KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City enjoys beautiful fall weather, could snow be on the horizon in a matter of weeks or months?
At this point, as we soak in reasonable temperatures and “sweater weather,” it’s hard to predict when Kansas City will see its first snowfall.
But October is known as the month when everything changes in Kansas City weather.
Historically, data does tell us snow could come this month — though the FOX4 forecast for the next two weeks doesn’t support that so far. And some years, the first snow drags its feet well into the new year.
So when will those first flakes fall? Here’s what history tells us:
When will it snow?
Although there’s no exact prediction for the first snowfall of the year yet, data from the National Weather Service could give us a hint.
Kansas City’s earliest snowfall on record happened on Oct. 14, 2018.
That’s not an anomaly. Even in other recent years, we’ve seen snow in October; 2020 saw snow on Oct. 26, and 2019 brought snow on Oct. 28.
On average, Kansas City has its first snow on Nov. 28.
But since 2000, most of our first snowfalls have been in December, so there’s always a chance we could wait awhile.
Speaking of waiting, in winter 2021-2022, Kansas City didn’t have its first measurable snow until New Year’s Day, and in 1980, Kansas City recorded the latest date for its first snow on Jan. 21.
And even when it does snow for the first time, typically it’s a lighter amount to help us adjust back to winter. The first snows in the past 10 years have been relatively kind to us:
- Nov. 14, 2022 — 0.4 inches
- Jan. 1, 2022 — 2.1 inches
- Oct. 26, 2020 — 0.9 inches
- Oct. 28, 2019 — 0.3 inches
- Oct. 14, 2018 — 0.2 inches
- Dec. 24, 2017 — 1.1 inches
- Dec. 7, 2016 — 0.3 inches
- Dec. 28, 2015 — 2.3 inches
- Nov. 11, 2014 — 0.1 inches
- Dec. 5, 2013 — 1.2 inches
How much snow could we see?
Data from the National Weather Service shows, on average from 1991 to 2020, Kansas City only sees 0.3 inches of snowfall in October. So history (and the FOX4 forecast) tells us, don’t hold your breath for a big snow before Halloween.
But in November, Kansas City sees an average of 1.1 inches of snow. As the temperature falls, the chances for snow increase.
Here’s how the average for each month breaks down:
- October: 0.3 inches
- November: 1.1 inches
- December: 4 inches
- January: 4.9 inches
- February: 5.9 inches
- March: 1.7 inches
- April: 0.3 inches
Kansas City’s average snowfall for each year is 18.2 inches, but last winter’s total was significantly below that at 9 inches.
Here’s how much snow we’ve recorded over the past 10 winters:
- 2022-2023 — 9 inches
- 2021-2022 — 19.7 inches
- 2020-2021 — 15.5 inches
- 2019-2020 — 17.2 inches
- 2018-2019 — 29.1 inches
- 2017-2018 — 7.7 inches
- 2016-2017 — 4.9 inches
- 2015-2016 — 5.9 inches
- 2014-2015 — 14.2 inches
- 2013-2014 — 26.1 inches
- 2012-2013 — 31.8 inches
Kansas City has seen some much snowier years than those above. The snowiest winter on record was 1911-1912 when Kansas City saw a whopping 68 inches of snow over the season.
Here are the top 20 winters by snow totals:
The lowest snowfall total Kansas City ever saw was 4.5 inches in 1922-1923, according to the National Weather Service.
So the big question: How much snow will we get this winter? That’s a tough question.
As always, the FOX4 Weather Team, deemed the most accurate in the Kansas City area, will dive into their official winter forecasts and snow predictions this November.