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Winter Severity Index readings continue to climb

Snow on trees
Snow on trees

Deep snow across much of Northeastern Minnesota has pushed Winter Severity Index readings higher, according to figures released over the weekend by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Many locations are now over the 100-point level. One point is added to the WSI each day the temperature falls below zero, and another is added for each day the snow depth is greater than 15 inches. Eight northern sites all have readings over 100, including Isabella and Poplar Lake on the Gunflint Trail.

A “Moderate” winter has a WSI reading of between 121 and 140; a “Moderately Severe” winter comes in with a WSI reading of between 141 and 180. The DNR says so far this winter is looking more like a ‘Moderately Severe’ one in the mid-range of between 150 and 160 if the deep snow persists through March.

So far this year, Isabella has a reading of 101 contrasted with last winter at this time with a WSI of 89. Poplar Lake comes in with 128 compared with last year’s Winter Severity Index reading of 68.