Pile of snow lives on in Minneapolis despite summer heat

The 2022-23 winter was one of the snowiest in the history of Minnesota. Duluth and St. Cloud both reported record snow, and the Twin Cities reported 90.3 inches, making it the area’s third snowiest winter on record.

MINNEAPOLIS - Reminders of a historic winter across the Upper Midwest still remain at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, despite being in the heart of summer.

A 2-foot pile of snow that originated from crews clearing taxiways, runways and other facilities during the snowy season sits on airport grounds more than 80 days after the region’s last snowfall.

In the months since the last flakes, temperatures have reached 95 degrees, and there has been plenty of sun to melt the frozen precipitation away, but crews believe a layer of sand that is on top of the snow and mixed throughout has helped to insulate it and block the effects of the direct sunlight.

Mark Rudolph, a manager at the airport’s field maintenance department, said the unusual sight was half a year in the making.

"Our first snow was actually November 2022 of this past season, and it started piling up ever since, and at MSP, we had the third-heaviest snowfall in history at 90.3 inches," Rudolph said. "So, it was a very, very busy year for us."


An average year produces about 51 inches in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t stop the airport from having hundreds of employees always at the ready to keep the airport running during winter storms.

"Where the snow is currently staged, our employees drive by it every day, and they like to turn their heads in the opposite direction and forget about the long winter we had. We like to say the pile serves as a friendly reminder. And if you think about it, winter again is not too far off here in Minnesota. It could start snowing here as early as October," Rudolph stated.

Rudolph said hundreds of personnel are usually on standby from around October through April to respond to frozen precipitation and keep aircraft flying into and out of MSP with minimal disruptions.



This isn’t the first time a pile of snow has lasted through the spring and into the summer at what is Delta Air Lines’ second-largest hub.

Rudolph said the snowfall from the 2018-19 season made it to about July 28 before the summer heat got the best of it.

The question that has many people wondering is if the snow can last a full year until the flakes start to fly again in the fall.

Rudolph believes it is doubtful - the pile loses a couple of inches every time a warm summer rain moves over the airfield.

Some of the airport staff believe the pile will completely melt away by early August, just in time to start thinking about what the next winter has in store.