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Chapter III


And Its Growth

The Land of the Sky-Blue Water

Minnesota lies approximately at the geographic center of North America. Its greatest length, from north to south, is about 400 miles, and its maximum width, north of Lake Superior, is some 357 miles. In area, Minnesota ranks tenth among the continental United States with 4,287 square miles. The climate is continental, with temperature extremes marked by cold winters, with strong winds from western Canada bringing Arctic cold over the state, and at times very warm summers, due to moist, warm air from the Gulf of Mexico. In the northern part of the state the temperatures can fall to -50° F. in winter, and in the southern part of the state the thermometer can show 1110 F. in summer. In general, the climate throughout the state is mild rather than cold, and the average temperature is about 120 F. in winter, 41° F. in spring, 67° in summer and 450 in the fall, suggesting climatic conditions making Minnesota the healthiest of all the states.

Comparing the Minnesota climate to European conditions, it can be said that at the latitude of the capital, St. Paul (the latitude of the French Riviera) winter begins a few weeks earlier than it does in Southern Finland and goes on, with the severity of winters in Central Finland, to about the middle of March, when there is rapid change to spring, with the snows melting away within a very few days. On the other hand, severe snowstorms even in May are not unknown, and one occurring in May 1954 came mixed with dust from Texas, dropping a "red snow" over the already green fields and lawns of Minnesota. In summer, there is a period of several weeks that are noticeably warmer than


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