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It's Our Turn: Waiting for the first snow

As a winter sports enthusiast, I always find the wait for the first real snowfall of the season is one of the most difficult of the year.

Yes, we have already seen a few flakes fall on the ground that made things a little frosty, but nothing substantial to let me break out the cross country skis and get rolling on some snow.

Perhaps one of the more frustrating things about winter weather is the lack of consistency. This year the air temperature has been plenty cold for snow to fall, however we have not had the right weather patterns to bring us the moisture. It has been chilly here in the Midwest, but we have not been lucky enough to get that first snow. It can be almost comical when you look at the news and see that parts of New Mexico and Texas were receiving substantial snowfall while we are still dry.

Yes, I understand we have just started the holiday season and there will be plenty of time this year to enjoy some snow. Staying patient has not been my strong suit. Plus, as I am writing this, travel for the Thanksgiving holiday season appears to be near perfect for us here in the Midwest. If you traveled out East for the holiday, however, that may have been a different story.

Plus the outlook has been fairly good for people who enjoy snow. The weather forecasters have predicted we will see an average year for winter weather.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the annual Winter Outlook on November 21, and Alexandria lies just outside of a region that could have “below-average temperatures” this winter. The cooler than average swath is predicted for the Northern Plains area of the United States, including northwestern Minnesota.

While this does not mean much for our snowfall probability, at least we are not located in a region that will be “drier than average.”

I am optimistic that this forecast will hold true, and soon I will be out on my cross country skis enjoying new trails here in West Central Minnesota.

Nothing is worse than a clunker of a winter, and yes I am looking at you, 2011-2012. In that year, Minnesotans not only had to suffer through a winter with very little snow, but also above average temperatures. I know everyone must have been heartbroken that year.

But that was two winters ago. Last winter we had great snow coverage for most of the year, including in April. Hopefully, Mother Nature did not use up all of our snow in those late season storms.

So between now and the first snowfall of the season, I will be waiting. The 10-day forecast, as of Tuesday, did not call for much more than a few snow showers, but that can always change.

As you can see, I have probably spent too much time thinking about the first snowfall. Hopefully soon I can spend my time skiing on some fresh snow instead of thinking about when it will come.

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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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