It's official:  The Winter of 2018-2019 was one of the most severe in nearly a decade for the crews that keep our roads safe and clear in Minnesota.  The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released the data they compiled; snow and ice removal cost the state $133 million last winter.

Many may not realize it, but the combined total of miles make Minnesota's highway system the fifth-largest in the United States.  Combine that with the fact that our state also receives some of the harshest winter weather conditions, and you have a recipe for a busy and costly season for plow and sanding-truck drivers.

According to statistics released by MNDOT:

The statewide snowfall average was 97.2 inches, the result of 31 snow events during the 2018-19 winter season. Those storms created a statewide Winter Severity Index score of 154, nearly 40 points higher than during 2017-18 and the most severe since MNDOT began tracking a severity level this way. The Winter Severity Index compares nine factors that affect snow and ice removal, including temperature, hours of snowfall, blowing snow and precipitation type.

In addition to the number of snow events, MNDOT also cites the fact that the 2018-2019 snow season included more hours of snow than usual.  State crews logged more than 198,000 hours of overtime last winter.

One number that went down in 2018-2019:  the amount of road salt and sand.  MNDOT used strategic methods to utilize more liquid chemicals which led to less material used.