Coming off the heels of the snowiest winter on record in several places in Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, this winter is off to a very different start.

The winter of 2022-2023 saw record-setting snowfall in places like Duluth, Brainerd, and Bayfield, with Spooner recording a top-3 snowiest winter last year. While we've gotten a few dustings so far, most of the region doesn't have much, if anything on the ground as we come into the middle of December.

NOAA says Northern Minnesota is among the most likely places to see a "white Christmas", based on historical data. This year might be a little more challenging to hit that mark. Here's a rundown of some Northland locations and the odds of seeing a white Christmas, based on historical data:

  • Babbitt, MN: 96% chance
  • Mellen, WI: 95% chance
  • Brimson, MN: 94% chance
  • Cloquet, MN: 94% chance
  • Duluth, MNL 92% chance
  • Bayfield, WI: 90% chance
  • Grand Rapids, MN: 90% chance
  • Gordon, WI: 88% chance
  • Hayward, WI: 88% chance
  • Bruno, MN: 87% chance

What is defined as a "white Christmas"? At least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. While that might not be impossible to achieve across the region, having more significant snow on the ground doesn't look as promising.

READ MORE: What are the 15 snowiest winters on record in Duluth?

The weather outlook for the remainder of December from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center shows a pretty high likelihood of warmer-than-normal temperatures and below-normal precip chances between now and the end of December.

If the current trend continues and that outlook holds true, that means our first month of the winter season has gotten off to a pretty abnormally snowless start. As we proceed into the winter of 2023-2024, you might be wondering what some of our least-snowy winters over the years have looked like.

Believe it or not, there are 15 years Duluth has received less than half of our normal snowfall for a winter. In a normal winter, Duluth usually gets 86.1 inches of snow - which is 7 feet 2.1 inches. Here's a tour through the years where we got a lot less than that:

The 15 Least Snowy Winters On Record In Duluth History

Since the National Weather Service began keeping weather records in Duluth in the late 1800s, here are the 15 winters with the lowest snowfall totals on historical record.

It is worth noting that the official records from 1941-today have been recorded at the area now known as the Duluth International Airport (away from the lake, on top of the hill). Before then, various locations closer to Lake Superior had been used for official weather recording data. For anyone that knows anything about how Lake Superior and the hill play a role in temperature and snow, you can see how this makes older records inherently different.

While these records note the "least snowy winters", they actually include all seasonal snowfall from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth