Grand Island Sets New Record For December Snowfall

Needless to say, December 2009 won't soon be forgotten for it's share of wintry weather across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. The month featured 2 significant snow events, one focusing on the Dec. 7th-8th time frame, and the other spanning several days during the week of Christmas, including long-lasting blizzard conditions on Christmas Day.

Not surprisingly, several NWS Cooperative Observer sites across the area have either broken, or come close to breaking snowfall records for the month of December. One of these is Grand Island, where 1 inch of snow on Wednesday, Dec. 30th, brought the monthly total to 26.5 inches, surpassing the 26.0 inches that fell in December 1973.

  • Not only did Grand Island break the December snowfall record, but December 2009 was actually the 2nd-snowiest calendar month EVER at Grand Island, falling short of only 29.7 inches way back in February 1915. 

 

This table depicts the Top 5 snowiest Decembers on record at five selected locations across the NWS Hastings County Warning Area, along with the period of record:

Top 5 Snowfall Totals On Record For The Month Of December
December Snowfall Rank

Grand Island (1895-2009)

Hastings  (1894-2009)
Loup City   (1895-2009)
Osceola  (1895-2009)
Beloit    (1893-2009)*
1st (snowiest)
 26.5 inches in 2009
 31.0 inches in 1973
 21.6 inches in 1973
30.7 inches in 2009 17.6 inches in 2009
2nd  26.0 in 1973
30.1 inches in 2009 19.5 in 1968
 24.3 in 1973
 17.2 in 1945
3rd 21.8 in 1968
 20.3 in 1909
19.0 in 1972  22.5 in 1968
 17.0 in 1983
4th 21.5 in 1914
 16.5 in 1897
17.5 inches in 2009   18.0 in 1972
 14.0 in 1997
5th 18.3 in 1924
 16.0 in 1974
16.5  in 1983, 1981
 16.0 in 1924
 13.1 in 1966
 

* Beloit snowfall data includes a number of missing years from 1930-1944


The next table helps answer the question: "How snowy has this winter been compared to normal?" 

First a bit of explanation:

  • The first row gives the monthly average snowfall at Grand Island based on the 30-year period 1971-2000 (please note that September and October are combined)
  • The second row shows monthly snowfall that has occurred so far during the 2009-2010 winter season, along with a comparison to the monthly 30-year average
  • The third row is a Running Total of average snowfall as the season progresses (based on 1971-2000)
  • The bottom row is the Running Total of snowfall so far this season, with a comparision to the 30-year average. 

One interesting note "hidden" within this table is that as of Dec. 31st, Grand Island is already within 1.9 inches of matching the AVERAGE SEASONAL snowfall of 32.9 inches!

 

Comparison of Grand Island 2009-2010 Snow Season To "Normal"

Sep.- Oct. Nov.
Dec.
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
Monthly Average        (1971 - 2000)  1.2 inches

   4.8 inches

   6.6 inches

6.2 inches
5.7 inches 6.9 inches 1.4 inches

2009 - 2010    Snow Season

Individual Months

4.5 inches  

(3.3 above average)

Trace

(4.8  below average)

 26.5 inches 

(19.9 above average)

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Seasonal Average Running Total

(1971 -2000)

  1.2 inches  

   6.0 inches      

 

12.6 inches      

 

  18.8   inches  

 24.5 inches 31.4 inches   32.8 inches

2009 - 2010    Snow Season

Running Total

  4.5 inches  

(3.3 above average through Oct. 31, 2009)

  4.5 inches      

(1.5  below average through Nov. 30, 2009)

 

31.0 inches      

(18.4 above average through Dec. 31, 2009)

 
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The Top 5 Snowiest and Least-Snowiest Seasons at Grand Island are as follows:

Top 5 Snowiest Seasons Top 5 Least Snowiest Seasons
Amount (inches) Year/Season Amount (inches) Year/Season
86.7" 1914-15 3.0" 1908-09
78.6" 1983-84 7.6" 1903-04
54.4" 1968-69 8.8" 1933-34
48.9" 1992-93 9.3" 1901-02
48.7" 1931-32 10.7" 1967-68


 


 

Snow Climatology for Grand Island, Nebraska

Some Quick Snow Facts for Grand Island (averages based upon 30-year period from 1971 to 2000):

  • Average Annual Snowfall: 32.8 inches
  • Average Number of Days with 1.0 inch or more:  8.8 days
  • Average Number of Days with 2.0 inches or more:  5.0 days
  • Average Number of Days with 5.0 inches or more:  1.1 days
  • Record Daily Snowfall:  17.8" on March 20, 2006
  • Record Single Storm Snowfall:  21.6" on March 19-21, 2006
  • Record Snowfall for a Month:  29.7" in February, 1915
  • Record Snowfall for a Season:  86.7" in 1914-15

Earliest Snowfall   Latest Snowfall
Criteria Amount Date Criteria Amount Year/Season
Measurable 3.0" Sept. 20, 1995 Measurable 4.5" May 28, 1947
1.0" or more 3.0" Sept. 20, 1995 1.0" or more 4.5" May 28, 1947
4.0" or more 7.0" Oct. 25, 1997 4.0" or more 4.5" May 28, 1947

Month Record Monthly Snowfall (inches) Record Snow Depth On Any Morning (inches) Record Snowfall in a 24-hour period (inches)  Monthly Average Snowfall (inches) (1971-2000)

January

26.0" in 1932 18" on the 11th, 1974 12.0" on the 30th and 31st, 2002 6.2"
February 29.7" in 1915 28" on the 11th-15th, 1905 15.1" on the 17th and 18, 1984 5.7"
March 23.5" in 1915 16" on the 21st-22nd, 2006 17.8" on the 20th, 2006 6.9"
April 12.0" in 1913 12" on the 10, 1913 12.0" on the 10, 1913 1.4"
May 4.5" in 1947 4" on the 3rd, 1967 4.5" on the 28th, 1947 Trace
June None None None None
July None None None None
August None None None None
September 3.8" in 1985 1"on the 29th, 1985 3.8" on the 29th, 1985 0.2"
October 9.8" in 1991 6" on the 25th-27th, 1997 9.8" on the 30th-31st, 1991 1.0"
November 17.1" in 1983 14" on the 28th, 1983 11.2" on the 26th-27th, 1983 4.8"
December 26.5" in 2009 20" on the 22nd-25th, 1968 12.0" on the 18th-19th, 1968 6.6""

Last Updated: 1/4/10


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