Did you realize it's been awhile since we've had a really "cold" night? Well, as of January 23, 2013, its been about 714 days or nearly 62 million seconds since we've experienced a below zero temperature portions of northern Missouri. While below zero temperatures are still possible through early February, we're now past the typical coldest portion of the year. If we don't fall below zero this winter, we'll be headed towards one of the longest stretches of non-below zero temperatures in 60+ years.
Since records were started in 1888, there have been 453 occurances of below zero temperatures in Kansas City, with the favored period of below zero temperatures in January and February.
The lack of below zero temperatures can be attributed to the significant departures of snow accumulations over much of the Northern and Central United States during the winter of 2011-2012 as well as during 2012-2013. Snow cover is a very important variable in reaching below zero. In fact, local research on below zero occurances in Kansas City reveals only a 6% chance of falling below zero without snow cover in the city. Adding snow into the equation reveals a much different story. Even a trace of snow on the ground in the area marks an increased chance of falling below zero up to 20%. An inch of snow on the ground and an arctic airmass moving in? Chances increase substancially with over 361 below zero events occurring with 1" or more of snow on the ground.