Tornadoes are rated on a scale from 0 to 5. Everyone knows a Category 5 hurricane is far more dangerous than a Category 1. Why not rate winter storms, to better set expectations?

In recent years experts have been quietly testing just such a scale: the WSSI, or Winter Storm Severity Index. An intense (Category 5) winter storm is "capable of extensive property damage; lifesaving actions will be needed."

Nothing nearly that dramatic is brewing, but we're still on track for plowable snow amounts Monday. A cool 3-6 inches may pile up in the metro, with a band of 8-12 inches possible from Alexandria and Fergus Falls to Brainerd and Duluth. Ho ho ho. Santa is pleased.

A fresh jolt of crisp, population-thinning air direct from the nether regions of the Arctic will slap the mercury below zero by midweek for the first time since early March. No fear. Temperatures rebound above 30 late next week. Any Siberian sting will be fleeting.

Another good winter for snow lovers? Yes.