MOLINE, Ill. — Snow has been hard to come by this past winter as we ended the 2022-2023 season with a deficit of more than 16 inches. Thank goodness we had steady rainfall to make up for that loss of moisture. Is this lack of snow part of a bigger trend that we are seeing? Or are we in just a temporary slump? Let's dive into the data.
Is snowfall during the winter season in the Quad Cities increasing or decreasing?
Snowfall records go all the way back to the late 1800s, not only for the Quad Cities but also for a few select cities nearby, including Dubuque. Burlington also has some snowfall records. Unfortunately, they don't go back far enough to compare and many years are missing data. So, for this case, we will use data from both Dubuque and the Quad Cities.
The overall trend since we began collecting data more than 135 years ago shows a steady increase in the amount of winter season snow. In fact, if you tally up the top five snowiest winters on record in the Quad Cities, you'll notice that the majority of them have occurred in the last 20 years or so, including most recently the number one spot back in 2013 and 2014. Hardly a trend downward!
Something to keep in mind when it comes to seasonal snowfall, we are talking about an event that is measured over the span of months and is often always heavily influenced by certain patterns, such as La Niña and El Niño. The past three winters have featured La Niña conditions, which are known for being highly variable, especially when it comes to snowfall.
Also, much like severe weather season, you need the perfect mix of ingredients to come together at the right time. You may have cold air, but lack a low-pressure system, or vice-versa.
Bottom line, rest assured snow lovers, the trend is in your favor despite the most recent break.
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