When Does Winter End in Minnesota?

When does winter end in Minnesota?meanwhile-in-minnesota_o_2300229

On the surface, this seems like a simple enough question but in truth it is anything but that. Aside from the finicky weather we sometimes experience in the Bold North, there are many stereotypes out there regarding weather in Minnesota. The end of winter also depends on what you consider to be “winter.”

Confused? Don’t worry. We’ll unpack this whole issue and get it figured out.

Winter Defined

Let’s begin by defining what winter is. Webster’s dictionary defines winter as “the season between autumn and spring comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of December, January, and February or as reckoned astronomically extending from the December solstice to the March equinox.”

That makes sense. Let’s further muddy the waters: does there need to be snow to be considered winter? Does the snow have to “stick” to be considered legitimate? Do the lakes need to be frozen too? How cold does it have to be to be considered winter weather?

It is all subjective. I personally believe that for it to be truly winter, that the temperatures must be cold enough and the ground must be frozen to have the snow stick. That is the beginning of winter for me. Some years, that means early December. In others it could be as late as January.

By this measuring stick, when does winter end? Is it when the snow is gone? When the ground thaws? I place the beginning of spring when we experience multiple days in one week of temperatures over 40°. Sometimes this is in February, but most often it is early March. We’ll come back to what Minnesotans think later.

By The Calendar

A simple Google search of “when does winter end in Minnesota” will give you this result:

mn winter calendar

There you go. The calendar says that winter begins on Dec. 21st, 2018 and will end on March 20th, 2019. Cut and dry. Sadly, Mother Nature doesn’t seem to want to confine herself to calendar dates. For example, the actual weather report for Dec. 21st this winter showed a high of 28°. That is right around where we should be. However, historical data shows that we’ve had temperatures as low as -24° and as high as 56°.

The same can be said for March 20th. In 2018, Minneapolis saw a high of 33°. That day has records of 66° and -9°. The Easter holiday can be as early as March 22nd, Easter means spring doesn’t it? We’ve celebrated many Easters here in Minnesota with feet, not inches, of snow on the ground.

The Stereotypes

As a child, I was blessed and cursed to have been born into a retail family. This meant we moved- a lot. We had the opportunity to live in many different places but as far as winters go, North Carolina and Maryland stand out the most for me. We got all of the usual questions: “Have you seen Fargo? Is it really cold in the winter? Do you get a lot of snow in Minnesota?” Nothing wrong with those questions, par for the course. For the record, Fargo is in North Dakota.

The issue came when a friend blurted out to me that they heard that Minnesota has winter for six months out of the year. Yep, you read that correctly.

Let’s talk about some stereotypes I’ve heard:IMG_6010

Winter lasts for half of the year.

No, it doesn’t. If it did, no one would live here except those who love to ice fish or snowmobile. You can generally count on temperatures below 32° beginning around Thanksgiving until the end of February. Do the math, people!

Minnesota has snow covering the ground for nine months of the year.

Yes, someone really said this to me and no, it is not true. While you can see an odd snow shower as early as October (think Blizzard of 1991, Duluth saw 37 inches that day), snow does not stick to the ground until well into December most years. Snow does not typically last beyond March 15th due to rising temperatures and rain. Even in extreme years, nine months is a total fantasy.

I’ve heard that the snow doesn’t melt until June.

See above.

Someone told me that the ground is always frozen in Minnesota.

Can I just take a moment to say that we have hot weather here too? We have extended periods of temperatures approaching and surpassing 100°…plus humidity. Our average temperatures from March through October are 41°, 58°, 69°, 79°, 83°, 80°, 72° (in Sept.), and 58°. Besides, if the ground was always frozen HOW WOULD MINNESOTA BE IN THE TOP 5 FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION? It wouldn’t be, would it?

What Do Minnesotans Think?

I asked a handful of people that I work with when they believed winter was over. I received some very interesting responses! The first told me that she believes “April showers bring May flowers” and that April is the beginning of spring. Another co-worker said that when he sees the first motorcyclist or the first top down on a convertible, that is when he knows. I’ve seen motorcyclists out and about as early as February before.

