While some higher elevation locations near the Virginia border have already witnessed their first snowfall of the 2012-2013 winter season, most east Kentuckians have yet to see a flake.  After temperatures hit the 70s earlier this month, many began wondering if it will snow at all this winter.  So, to see how abnormal or not this lack of snowfall truly is, we dug through the climate records and came up with the table below that lists the earliest recorded measurable snow date and the average first measurable snow date for 19 locations across eastern Kentucky.  Snow is considered measurable when at least one tenth of an inch has fallen.

 Location Station Elevation  Average Date of First Measurable Snow  Earliest Measurable Snow Station Active Years
 Barbourville 990 ft Dec 30  Nov 3, 1951 & 1956  1951-2012*
 Baxter (Harlan) 1164 ft Dec 22 Nov 3, 1954, 1966   1952-2012
 Buckhorn Lake 936 ft Dec 20  Nov 12, 1976  1964-1994
 Closplint 4ESE 1800 ft Dec 2  Oct 28, 2008  1980-2009
 Farmers 2S 680 ft Dec 11  Oct 30, 1925 & 2012  1904-2012*
 Hazard 840 ft Dec 28  Nov 2, 1954  1950-2012*
 London Airport 1188 ft Dec 13  Nov 2, 1966  1955-1994
 Manchester 4W 820 ft Dec 23  Nov 3, 1954 & 1966  1951-2006
 Middlesboro 1145 ft Dec 16  Nov 3, 1951 & 1954  1928-1990
 Mt. Sterling 960 ft Dec 10  Oct 28, 1925  1892-2012*
 Mt. Vernon 1160 ft Dec 16  Oct 31, 1993  1963-2012
 NWS Jackson 1357 ft Nov 29  Oct 20, 1989  1981-2012
 Oneida 760 ft Dec 31  Nov 12, 1976  1958-2011*
 Paintsville 1E 570 ft Dec 16  Nov 3, 1954  1933-2012
 Skyline 1SE 1200 ft Dec 11  Oct 30, 2012  1975-2012
 Somerset 2N 1020 ft Dec 22  Nov 2, 1954  1950-2012*
 Stearns 2S 1220 ft Dec 25  Nov 2, 1954  1954-2012*
 West Liberty 780 ft Dec 19  Oct 31, 2012  1948-2012*
 Williamsburg 1000 ft Dec 25  Nov 11, 1987  1948-2012*
  * Incomplete climate record 

Not surprising, the ridgetops normally see the first measurable snow of the season. The National Weather Service Office located near Jackson, at an elevation of 1357 feet, has the earliest average date of first measurable snowfall of November 29th.  Closplint, also a higher elevation site located in Harlan County at 1800 ft elevation, has a similarly early average date of first snowfall of December 2nd.  However, the average date for the first measurable snow typically doesn't occur until mid to late December in the valleys of east Kentucky. 

So, climatologically speaking, it is fairly common to go deep into December before the first accumulating snow of the season occurs across eastern Kentucky.

Click here for more winter weather climatology information for the state of Kentucky.

 

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