Recap of October 2009 Snowfall

October 2009 was much colder and wetter than normal, with temperatures quite typical of November. It was also snowy across western and north central Nebraska, with many locations receiving well over a foot of snow during the month. Three major winter storms impacted western and north central Nebraska during the month. The first system was on the ninth and tenth of October 2009, with the second snow storm occurring on October 22nd, 2009. A third storm system pounded the region on October 29th and 30th.

In stark contrast to the heavier snowfalls received across western and southern Nebraska during October 2009 - snowfall amounts were much less over north central Nebraska during the month. In Valentine snowfall during October 2009 totaled only 3.2 inches, which was still 1.7 inches above the normal monthly amount of 1.5 inches.  One daily snowfall record was established on October 11th, 2009 - when 1.7 inches of snowfall occurred, breaking the old daily record of one inch set previously in 1986.

DAILY SNOWFALL RECORDS IN OCTOBER 2009 FOR NORTH PLATTE  
  
DATE        AMOUNT          PREVIOUS RECORD AND YEAR  
  
 9           2.0                    0.1/1932  
10          11.8                    1.3/1987 *  
13         TRACE                  TRACE/1969 &  
22           4.2                    4.0/1906  
30           7.3                    4.0/1991    
  
*   DENOTES A DAILY RECORD FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF OCTOBER.            
    PREVIOUS DAILY SNOWFALL RECORD FOR OCTOBER WAS 11.5 INCHES   
    WHICH OCCURRED ON OCTOBER 29 1896.  
  
&   DAILY RECORD TIED.

Some of the major impacts from the heavy snowfall that occurred over parts of the region during October 2009, included harvesting delays, and major frustrations to farmers who were unable to sow their winter wheat, cut corn, or harvest their soybean crops. Some of the corn crops were unable to be out of the fields until around Christmas. These heavy wet snows were also very hard on trees.

The first intense snowfall event was created from some elevated instability, which caused high intensity snow bands to form over the Interstate 80 corridor on the ninth and tenth of October 2009. The snowfall began late on Friday night and by Saturday morning, people woke up to over a foot of fluffy snow in North Platte. This particular snowfall event was characterized by a dry 25 to 1 moisture content.


The second event brought a quick 4.2 inches of snowfall to the North Platte area on October 22nd, 2009.

The third and most significant snowfall of the month occurred on October 29th and 30th, 2009. Over a foot of snow fell across North Platte, with most locations reporting over a foot of new snowfall. Schools were cancelled across Lincoln County.  Blizzard like conditions caused snow drifts as high as 5 feet.  Interstate 80 was closed during the height of this storm, from North Platte to the Wyoming state line.

(October 2009 Snowfall Map above, by Meteorologist Shawn Jacobs)
(Click to enlarge snowfall map)
Photo courtesy of Dean Cosgrove
(Photo above courtesy of Dean Cosgrove)

What does October 2010 hold in store, for those across western and north Central Nebraska?

La Niña is associated with unusually cold ocean temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific, in contrast to El Niño.  This pattern leads to the expected of above average temperatures during October 2010 over the Great Plains. The precipitation outlook for October 2010 calls for near normal precipitation over Nebraska and neighboring states. Below are graphics issued by the Climate Prediction Center for October of 2010.

 

Climate Prediction Center

Page composition
by
Steve Carmel


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