Minneapolis street maintenance supervisor Mike Kennedy is once again nearing the end of the alphabet in his annual routine of naming winter storms. Last week's suffocating blast of slush, ice and 9.9 inches of snow was the 22nd storm this winter that prompted a mobilization of some kind by the public works department, so it became Winter Storm Vincent.
And because it also led to a snow emergency, Vincent has now been retired from the list of possible names. It was the seventh snow emergency of the season -- one short of the record set in 2010-11.
If Kennedy gets to the end of the alphabet of street names, he dips into neighborhood names. In 2008-09, the first year he started naming storms, he got to Armatage (27 storms). In 2010-11, the Twin Cities' fourth-snowiest winter, he reached all the way to Minnehaha (36 storms). Last winter, when it snowed all the way into May, the last final event was Winter Storm Fulton (31st on the list).
(If you're reading closely, you might wonder why the 31st storm didn't start with an "E." It's because a 6-inch snowfall on Feb. 26, 2009, became Winter Storm Xerxes and produced a snow emergency, knocking the city's only X street off the list of possible names. )
The Twin Cities has recorded 57 inches of snow this winter. That's slightly more than what's officially normal for an entire season (based on winters from 1981-2010), but way more than the 47.0-inch long-term average, covering the last 129 winters. That snow-covered memory lane is here.
Photo: Matt Carlquist, just back in Minneapolis after seven years in Africa, dug his car out of its parking space last week after Winter Storm Vincent. Star Tribune photo by Renee Jones Schneider.