When Can We "Typically" Expect The First Snow Of the Season?

Although small portions of North Central Kansas already saw up to a light dusting of snow back on Oct. 18th, the vast majority of the NWS Hastings coverage area has yet to see a single snowflake this season. However, now that we are on the doorstep of November and some colder air is in the forecast for next week, some folks might be wondering: What are the "typical" first dates that South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas can expect measurable snow (defined as at least one-tenth of an inch)?

Listed in the table below are average "first snowfall" dates for various locations across the area, based on the last 30 years of data (1983-2012) from NWS Cooperative Observers. Of course, one must keep in mind that these are only averages, and yearly variations between first snowfall dates can be quite significant! For example, in Grand Island, the first occurrence of measurable snow during the past 30 years has ranged anywhere from Sep. 20 (in 1995), to Dec. 31 (in 2010). 

Average "First Snowfall" Dates Across The Area (1983-2012)
  Grand Island Hastings Kearney    Ord     Holdrege Hebron Smith Center KS Plainville KS Beloit KS
0.1 Inch or More
(in one day)
Nov. 10 Nov. 13 Nov. 15 Nov. 10 Nov. 17 Nov. 17 Nov. 25 Nov. 23 Dec. 6
1" or More
(in one day)
Nov. 19 Nov. 22 Nov. 20 Nov. 13 Nov. 25 Nov. 26 Dec. 9 Dec. 9 Dec. 9
2" or More
(in one day)
Dec. 2 Dec. 9 Dec. 4 Nov. 14 Dec. 6 Dec. 3 Dec. 14 Dec. 23 Dec. 15


The two graphics below also help to "set the stage" for the upcoming snowfall season within both the region and the local area (click images to enlarge):

  • The image on the left depicts the median date of the first measurable snow (0.1" or more) across the entire north central United States (courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center) 
  • The image on the right depicts "normal" seasonal snowfall across the local area based on official 30-year normals from 1981-2010. For a recap of last snow season (fall 2012-spring 2013) please refer to this story. 


This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.


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