StormTeam Blog

Find posts by keyword
Find posts by date


Still time snow lovers! Remember winter of 1960?

Still time snow lovers!  Remember winter of 1960?

by Ben Pine

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 8:13 AM

I did some digging and there have been some winters in our past where the heavy snowfall all arrived during the latter half of the winter season.  The most extreme example is the winter of 1960.

January of 1960 was much like this January.  Mild temperatures and very little snow.  The average temperature was 38.0, about 3 degrees above our current January average.  January 13th, 1960 we hit 70 degrees!  Our warmest day this month was on the 6th at 64 degrees, although, the last day of this January will also be in the 60s.  This January our average temperature is 38.4...very close to 1960's January! 

Only 0.30" of snow fell during that Janauary of 1960, only 1.8" this similar!

Let's move forward to February.  February is our snowiest month on average, and the snow started to fly back in February of 1960.  But, it wasn't until the last half of that February. 

Louisville National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Reaugh said, "Looks like a cold front on the evening of February 10th is what brought the warmth to a definitive end."

The snowfall in February 1960 was fairly evenly spread from the 11th to the 28th, with the biggest snow during that time at 3.2" from the 13th-14th.  The snowfall total for February 1960 was 10.7".

At this time, the long-range weather models are not calling for much, or any, snowfall through the first week or two of February.  We'll see what happens later on.

But, March is when we really got hammered in that winter of 1960.  It was the coldest and snowiest March on record.

Here's National Weather Service's summary of an insane March of 1960, "March of 1960 was one of the most unusual months ever seen in southern Indiana and central Kentucky.  The month should have heralded the beginning of warmer spring weather, but instead was amazingly snowy and cold.  As a matter of fact, at Bowling Green March of 1960 was not only the snowiest March on record, but was actually the snowiest month on record!  During the month Bowiling Green also received their heaviest snowstorm and heaviest 24-hour snowfall ever seen in the city.  At Louisville and Frankfort it was the snowiest March and 3rd snowiest month ever recorded.  At Lexington it was the snowiest March and 8th snowiest month on record. The first snowstorm to strike the region came through on the second day of the month, and gave Bowling Green 5", Louisville 9.2", Lexington 7.5", and Frankfort 6.4".  Exactly one week later, low pressure formed over New Mexico and moved through the lower Mississippi Valley and on into the central Appalachians.  Huge amounts of wet snow dumped on the Ohio and Tennessee river valleys, including:  18" at Bowling Green, 9.2" at Louisville, 5.7" at Lexington, and 7.2" at Frankfort.  In addition to the snowfall, the month was incredibly cold for so late in the season.  It was, and still is, the coldest March ever seen at Bowling Green, Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfort.   It was so cold, that it actually stands a full five degrees colder than the second coldest March on record.  At Louisville and Lexington all but one of the first 25 days of the month were more than 10 degrees colder than normal, and during that time 8 to 10 days were more than 20 degrees below normal.  The worst cold outbreak of the month struck on the 5th and 6th, when the entire region plunged below zero.  The coldest temperatures ever seen in March occurred:  Bowling Green -6, Louisville -1, Lexington -2, and Frankfort -3.  After all that snow and cold, the weather finally broke towards the end of the month, and it broke in a big way.  Temperatures on the 28th soared to near 80 just three days after being in the teens!"

Below is the weather recording form from Bowling Green for March of 1960,

I do want to point out that the atmoshperic conditions are not the same this winter as the winter in 1960, and no two winters ever are the same. 

The winter of 1960 was nuetral or a very weak La Nina.  This winter is a weak to moderate La Nina.  The ONI (Oceanic Nino Index) of the 1960 winter was around -0.30.  This winter it ranges from -0.50 to -1.0. 

But, you really never know what can happen, and for you snow lovers out there, maybe this provides a little hope for you!

-Ben Pine