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Snowmageddon 2012: Burnsville Racks Up 12.5 Inches of Snow

Burnsville will have a White Christmas thanks to a winter storm over Saturday and Sunday, but the snow will make only a "minor dent" in the severe drought that grips Dakota County and much of Minnesota.

Over a foot of snow blanketed Burnsville after the largest snowstorm in two years swept through the Twin Cities region.

The storm backed up traffic for two days and precipitated over 600 crashes and 1,000 spinouts statewide. Greg Spoden, state climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources, told Burnsville Patch that the 12.5 inches of white stuff puts Burnsville ahead of total snowfall totals for last winter, which was one of the warmest and dryest in recent memory. 

Though the storm caused many a fender bender, the snow will only make a "minor dent" in the drought that has afflicted Dakota County (and the rest of Minnesota) for months.

"Has the drought ended? That's a definitive no," Spoden said on Tuesday.

Spoden said that the snowstorm will have some impact on drought conditions, to be sure. The blizzard brought the largest amount of precipitation for a single day since July. He estimated that the snow would generate a 3/4 inch to an inch and a quarter of liquid precipitation. 

"The bad news is that this snowfall fell on mostly frozen landscape and only a portion of the precipitation will enter the soil profile. Soil moisture is of greatest conxern right now," Spoden said. "We're four to six inches short of where we should be entering next growing season. A modest precipitation event is not going ot cut it."

The region still has to bounce back from last winter, when snowfall for all of January 2012 totaled just 4.5 measely inches, with almost none in February. 

"Last winter was the one that wasn't. It was a very snow-sparse," Spoden said. "Then we had the warmest March on modern record, with temperatures in 60s and 80 degrees on St. Patrick's Day. It was extraordinary."

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