Snowstorm pushes Des Moines winter closer to 10 snowiest mark

While short of the 3-5 inches forecast, the weekend’s snowfall makes it almost certain that for Des Moines, the winter of 2020-21 will be one for the record books.

The 2.2 inches of snow the National Weather Service recorded at Des Moines International Airport brought the total for the season so far to 54.5 inches. That’s more than double the average snowfall to date, and it will take only 2.5 more inches for this winter to draw even with the 57 inches recorded in 1983-84, the 10th snowiest winter on record for Des Moines.

Even the average 5.2 inches the city receives in March would push it well past that mark. And no month of this winter, so far, has been average.

The city’s snowiest winter came in 1911-12, when it got 72 inches.

Though the snow fell on Sunday, a lighter travel day, it caused the usual havoc on the roads. Des Moines police reported 33 crashes, none with injuries. The Iowa State Patrol reported 54 crashes, eight with injuries.

More:How cold was Des Moines? It was below zero for 67 straight hours

Dallas and Boone counties were among the counties under a winter storm warning Sun. Feb. 21, 2021.

Des Moines’ seasonal snowfall is approaching record territory. As of Saturday, the city had received 52.3 inches of snow this season, according to the weather service — almost double the 26.4 inches that is the average through Feb. 20. Even average snowfall of 3.9 inches in March, combined with Sunday’s total, would push total snowfall for the winter of 2020-21 past that of 1983-1984, which, with 57 inches, is the 10th snowiest winter on record for Des Moines. 

The city’s snowiest winter came in 1911-1912, when it got 72 inches.

And now for the good news: After a historic stretch of subzero temperatures, the forecast for the rest of this week promises some welcome relief. The high temperature Monday is expected to reach 40 degrees, On Tuesday, the high temperature is expected to reach 43 degrees.

Highs through Saturday are expected to be well above freezing. And there is no snow on the horizon.

Philip Joens covers breaking news for The Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at pjoens@registermedia.com or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.