IOWA — If this winter season has felt relatively quiet, you’re not wrong. In Des Moines, there have only been six days where measurable snowfall was recorded. The average number through February 21st is 18 days.
The forecast remains snow-free through at least Sunday, February 20, with a chance for a rain/snow mix on Monday, February 21. Right now, this winter season is tied with the 1889-1890 winter season for days with measurable snowfall through February 21.
If measurable snow does accumulate to a measurable amount on Monday, the 2021-2022 winter season will have the third smallest number of days with measurable snowfall on record. The 1953-1954 winter season holds the record for the least amount of days with measurable snowfall through February 21 at four.
The 1889-1890, 1953-1954 winter seasons in Des Moines
In the 1953-1954 winter season, 4.3″ of snow fell through Feb 21, but more fell after that date. Between Feb 22 and March 29, 1954 (the last day with measurable snowfall of that season) there were six more days with measurable snowfall which added up to a total of 9.3″. Des Moines finished that winter with 13.6″ of snowfall, which is more than 20″ below average. This season was the 5th least snowiest on record.
In the 1889-1890 winter season, 17.7″ of snow fell through Feb 21, but like the 1953-1954 winter season, more fell after Feb 21. Between Feb 22 and March 31, 1890 (the last day with measurable snowfall of that season) there were nine more days with measurable snowfall which added up to a total of 17.7″. Des Moines finished that winter with 35.4″ of snowfall, which is about average for annual snowfall.
No more snow this winter: is it possible?
If we manage to make it out of the month of February with no snow in Des Moines, what are the odds of also seeing no snow in March, April, or May? Since the 1880s there are 10 years on record with a trace or less of snowfall in March. But of those years, only 4 had no measurable snowfall in April or May, either. That’s a 0.2% chance of no snowfall after Feb 28. However, there are no years on record that have no measurable snowfall for February, March, April, and May.
This season so far
The first flakes of the 2021-2022 winter season fell on November 11th, but only a trace was recorded that day. It wasn’t until December 11th when Des Moines saw its first measurable snowfall of the season, recording just a half-inch (0.5″).
The second snow of the season arrived on December 29th when 1.1″ was recorded. On New Year’s Day 2022, 4.2″ of snow fell at the Des Moines International Airport, but so far over 70% of the total snow, Des Moines has seen this winter fell between January 14th and 15th, when 14.3″ of snow was reported at the airport. An additional 0.2″ fell on January 24th, which is the last day does saw measurable snow.
While there are four days with a trace of snow so far this February, there has not been measurable snowfall. The total snow for the winter currently sits at 20.3″ in Des Moines.