As I mentioned earlier, I look at temperature trends. We can have fluke days for 40° or warmer in January and February but you have to look at the trend. I believe that if you start to string together a few days like that, you’re on your way. Also look at the low temperature overnight. If you stay above 20-25° for a few nights, you’re well on your way. I also look for people wearing shorts to run into the store, or even sandals. They come out around 40° in Minnesota. One other thing I look (and wait) for is the start of spring training for the Minnesota Twins. Once it is mid-February, it only gets better from there!

What do you think?

When do you believe winter ends in Minnesota? What are the signs you look for to know we’ve made it? I’d love to hear from you!

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Devan Dubnyk: Decline or Just a Slump?

dubnyk

Is Devan Dubnyk in a slump or is his career on the decline?dubnyk

This is a question I’ve heard many Minnesota Wild fans asking in this 2018-2019 season. At times, Dubnyk has made miraculous saves but at other times he seems to have trouble tracking even easy shots. He has played inconsistently, at best. At worst, he has been pulled from the game less than nine minutes in and replaced by back-up goalie Alex Stalock.

Depending on who and what you read, you’ll see that opinions vary greatly on what exactly is going on with Devan Dubnyk. I believe that we are seeing the decline of Dubnyk as a NHL goalie and the spotty play we’re seeing from him now will continue to manifest even more frequently.

Dubnyk’s Pre-Wild Career

Devan Dubnyk was drafted in the 1st round (14th overall) in the 2004 NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers. This was the same draft that saw Alexander Ovechkin drafted number one overall and Eygeni Malkin number two. After over four seasons with Edmonton, made stops in Nashville, Arizona, and he landed in Minnesota midway through the 2014-15 season. By the beginning of his fifth year with Edmonton, Dubnyk was posting a save percentage under .900 for the first time in his career. This continued in Nashville but seemed to have passed when he was traded to Arizona for the 2014-15 season. By the end of his tenure in Arizona, Dubnyk was a healthy scratch for some games.

Dubnyk Comes to Minnesota

When Dubnyk joined the Wild, he was saving shots at a .936 clip- the highest percentage in his career in 2014-15. For his perseverance, the journeyman was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. His first full season with the Wild in 2015-16, his save percentage was .918. 2016-17 saw a .923 save percentage, and 2017-18 .918. Devan Dubnyk brought a much-needed consistency to a position where the Wild struggled. The 2017-18 season, however, did start to show some signs of trouble with an uptick in goals allowed, fewer minutes played, and a drop in quality starts.

The 2018-19 Season

The 2018-19 season began well with the Wild goalie going 8-3-2 with a 2.13 goals-against average while saving .933% of shots. Trouble really began after the November 21st home game versus the Washington Capitals where Tom Wilson collided with Dubnyk. The Wild goalie was hit in the head and didn’t miss any time because of an injury but after that he went 2-6 and allowed 3.92 goalstom wilson against– not a good thing when your offense has consistently struggled to score goals.

Throughout this season, there have been four games that Dubnyk has allowed five goals. His last two starts fall into this category. Six times he has allowed four goals– the three games immediately following his collision on Nov. 21st are included here. Three goals have been scored on Dubnyk eight times this year. Obviously these aren’t all his fault however they are in his stat line, no one else’s. Perhaps the most concerning stat is this: Devan Dubnyk has one shutout through 37 games. One more interesting stat: half of his starts show him allowing at least three goals a game.

Dubnyk has been named to the All-Star team this season, although many consider this a bit of a head-scratcher when you consider the ups and downs (many downs, actually) that this season has shown us.

What is the Matter?

That is a good question. What is the matter with the Minnesota goalie? Many local fans believe that Dubnyk is experiencing a slump. Others say that it is fatigue, some say age. Dubnyk will be 33 in May, many goalies play at a high level well into their thirties. Fatigue is a viable cause. The NHL is 82 games long and Dubnyk typically plays in 65 games (+/-) a year. In 2017-18, Dubnyk played in 60 games, the fewest appearances he has had since joining the Wild. Dubnyk is 6 feet, 6 inches tall– large for a goalie. More time off may help to keep him rested and on point.

There is the possibility that his career is on the downswing. Aside from the statistics, I have noticed an increase in goals allowed that the Wild goalie just never saw. Easy shots are dribbling in, wrist shots clear of traffic zoom by without a reaction. Yes, the Wild defense need to get opponents out of the way however many of these are saves Dubnyk used to make. He looks out of position more often as well.

