Season's snowfall nearing top 3 in Columbia history

Monday, February 7, 2011 | 5:09 p.m. CST; updated 4:59 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 9, 2011
A panorama of the snow pile left by a snowstorm that dumped 17.7 inches of snow in Columbia last week.

COLUMBIA — The storm that dropped 17.7 inches of snow last week bumped Columbia to the fourth-snowiest season since record-keeping began.

An additional 2.5 inches of snow Saturday morning brought the total snowfall this season at Columbia Regional Airport to 42.5 inches.

Light snow was expected Tuesday night, and the latest forecast was calling for less than a half-inch. It would take 1.5 inches to tie the third-snowiest season on record in Columbia, when 44 inches of snow fell in 1959-60.

Tony Lupo, MU professor of atmospheric science, said that Tuesday is the only day in the seven-day forecast that has a chance of snow, and a specific amount hasn’t been predicted.

Columbia's snowiest season occurred in 1977-78 with 54.8 inches, a record that would be difficult to beat this season with the winter months winding down.

The past week also resulted in the most snow Columbia has seen inFebruary since 1993. Total snow accumulation for February as of Monday was 20.2 inches — the same amount that occurred in the entire month of February 1993.

Any more snow this month would make this the snowiest February on record, Lupo said.  

Lupo said this season has been only the third time that Columbia has seen three events that have had 6 or more inches of snow; the other years were 1960 and 1978.

Despite bitter cold temperatures expected through Thursday night, the Weather Service was forecasting a warming trend this weekend.

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