most of all our seasons – especially winter. Here are just a few examples of things Minnesotans do when it’s cold:

  • Go fat tire biking in the snow on one of the trails around the state that are groomed for this increasingly popular sport.
  • Enjoy the St. Paul Winter Carnival – the oldest winter festival in the United States. In 2018, 4,000 blocks of ice were cut from Green Lake near Spicer, Minn., to build the carnival’s 70-foot-tall ice palace.
  • Take part in Ice Box Days in International Falls – which includes frozen turkey bowling and moonlight skiing. 
  • Hide away in a skyway – Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth make it easy to avoid the outdoors. Minneapolis has the most extensive skyway in the world; it covers 80 city blocks and provides about 10 miles of climate-controlled comfort.

A Minnesota Myth DebunkedClimate Myths Fat Tire Bicycles

  • Average snowfall in Syracuse, New York: 123.8 inches; almost 10 feet per year
  • Average snowfall in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: 45.3 inches; less than 4 feet per year
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