John Wheeler: Average is a moving target
The period of 1991-2020 happens to be the wettest and snowiest three-decade period on record for our region
FARGO — Weather and climate provide a continuum of changing expectations. Some years in late March, we're hoping for a little rain to quench the warm and dry soil. Other years, we are wondering if there really is any soil under all that snow. Meteorologists and climatologists account for these fluctuations by comparing weather against a moving, three-decade average.
Our winter snow accumulation of 57 inches in Fargo and 66 inches in Grand Forks is more than the 1991-2020 average of 51 inches in Fargo and 48 inches in Grand Forks. The period of 1991-2020 happens to be the wettest and snowiest three-decade period on record for our region. The average used in the 1980s was based on the years 1951-1980, during a period of drier climate. Fargo's average then was 36 inches and Grand Forks' was 37 inches, which would have made a snowy winter like this one even more extraordinary.