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Frost Depth Near Normal After Long Run of Subzero Temperatures

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This winter, we've suffered through subzero temperatures for more than thirty days. So, what does that mean for our soil?

The expansion and contraction from hot summers and frigid winters like this one, makes a fine recipe for water main breaks.

These cold temperatures penetrating beneath the streets, change soil conditions and weaken pipes. Causing impromptu street fountains.

Tom Hoverstad of Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca says, "The snow here protects us and acts like a blanket and keeps the soil a little bit warmer. Of course areas like roadways, parking lots, where we move snow, frost depth will be a little deeper."

That cushion of snow is helping to keep the soils moisture levels up.

Hoverstad says, "We have a reasonable amount of snow on the ground in the Waseca area. Last week, I was out in Lamberton, Granite Falls, Luverne area. There, the fields have blown clean and they have a significant amount of frost. Their frost depth is 48 inches compared to 27 for us here."

With a depth of just over two feet in the Waseca area the snow cover is something the more western part of the state wish they had.

Hoverstad says "Agriculturally, they're concern is they'd like to see a little bit more moisture in their soil. We're in a better situation, they're drier. They'd like to see some snow fall and snow melt get into the soil and that's hard to do when the ground is frozen that deep."

With the warmer temperatures forecasted in the 40s next week it looks like things may start to thaw out a bit in the coming weeks.

Hoverstad says we are at the point where the frost is as deep as it's going to go.

As for farmers, he says the frost shouldn't delay anything as long as the weather warms up.