Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

What to do when winter hangs on in Minnesota March 31, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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It’s still cold enough for winter gear here in Minnesota. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo January 2018)

WINTER RETAINS ITS firm grip on Minnesota, even in this official season of spring. We are in a Winter Storm Warning for Friday evening through Saturday morning with some 4-6 inches of snow forecast for my area along with wind gusts to 45 mph. Other parts of Minnesota will see more snow and wind, resulting in blizzard conditions.

Temps have also been unseasonably cold. Think below zero in some areas of our state earlier in the week. We did not reach 50 degrees in March, unusual even by Minnesota averages.

What to do? Endure. Escape. Or embrace.

The definition of endure is obvious. Don warm clothes, crank up the heat and wait.

A loon family on Horseshore Lake south of Crosslake in central Minnesota. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo July 2020)

Escape means traveling to some place warm, like Arizona or Florida or California or Texas. Plenty of Minnesotans do exactly that over spring break. Or, when that’s not an option, envision the summer ahead and a Minnesota northwoods lakeside cabin. I’m picturing that in my mind, in mid-July, warm sand between my toes, water lapping, blue skies, loons calling…

A beautiful summer day at Horseshoe Lake. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo July 2020)

Or, if you’re a south metro first grade teacher, you can embrace, or rather defy, the cold with Beach Day. On a 10-degree morning, my almost 7-year-old granddaughter headed off to school in a tank top and shorts, prepared to celebrate a day at the beach. An oversized sun and waves graphic defined her defiant, colorful shirt. Per her mom’s care, Izzy layered her snowpants and winter coat over her summer attire and packed a sweatshirt.

On the beach at Horseshoe Lake. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo July 2020)

The wise teacher advised students they could wear shorts, “if you want to be cold.” Apparently Izzy and a few others wanted to be cold. Ah, the optimism of youth who weren’t about to allow a low morning temp of 10 degrees to spoil their day at the beach.

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “What to do when winter hangs on in Minnesota”

  1. Looks like there might be another storm headed your way. We have had a lovely week in NC and I even bought my hanging ferns for my decks. They aren’t going up quite yet—- high winds are coming this weekend and I don’t want them twisting and turning and losing all those lush leaves.

    The beach day is a brilliant idea—- bet those kids loved it.

  2. beth Says:

    a great way to get through long winters, to focus on what’s to come. I love that the teacher had beach day! so fun for all –

  3. Oh my! More snow!!! I really do think you guys need a huge break of SPRING!!!! Of course, I am wanting that for my own personal travel needs as well, with my return to MN mid month. Sigh…
    Today I resolved (after I wrote my Spring blog) that i would just do my gardening in a full downpour! Defiant American!!! As I entered the community garden there was an entire class of grade school kids planting pansy flowers, beets, and other seeds in their garden plot! I felt my heart leap out of my chest!!!

  4. Valerie Says:

    I can visualize the kids in their shorts and t-shirts having a fun time pretending it’s warm and sunny. I’ll bet the report from Izzy will be positive!


    I love the 3 Es, endure, escape and embrace! I realized I do all three. I’ve been trying to “embrace” winter during the last few years, especially during covid. I realized I had to get out of the house more so invested in snow pants and walking sticks to make going out more doable. I still don’t go out enough but am making the effort. Winter is indeed about enduring, but also I am fortunate to escape to warmer temps for a couple of weeks. We are not “snowbirds” nor do we want to be, but an “escape” sure helps. I plan to remember your 3 Es! Thanks!

  6. Michelle Says:

    My son would like your winters, I’m thinking. He’s a fan of the cold. Me, not so much, which aligns with my theory that you like best the weather of your birth month.

  7. Ah, I’m reading this Saturday afternoon, after the blizzard went through overnight and we woke up to a Mother Nature April Fool’s Day prank. Six inches of slushy snow, downed pine boughs in our yard, family visiting from Wisconsin who had to head out before the plows went through our neighborhood. They drive a big 4-wheel-drive vehicle, so were okay, but they texted later that the roads were pretty bad from here to Menomonie, WI, or so….they had to drive all the way home to Oconomowoc, on the other side of Madison, so one of their young adult kids could get to work for the afternoon shift today. Quite the adventure! I guess our family in general decided not to let this tenacious winter stop anything, although our family dinner broke up early last night for the safety of kids who had to get home without a detour through the ditch. Onward! Spring will win eventually.

  8. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    and then there’s me….. In my most recent blog post you will see that we escaped southern Minnesota to head to the North Shore of Minnesota where there was more snow. I am milking winter for all it’s worth. We enjoyed winter hiking and snowshoeing, in the quiet still forests where the paths wound around the raging Knife river. The stillness & peace was beautiful! Winter quiets my soul and gives me rest and peace. I know Spring will be here soon, I will embrace it in due time.

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