The overall defense for the Wild isn’t bad on paper. They rank fourth for fewest shots allowed and 11th in goals against (2.71) so it isn’t like they are dogging it on defense. Their goal differential is -3 so that points to the offense also being an issue here.

The Bottom Line

The Minnesota Wild need their goaltender at the top of his game if they want to make the playoffs. By some sort of miracle, the Wild currently hold the 2nd wild card position as of this morning. With the Minnesota offense sputtering on almost a nightly basis, the Wild have to stop as many goals as possible from trickling in. Whether this means resting Dubnyk opportunely or trading for an upgrade at that position, the Wild need to figure out what is going on with their goaltender ASAP. The trade market isn’t goalie-heavy this year, so it may mean stepping up their game elsewhere and waiting for an opportune moment to obtain an upgraded goaltender.

This fan is very worried about the state of Minnesota’s goal-tending and it’s effect on the Wild making it to and and lasting into the postseason.

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1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN – Make an Offer

1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

Price Reduced

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4 BEDROOMS | 2 Baths(2 full ) BATHROOMS | 1986 SqFt

RARE 4 bed/2 bath TH in private community in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on a quiet, no outlet street in Island Estates. Owner's suite on main w/ensuite bath. 3 bedrooms on one level, plus additional full bath on upper. Each bedroom has it's own walk in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio overlooking wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes to Clear Lake public boat landing. Easy freeway access. QUICK POSSESSION/CLOSING POSSIBLE!

 

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Go Somewhere Warm: A Minnesotan’s Winter Travel Guide

“I want to go somewhere warm.” The classic winter travel quote.VIBE-Vixen-Cold-Weather-Meme6

We’ve all said it, I’m sure we’ll all say it again sometime this winter and in years to come. Minnesota seemed to get very cold, very quickly this year and my thoughts have already turned to going somewhere warmer, even just for a few days, sometime this winter.

Where, then, shall we go?

For those who don’t know, I love to travel. I don’t care if it is a quick two-hour drive to Duluth or if it is to Europe, I love to go places. There are a few questions I ask myself when planning a winter trip, so if you need a place to begin you could start with these:

  1. How warm and what kind of warmth do I want?
  2. How do I want to get there?
  3. What kind of lodgings are available?
  4. Is there something specific I want to do?
  5. How can I best book my winter travel plans?

Let us begin, then, and dive into a Minnesotan’s winter travel guide! Disclaimer: the following are my opinions and based on my own experiences. Your own experience may be different.

1. How Warm and What Kind?

minionsIf you know anyone who goes away for the winter, they’ll tell you that they picked their destination based largely on weather–more specifically the humidity. Some people love the arid warmth of Arizona. At one point, my grandfather was recommended by a doctor that he spend some time there for his sinuses. Other people, individuals like myself, yearn for the humidity of a place like Florida. The winter is hard on our skin and Florida always feels very nice in January or February!

To be fair, you really don’t have to go that far to find some very nice winter weather. Recently, my family has started visiting Branson, Missouri right after Christmas. Its not HOT there but it is about 30° warmer that it is at home! 55° in December always feels VERY nice. The East Coast is also a nice winter destination, really as far north as North Carolina. They have temperate winters, humidity for the dry skin, and it isn’t always packed with winter escapees as Arizona and Florida.

It really is a little humorous, however, that Minnesotans really don’t have to travel very far to reach a temperature that will feel good…it is a blessing and a curse, I guess!

If you still aren’t sure of where you’d like to go for your winter travel, try a handy travel quiz and see what they tell you!

2. How Do I Want To Get There?

This may seem like a simple question, in my house it is not. My husband flies for a living, I drive for work all of the time. You can see the issue there!

Flying and driving each have their advantaged and disadvantages of course. Depending on your destination, your all-in costs could be a toss up. Hopping a 3-hour Delta Airlines flight to Las Vegas from Minneapolis in February can cost anywhere from $370 to over $1,000 depending on your cabin. Driving to Las Vegas would be a bear considering the mountains, hotel stops, and gas costs.

