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Winter Information

Winter Clothing:
Wearing layers will help keep you warm in Minnesota's winter. Below are some items to consider.
  • Gloves and Mittens      
  • Earmuffs               
  • Handwarmers
  • Comfortable
  • Thick Wool Socks
  • Winter Boots
  • Thermal Compression Apparel        
  • Hats/Beanies
  • Scarves
  • Jackets
  • Sweaters
Where can I find these things?
See the Shopping Resources page for local stores and shopping malls.

Winter Warnings: 
Besides winter clothes to keep you warm, there are things you should know about in Minnesota such as snow emergencies, where to park during snow emergencies, and winter alerts. 
Snow Emergency Parking & Driving:
When a Snow Emergency is declared, parking in the city will be different. A Snow Emergency is declared by the city after a large snowfall so the snow can be cleaned from the streets.
In Saint Paul, you cannot park on the Night Plow Route side when parking in Saint Paul starting at9 PM. At 8 AM, the day after the snow emergency, plowing will happen on the other side of the road that signs are not posted on. 
For Minneapolis, watch this clip from YouTube. This video will inform you about the Minneapolis Snow Emergency Parking Rules.
Here is a video through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on Winter Weather Driving, Be Prepared: Winter Weather Driving Advice.
Some tips on driving in the Winter:
  • Drive only when necessary
  • Drive slowly, and give yourself space from other cars
  • Do not use Cruise Control
  • Clean your windows and mirrors thoroughly
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready.
    • Have antifreeze, a full tank of gas and a snow brush are in-car staples. It's good to have your car stocked with what you'll need in case you get stranded.
    • Blankets, mittens, socks, hats, boots, shoes, jackets, sweaters
    • Ice scraper and snow brush
    • Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
    • Jumper cables
    • First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap). See a first-aid kit checklist.
    • Bottled water
    • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman multi-tool or a Swiss Army knife)
    • Road flares or reflective warning triangles
    • Windshield cleaner
    • Hand warmers
  • Check out this MPR article for driving tips: How To Not Crash Your Car And Other Snow Driving Tips
Winter Alerts:
If you want to receive alerts about Snow Emergencies, then you can sign up for alerts through text or email. Signing up can be different for different cities, each city might have a different system, please look at the link below for more information about the different cities in Minnesota.
  • To sign up for Saint Paul, Text STPAUL SNOW to 468311 to receive a text message when a Snow Emergency is declared or to subscribed to through email, Subscribe to "Snow Alert" and receive an email and/or text message when a Snow Emergency is declared. 
  •  To sign up for Minneapolis, you can download the Minneapolis Snow Emergency Rules app for IOS or Android, or Email and text alerts – Choose "Email" or "SMS/Text Message" from the "Subscription Type" drop-down menu. You can sign up for both by submitting the form twice. 
You can find more information on Snow Emergencies and Winter Alerts here and here.
Important Winter Weather Terms:
  • Winter Storm Warning/Watch
    • Warning is issued 12 to 48 hours before to public about forms of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, heavy sleet, or blizzard.
  • Wind Chill Warning
    • Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure. Wind chill means how cold the air will feel on exposed skin, so be sure to cover all exposed skin and dress warm! 
  • Wind Chill Advisories
    • Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure. Wind chill means how cold the air will feel on exposed skin, so be sure to cover all exposed skin and dress warm! 
  • Blizzard Warning
    • Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours
  • Sleet
    • Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.
  • Freezing Rain
    • Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing. This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice 
  • You can find more information about weather and terms through these websites/apps:
  • Severe Weather Watch and Warning -Twin Cities
  • Severe Weather Alerts – KTSP/ABC Weather Alerts
  • Severe Weather – CBS Minnesota Weather Alert
  • Seven Best Serve Weather Warning Apps – You can download one of these apps to have real-time weather alerts (the apps below are free to use)
    • Emergency: Alerts
    • WeatherBug
    • Storm Radar
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    • AlertSense 
Winter Activities in Minnesota: 
You do not have to be locked inside the whole winter! If it is cold outside, layer up, put on your socks, boots, sweaters, jackets, hats, scarves, mitten/gloves, earmuffs and enjoy the winter weather and activities. 
If this is your first-time in Minnesota’s winter, indeed it might be freezing but there are fun activities you can do in the snow. You can go sledding, play in the snow, build a snowman, or even ice skate. Here are some events and activities that are put on through Minnesota that are fun and festive.
  • Snowshoeing/Cross Country Skiing - Lebanon Hills in Eagan offers snowshoe rentals and great trails
  • Ice Castles - Visit Ice Castles in January
  • Ice Skating and various winter activities - Destination Winter in St. Paul is free to skate and just $5 for rentals
  • Check out frozen waterfalls and ice caves – But be very careful when walking to waterfalls, can be very slippery:
  • Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis is a great spot.
  • Gooseberry Falls near Duluth is also a beautiful place for a frozen waterfall.
  • Bentleyville is $10 per vehicle to park in the Bentleyville lots but has free admissions to Bentleyville and located in Duluth –
    • free admission for all guests
    • free hot cocoa & coffee
    • free cookies, free freshly popped popcorn
    • free marshmallows to roast
    • free visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus
    • Guests are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item or new unwrapped toy to donate to the Salvation Army for those in need.
  • Top Golf - There is only one location in Minnesota and it’s in Brooklyn Park. Prices vary based on which package you purchase. They have a restaurant so you can order food and drinks, plus there are heaters blowing on each bay, so you can warm up in between swings.
  • Some places to go to for Snow Tubing
    • Buck Hill in Burnsville
    • Elm Creek in Maple Grove
    • Green Acres in Lake Elmo
    • Best Sledding places to go to throughout the Twin Cities. Clicking on the link below will provide some information on parks that you can go sledding at.
  • Twin Cities Guide to The Best Sledding Hills 
  • For more ideas on things to do in winter, check out the Visit St Paul: Things to Do Page or the Meet Minneapolis: 150 Things You Must Do in Minneapolis page.
This page is for informational purposes only. Students may use any vendors they prefer.