Dan's Weather Blog: When is it going to snow?

Snow in Tulsa

During Tulsa’s Christmas Parade we had a recurring question yelled in the direction of our meteorologists, “When’s it going to snow?”

First, let me tell you what I do know. The most snow that has ever fallen in a single year was 29.6 inches in 1958. There have been years with no snow in Tulsa. There were no snowball fights or children on sleds during the winters in 1900, 1901 and 1903.

Did you know the most snow that fell during a 24-hour period was in 2011? Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 an amazing 14 inches of snow blanketed Tulsa.

While trees are still covered in beautiful fall color people begin to ask about snow. Back in 1993, there were still a lot of leaves in place when we had our earliest measurable snow in Tulsa Oct. 30.

The latest we saw measurable snow was April 12 in 1957. A total of 1.7 inches of snow fell that day.

The National Weather Service does a great job of keeping statistics on our weather. Here are the average amounts of snow that fall per month:

January - 2.7 inches
February - 1.8 inches
March - 2.1 inches
April - Trace
May through September - 0 inches
October - Trace
November - .7 inches
December - 2.3 inches

Tulsa averages 9.6 inches of snow per year.

Yes, we have computer generated weather models that go well beyond a week out, but the accuracy isn’t there. Maybe it will be there someday, but not yet.

If a person attempted to “forecast” beyond eight or nine days on a regular basis, and sadly some do, they would be wrong a LOT. Data changes every second. Think of it like this -- attempt to solve a complex math problem with the variables constantly changing. A correct solution would be near impossible.

Long-range guidance will walk you into an event. We can see the possibility of colder air moving in or a storm system forming that may move over our area.

Long-range data is not specific or usually accurate, better than it was 20 years ago, but still unreliable.

This time of year, we hear, "will it snow on Christmas?" Our meteorologists would love to give you specifics on what may happen in 14 days on Christmas morning. We may be able to attempt this 10 days out, but sadly, the accuracy will be very flawed. Technology isn’t there yet. My promise is to keep you updated on any meteorological elements that are coming together that would produce snow, not just on Christmas but every day.

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