National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter Awareness Week activities are also going on in Wisconsin. More information can be found from the Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service in Sullivan, WI.


November 6th through the 10th is Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota. Each year the National Weather Service and the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management promote winter safety and individual preparedness for all citizens wherever they are: in their homes, on the road, at work, and at play. Unfortunately, many people each year suffer needlessly because they are unaware of the potential dangers of the winter season.

Minnesota Snowfall during the winter of 2016-2017

Average Annual Snowfall across Minnesota

Snowfall totals for Minnesota during the winter of 2016-2017

Average annual snowfall across Minnesota

 

Winter Weather Preparations

 

  • Keep ahead of the winter storm by listening for the latest weather statements, watches and warnings.
  • Your vehicle should also be ready. Get it winterized, before the onset of winter weather.
  • Be equipped for the worst. Carry a winter survival kit in your car, especially when traveling in rural or open areas. Try to travel with others.

When Driving

  • Yield to snowplows, and give them plenty of room to operate.
  • If your vehicle becomes stranded, stay with it until help arrives.
  • Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard, you could easily become lost in the whiteout conditions.

Outdoor Activities

  • If you will be outside during storms or extreme cold, dress in layered clothing and avoid overexertion.
  • Do not kill yourself shoveling snow. Shoveling is very hard work and may induce a heart attack.
  • If you will be snowmobiling, avoid alcohol. Most snowmobile deaths are alcohol related. Take a snowmobile course offered by the DNR or check with your snowmobile dealer.
  • Every year, there are fatalities in Minnesota when people fall through thin ice.

Home Safety

  • Heating fires are a major cause of residential fires in Minnesota. Turn off portable heating devices when you are away from home or retire for the evening. Have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected before winter.
  • Carbon Monoxide is most likely to accumulate inside homes during winter. Check your heating systems and ensure your home has proper ventilation. Install a UL listed Carbon Monoxide detector that sounds an alarm.

In addition to these brief reminders, more detailed winter safety information will be available each day during the week of November 6th. The following is a list of the daily topics for our Winter Hazard Awareness Campaign.

Monday, November 6 - Winter Storms

Tuesday, November 7 - Outdoor Winter Safety

Wednesday, November 8 - Winter Fire Safety

Thursday, November 9 - Indoor Winter Safety

Friday, November 10 - Winter Driving


Armistice Blizzard, Photo from St Louis Park, MN

Excelsior Boulevard in St Louis Park, MN. Photo Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

The Armistice Day Blizzard struck the region on November 11, 1940, and was considered  by many to be Minnesota's worst blizzard of the 20th Century. The weather was relatively benign the morning of the 11th, and many people were outdoors, taking advantage of the nice mild weather. The forecast issued by the U.S. Weather Bureau in Chicago (there was no forecast office in the Twin Cities at the time) was for colder temperatures and a few flurries. Few people were prepared for what was to come. The storm started with rain, but it quickly turned to snow. By the time the blizzard tapered off on the 12th, the Twin Cities had received 16.7 inches of snow, Collegeville 26.6 inches, and 20-foot drifts were reported near Willmar. In all, 49 Minnesotans lost their lives in this storm, many of them hunters who were trapped by the sudden turn of events. There were about 150 deaths across the region.

MN State Climatology

MN Historical Society Video

Detailed retrospective from NWS La Crosse


Winter Hazard Awareness Week is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. It is sponsored by nine different organizations across Minnesota, including the National Weather Service. For additional information, contact the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at (651) 201-7400, or Wisconsin Emergency Management at (608) 242-3000.

National Winter Weather Awareness Page

Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Wisconsin Emergency Management