Rather than trying to compare flying and driving apples to apples as far as costs, I ask myself a couple of things:fly or drive

  1. How much time do we have?
  2. Would it make sense to fly and rent a car instead?
  3.  What kind of wear-and-tear does this put on my personal vehicle?

The first and second questions lead right into each other. If you’re planning a trip to Florida but only have a week to spend there, two days on either end will be spent driving. If you’re going to a “temperate warm” like Missouri or Tennessee, you can reach those states in 10 hours from Minnesota. It all depends on what you want but sometimes I believe travelers fail to factor in the actual travel time, realize they have less time at their destination that they thought, and then come home disappointed.

The third question is one that is often overlooked- what will a road trip mean for my car? Is your car well maintained? How old is it? If you’re driving from Minnesota to Florida, Arizona, etc, you’re traveling well over 1,000 miles in one direction. Probably closer to 1,500 miles. This means at least an oil change before you go, possibly one when you return as well. If you lease your vehicle, will traveling 2,000+ miles affect anything in your lease agreement? Just a few things to consider if contemplating winter travel, or any travel!

Winter travel also means potential weather and road hazards. Salt can be terribly hard on a vehicle and if you know your car doesn’t perform well in snow, I’d consider either renting one that does for your trip or to consider flying.

When all else fails, you can check out this Fly or Drive calculator. It isn’t fool proof but it can give you an idea of what you’d be looking at.

3. What kind of lodgings are available?

Never mind how you’re going to reach your destination…where are you going to stay? Does a hotel suit your needs? Do you want an all-inclusive resort? What about renting an entire home?vrbo

Many hotels provide at least breakfast with your stay, some like the Drury Inns and Suites are doing breakfast AND dinner. Extended stay hotels like Homewood Suites, Candlewood, etc are also doing dinner service as well. I’ve come across some Hampton Inns that have ventured into that arena as well.

In the past few years, the vacation rental home market has really taken off with the advent of websites like Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and HomeAway. In most instances, these rental homes can be rented at a better rate than most hotels. Sometimes it is nice to come back to your own private place rather than battling it out at hotel with a public pool. The only drawback of doing a vacation rental is that some have minimum stays required to book or have damage deposits that are non-refundable. Read the fine print!

4. Is there something specific I’d like to do?

Photo Jun 21, 11 08 00 AM smallerThis might be the easiest question to answer in planning your winter travel. If you know for a fact that you need to go to a beach during your trip, that narrows your options down very nicely. If you find you’d rather go skiing, this isn’t the article for you…just kidding! Are musical shows are your thing? Consider a place like Branson or Las Vegas. If hiking is what you desire, consider Arizona. It isn’t all desert like people envision. Check out this hiking guide to get started on your hiking adventure.

For the history nuts out there, like me, you can visit any one (or several) of hundreds of Civil War battlefields starting as far north as Kentucky and Missouri. Paducah, KY is a very easy Civil War site to reach if coming from the Bold North. Wilson’s Creek, MO is on the way to Branson and if you keep heading south Pea Ridge is just in Arkansas!

If Southern Charm is what you’d like to see, visit Charleston, South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia. These two gloriously historical cities are magical and the weather isn’t too shabby either! Charleston boasts quite the array of restaurants as well and I’d recommend Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island right off the bat. Amazing burgers and very close to the beach!

5. How can I best book my winter travel plans?

Here is where the rubber really hits the road– how do you get all of your winter travel plans booked? Again, not such an easy question to answer. In my experience, it depends on how detailed your trip is. I’ve self-booked most of my trips in my life with the exception of international travel. If your trip is going to be relatively simple, I’d say just tackle it yourself if you feel comfortable doing that.

If you are going to DIY it as most of us do, double and triple check the prices you’re being quoted. I prefer to book airline tickets directly from Photo Oct 05, 7 12 40 AM smallerthe airlines and not a third party website like Expedia or Priceline. Same with hotels for me. Delta also has Delta Vacations where you may be able to find a package deal for your airline tickets and a hotel. Just plug in where you’d like to go and your options will populate. I also recommend employing not only Google reviews for your research but also TripAdvisor. In my experience, you’re more likely to find a balance of reviews on TripAdvisor as firing off an angry review is easier to do on Google.

