Remember this day last year? A ‘snow squall’ dropped a half-foot of snow on parts of the metro

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October 2021 is already proving very different from October 2020. Above average temperatures have summer holding on this year, where as at this time last year winter was already showing its face.

On October 18, 2020, one inch of snow was measured at the Des Moines Airport, making it the 5th earliest snowfalls on record in Des Moines. However, less than 24 hours later, near white-out conditions were reported across the metro as a snow squall developed along I-80. A snow squall is defined by the National Weather Service as an intense short-lived burst of heavy snowfall that leads to a quick reduction in visibilities and often accompanied by gusty winds.

Eastern Dallas County Snow on Oct 19, 2020. Photo by Meteorologist Amber Alexander.

Snow squalls don’t always mean high snow amounts, but Johnston, Polk City, and Ankeny all saw over a half foot of snow. The Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network’s website showed new snow depths of 7.2″ at the National Weather Service in Johnston on the 20th, while southern parts of Des Moines only had 1.5″ of new snow.

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