Heavy snow in the 1990s is skewing the averages

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The average snowfall for a winter season is listed as 50 inches in Fargo-Moorhead and 47 inches in Grand Forks. However, these figures are possibly misleading.

Because our climate varies over time, the standard is to use the most recent complete three decades for comparisons. So any climate statistic is presently calculated from the years 1981 through 2010. After 2020 ends, we will recalculate climate averages using data from 1991 to 2020. The numbers from the 1980s will be dropped in favor of the 2010s.

Annual snow in the '80s averaged 41.9 inches in Fargo and 41.4 inches in Grand Forks. So far this decade, the averages are 47 inches in Fargo and 42.5 inches in Grand Forks. So barring extraordinary snow this winter, the Fargo average should drop 2 to 3 inches while the Grand Forks average stays about the same.

However, the snowiest decade on record was the 1990s when Fargo averaged 58.4 inches and Grand Forks 59.2 inches. Unless the coming decade is as snowy as the '90s, it is likely the average annual snowfall figures will drop a few more inches after 2030.

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