Topeka Measures Lowest Winter Snowfall on Record

Lowest Total Snowfall for Winter in Topeka


The normal period of accumulating snowfall in Topeka is from October through April.  Since June 1, 1887 when weather data began being recorded in Topeka, the earliest date a measurable snowfall has occurred is October 9, 1970 with 0.3 inches, and the latest a measurable snowfall has occurred is May 3, 1907 with 3.2 inches.  This latest snowfall followed several days with high temperatures ranging from the lower 40's to lower 60's and lows from the lower 30's to lower 40's.  Above normal temperatures have been common in recent weeks with highs in the middle 60's to middle 80's and lows often in the 50's.  Recent ground temperatures from near Topeka have reached the middle 60's and current forecasts indicate near to above normal temperatures through the middle of May.  Given this historic and recent data, it is fair to say the opportunity for accumulating snowfall in Topeka has ended for the 2011-2012 cold season.


*** The total snowfall recorded for the 2011-2012 cold season is 3.1 inches.  This is the lowest total for any cold season on record. ***


Top 5 Lowest Total Snowfall
Rank  Snowfall (inches) Cold Season
1 3.1  2011-2012 
2 3.6  1916-1917 
3 4.5  1922-1923 
4 4.7  1965-1966 
5 5.0  1907-1908 


The normal amount of snowfall received in Topeka is 17.8 inches.  In the past ten years, four have had totals that are above this normal value, with the 10-year average being 19.1 inches. 


Snowfall Totals from Last 10 Years
Cold Season  Snowfall (inches)
 2011-2012   3.1
 2010-2011 38.6
 2009-2010 40.7
 2008-2009 10.6
 2007-2008 32.6
 2006-2007   9.6
 2005-2006 12.5
 2004-2005 11.2
 2003-2004 19.1
 2002-2003 12.7


Precipitation totals during recent months have averaged to be above normal.  17.17 inches of precipitation was received from October through April, which is 2.74 inches above the normal amount of 14.43 inches.  The months of December through February typically bring the most snowfall - 14.6 inches of the 17.8 inch normal value, and December 2011 through Feburary 2012 saw 6.15 inches of precipitation, which is the eighth highest total on record. 


A major reason for the lack of snowfall in recent months is the the very warm conditions that have occurred.  The normal average temperature for the period of October through April is 42.3 degrees, while the average temperature for October 2011 through April 2012 was 48.0 degrees.  This was the highest average temperature for any such period on record.



Top 5 Warmest October - April Periods
Avg Temp (°F) Season
 1 48.0  2011-2012
 2 T 45.8  1999-2000 
 2 T 45.8  1945-1946
 4 45.5  1920-1921
 5 45.1  2001-2002



In terms of the winter months of December through February, this year's temperatures averaged to be the second warmest on record.  This story has further information on this occurrence.


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