Getting Some Help

If you feel you need some guidance…or you just want someone to do it for you…I’d recommend contacting a travel agent. One I’ve used in the past is Viaku: Curated Travel Experiences. Karen Listgarten is the founder and is the best travel agent I’ve encountered. Big trip or small, domestic or international– Karen is the person you should talk to. Karen helped my mother and I book a mother/daughter trip to Italy this fall. I’ll tell you, without Karen’s services there is no way we would have had the experiences we did or found the deals that we couldn’t find. In fact, you can see our review on Karen’s website!

If you’d like to get in touch with Karen and set up some travel plans, just head on over to her website and let her know I sent you!

Buon Viaggio!

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you in planning your winter travel adventure this year or in the future! As always, safe travels and enjoy the warm(er) weather– whatever kind of warm you might choose!

 

Categories: amanda lucas realtor, delta airlines, florida, minnesota winters, winter travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Go Somewhere Warm: A Minnesotan’s Winter Travel Guide

20722 Granada Avenue N, Forest Lake, MN

20722 Granada Avenue N, Forest Lake, MN

For Sale

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS | 3 Baths(3 full ) BATHROOMS | 1644 SqFt

Fabulous home in a great neighborhood.Upgraded kit w/quartz counters,kitchen walks out to maintenance free deck and backyard, stainless steel appliances, large pantry for storage! Four bedrooms on one level. Spacious living room w/FP, open to kit- great for entertaining or cozing up with a good book! Master suite with private bath and walk-in closet. New roof in 2017, new carpet in upper. Close to schools, shopping, restaurants, etc. Less than 5 min to transit center. Don’t miss this one!

 

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1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

For Sale

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

RARE 4 bed/2 bath TH in private community in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on a quiet, no outlet street in Island Estates. Owner's suite on main w/ensuite bath. 3 bedrooms on one level, plus additional full bath on upper. Each bedroom has it's own walk in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio overlooking wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes to Clear Lake public boat landing. Easy freeway access. QUICK POSSESSION/CLOSING POSSIBLE!

 

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20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

Fabulous home in a great neighborhood.Upgraded kit w/quartz counters,kitchen walks out to maintenance free deck and backyard, stainless steel appliances, large pantry for storage! Four bedrooms on one level. Spacious living room w/FP, open to kit- great for entertaining or cozing up with a good book! Master suite with private bath and walk-in closet. New roof in 2017, new carpet in upper. Close to schools, shopping, restaurants, etc. Less than 5 min to transit center. Don't miss this one!

 

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1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

1304 Island Dr, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

RARE 4 bed/2 bath TH in private community in the heart of Forest Lake! Located on a quiet, no outlet street in Island Estates. Owner's suite on main w/ensuite bath. 3 bedrooms on one level, plus additional full bath on upper. Each bedroom has it's own walk in closet! Enjoy your morning coffee from the private patio overlooking wooded wetland. Blocks from shopping and restaurants, 5 minutes to Clear Lake public boat landing. Easy freeway access. QUICK POSSESSION/CLOSING POSSIBLE!

 

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20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN – Just Listed

20722 Granada Ave N, Forest Lake, MN

Just Listed

$ Click for current price
4 BEDROOMS |

Fabulous home in a great neighborhood.Upgraded kit w/quartz counters,kitchen walks out to maintenance free deck and backyard, stainless steel appliances, large pantry for storage! Four bedrooms on one level. Spacious living room w/FP, open to kit- great for entertaining or cozing up with a good book! Master suite with private bath and walk-in closet. New roof in 2017, new carpet in upper. Close to schools, shopping, restaurants, etc. Less than 5 min to transit center. Don't miss this one!

 

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6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN

6341 207th St N, Forest Lake, MN

For Sale

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS |

Marvelous end unit overlooking wildlife pond! 3 spacious bedrooms, master has walk-in closet. Updated eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances, large family room upstairs and cozy family room in lower–space for everyone! Walkout to patio on main level. Enjoy your morning coffee on private upper deck. Close to everything- shopping, restaurants, lakes, rec, etc. Less than 5 minutes to Forest Lake transit center for commuters, easy freeway access. Get here soon, this opportunity won't last!

 

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