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Local Weather History: 2019-20 Snow Season

The misleading snow season of 2019-20.

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 10:35 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 5:56 PM

11.1-32.4" has been measured from the October-April snow season in the viewing area from NWS COOP, CoCoRaHs observers, as well as our dedicated, trained WLFI spotters.  I am indebted to Jim in Kentland, Mary Anne in Remington, Randy in Frankfort, Tim in Veedersburg, Marty in Otterbein, Isaac in Crawfordsville, Kandy in Chalmers, to name a few, that consistently provide weather observations all year long.  These help to fill in gaps with these maps by adding up every single snowfall report.  I keep track of all of your reports & they very helpful. 

The COOP observer northwest of Mt. Ayr in Newton County has the highest amount in the viewing area recorded at 32.4"

The lowest was from the Pence COOP observer in Warren County with 11.1".  The Purdue Ag Farm total was lower at 10.9", but multiple days were missing in the observations.  Some days when I measured snow on the ground were either missing due to lack of report or had zeros.  It was the same for the Peru COOP site.  There are some snow days missing, bring the total artificially low at 9.6", so I did not include it after going through all the data with a fine-toothed comb to ensure absolute accuracy.

For Greater Lafayette from the Purdue Throckmorten Ag Center on 231 to the WLFI observations to CoCo observers on the northeast & south sides of Lafayette, totals ranged from 17.9-22.1".  The band of +21" seems to go all the way back to Hoopeston, Illinois (observer had 21.9" there) eastward through areas north of Frankfort (21.8") to Burlington (21.5") then through Howard County (21.1-27.4").

Outside of Newton County, the NWS COOP observer west-southwest of Kokomo had 27.4".

Heavier band also set up Watseka to Kentland.  CoCo observer near Watseka measured 23.5" & Kentland had 24".

This was sort of a misleading snow season.

The snow season was extra long (compared to other years) with accumulating snows running October 31-March 22 (barring we have anymore accumulating snowfalls).

In many years it does not begin until after Thanksgiving & ends by late February or early March.

The 2019 season was different in that there were many minor to moderate snows (heaviest totals from one storm were before Christmas when parts of Montgomery County saw 7") that just added up.

Most did not last long on the ground, making so many snows fleeting memories.

Here at our WLFI ob site, we ended up with 22.1".

However, digging into the data, there are some interesting stats from our observation site records.

1.  There were 18 days of measurable snowfall & 47 days (October 31-March 31 or 153 days) saw at least flakes.  That is 31% of the October 31-March 31 days seeing snowflakes.

2.  February was the snowiest month with 8.7" total.

3.  No single storm system snowfall exceeded 3.6" here at the WLFI ob site.  That snowfall occurred February 12-13.

4.  Second biggest snowfall was 3.5" on March 14. 

5.  During daily 7 p.m. snow depth observations, the depth was greater than 1" on only 15 days, showing that the snow tended to melt pretty quickly after falling.  Duration on the ground was rather short. 

Some winters, a 6" snow will be on the ground for a week.  In a couple winters over the past 10 years, we have had more than 1" of snow on the ground for more than 1.5 months.  A couple of winters in the past 151 years, have had at least 1" of snow on the ground for up to 3.5 months!

6.  Maximum snow depth at 7 p.m. observation time was 3.2" on February 13.

7.  Snowfall occurred outside of traditionally snowy periods.  Of the 22.1", just 2.2" fell in January.

December 18-January 24 saw only 0.2"!

Just 0.1" accumulated December 19-31.

8.  60% of the accumulating snowfall in the snow season fell in the period February 5-March 22

9.  Nearly 17% of the seasonal snowfall fell before December 17.

10.  So, 77% of all of the snowfall for the 2019-20 season either fell before December 17 or after February 5!  So, the typically coldest, snowiest time of the year was lackluster for snowfall.

11.  On a side note, it has been a windy winter & winter overall 2019-20 snow season.  The average daily peak wind gust November 1-March 31 was 26 mph.  So, on average, every day was breezy (breezy wording = 25 mph or greater).

Month with the average highest daily gusts has been March at 29.3 mph. 

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