It looks like December will tie the record for lowest amount of snowfall on a technicality. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says most of the some 170 weather stations around the state measure snowfall one time during the day, usually at seven in the morning. Snow hit Iowa on December 31st, but the bulk of the snow fell after the 7 a-m readings. Hillaker says the official snowfall will be under half-an-inch.
Hillaker says the official statewide average will be four-tenths of an inch, with half the snow falling on the first day of the year and half on the last day. The four-tenths ties the record snow low set in 1979 and 2002. Hillaker says unofficially, December was snowier than recorded.
Hillaker says in reality we had one-point-five inches of snow in December, but one-point-one of that snow goes down in January’s books. Hillaker says the lack of snow cover shouldn’t have any major impact. He says one thing the lack of snowfall does is keep things a little warmer. Hillaker says snow cover keeps things about 10 degrees cooler than they are without snow. Hillaker says it’s been kind of a feast or famine thus far this decade for snow.
Hillaker says usually in January Iowa averages seven inches of snow in December. He says the December record high for snow was just six years ago — when we average 25-point-five inches. That was the snowiest month ever on record — not just snowiest December. Hillaker says that was a year when the snow moved in and stayed.
Hillaker says many parts of the state had snow on the ground continuously from mid-November all the way through April. Hillaker says it was very unusual to have snow on the ground for that length of time. Hillaker says the lack of snow hasn’t left the state dry — as we’ve had about twice the amount of moisture than normal in December.