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I've been seeing a lot of cold air on the weather charts lately, especially for so early in the season. Being of "limited sound mind" when it comes to snow ( I'm a big fan) it's impossible for me not to start thinking of the coming snow season. Most years we see our first flurries in late October which is only a couple months away, but who's counting?

Of course whatever happens this year, it's going to be hard to top what we had last winter. After a slow start, a very snowy January and February produced more than 40" of snow in just 6 weeks. That combined with the cold made it the worst winter in my area since 2013-14.

You can see the whole northern half of the nation was impacted by well above normal snowfall.

I took these pictures on March 1st in Austin, Minnesota where there was a 40" snow depth. It was astounding. The most snow I've ever seen on the ground here in the Midwest

The two biggest storms of last winter managed to miss my house (typical of my luck) but caught other parts of my area. The first was the big Thanksgiving weekend blizzard that smoked SE Iowa and northern Illinois. Here's the snow totals from that event. The 15" in the Quad Cities was easily the largest November snow of all-time

With winds up to 50 mph blizzard warnings were issued for the following areas.

The 2nd major storm in late February blasted the northwest half of Iowa and SE Minnesota. Again more than a foot of snow and 50 mph winds combined to produce whiteout conditions. Here's some of the totals from that event.

Huge drifts up to 20 feet closed I-35 from northern Iowa to just about Minneapolis. A couple pictures taken near Rochester, Minnesota after the storm.

As bad and disruptive as these two storms were, they were only rated 1 on the RSI (regional snowfall index) NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information is now producing the Regional Snowfall Index (RSI) for significant snowstorms that impact the eastern two thirds of the U.S. The RSI ranks snowstorm impacts on a scale from 1 to 5, similar to the Fujita scale for tornadoes or the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes.These types of storms have large areas of 10 inch or greater snowfall accumulations. The RSI has five categories: Extreme, Crippling, Major, Significant, and Notable. The index differs from other meteorological indices in that it uses population information in addition to meteorological measurements. Thus the RSI gives an indication of a storm's societal impacts. This scale was developed because of the impact snowstorms can have on the country in terms of transportation and economic impact. RSI scores are a function of the area affected by the snowstorm, the amount of snow, and the number of people living in the path of the storm. The largest RSI values result from storms producing heavy snowfall over large areas that include major metropolitan centers.

This is the November blizzard RSI

This is the late February storm's RSI