When will we see snow in Kansas City?

Weather
Picture of KC Streetcar in snow

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The “s-word” may not be on the minds of everyone yet, but the winter season is drawing closer by the day.

Kansas City’s average first day of measurable snow (where totals are greater than or equal to 0.1 inches) is Nov. 27.

But we have picked up some snowfall in October before. Actually, the last three Octobers saw snowfall in Kansas City.

So when will snow arrive in Kansas City this year? Here’s what history says:

October snowfall in KC

Once the calendar flips to October, that’s typically the “month of changes” in Kansas City’s weather.

From the second severe weather season (much shorter than the spring season, but our area saw that second season in full effect on Oct. 24 with multiple tornadoes) to strong cold fronts bringing the first chilly blasts of air, this month really can hold all four seasons in one 31-day period.

Snowfalls in October have happened in the past, both recently and not so recently:

  • October 2020 — 0.9 inches
  • October 2019 — 1.3 inches
  • October 2018 — 0.2 inches
  • October 2017 — trace (snowfall totaled less than 0.1 inches)
  • October 1996 — 6.5 inches
  • October 1898 — 5.8 inches

Those October snows in 1996 and 1898 are actually Nos. 1 and 2 on the list of snowiest Octobers in Kansas City weather history. The total average amount of snowfall for the month of October is 0.3 inches.

First snows and totals over the past 10 years

When Kansas City sees its first snowfall of the winter season, typically it’s a lighter amount to help us adjust back to the winter ways of doing things, like driving in the snow.

The first snows in the past 10 years have been relatively kind to us in that respect:

  • 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
  • Dec. 20, 2012 — 2.5 inches
  • Dec. 22, 2011 — 0.1 inches

Snow history in Kansas City

  • Last season: 15.5 inches
  • Earliest first snow: Oct. 14, 2018
  • Latest first snow: Jan. 21, 1980
  • Average first snow: Nov. 27
  • Average amount of snowfall in a KC winter season: 18.2 inches (below average last year)

Snowfall totals over the last 10 years

Since last year finished below the mark for average snowfall, how have the past 10 winters shaped up?

  • 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
  • 2011-2012 — 3.9 inches
  • Average of the last 10 winters — 15.6 inches per year

So the big question: What about this year?

Well, that’s tough to say exactly. Obviously, so far, no snow. And looking forward, we’ll likely have some colder air (cold enough to support snow at the surface) moving into town during the first week of November.

Colder air moving in next week. Morning lows (blue bars) may hit freezing some time next week. Courtesy: WeatherBell

That same long-range model does bring another round of rain our way midweek next week, with some flakes to the north.

But this is about a week out, so only time will tell.

One long-range model brings another rain chance to us Wednesday, with some AM flakes to the north. Courtesy: WeatherBell

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