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January 2016 snowstorm one for the record books in Bowling Green

The snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow on Bowling Green on Friday (Jan. 22) is the third unusually large snowstorm to affect the region in the past 12 months.

The snowstorm that hit Bowling Green and the WKU campus on Jan. 22, 2016, is one for the record books, according to a report from WKU's Meteorology Program and the Kentucky Climate Center.

The snowstorm that hit Bowling Green and the WKU campus on Jan. 22, 2016, is one for the record books, according to a report from WKU’s Meteorology Program and the Kentucky Climate Center.

The 12.2-inch snowfall was the third largest single-day snowfall in Bowling Green history dating to 1893 and comes on the heels of the 9.6-inches (eighth largest single-day snowfall) that fell Feb. 16, 2015, and the 7.2-inches (25th largest two-day snowfall) that fell over March 3-4, 2015.

The massive snowstorm also follows just a few weeks after the warmest December in Bowling Green history.

To further explore this historic snowstorm, here are some remarkable facts about the event, provided by Dr. Greg Goodrich, associate professor of Meteorology with the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU.

  • The 12.2 inches of snow that fell Friday (Jan. 22) represents 150 percent of normal winter-season snowfall for Bowling Green.
  • The 12.2 inches of snow that fell Friday (Jan. 22) would rank as the 40th snowiest winter in Bowling Green history over the past 120 years, all by itself.
  • The recorded snow depth at 7 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 23) was 13 inches, which included the 12.2 inches that fell Friday and the partially melted snow from the 2.5 inches that fell Wednesday (Jan. 20). The 13-inch snow depth ties the third highest snow depth of all-time in Bowling Green behind only the 14-inch snow depth on Feb. 13, 1910, and Jan. 15, 1917. So you’d have to go back 99 years to find more snow on the ground in Bowling Green.
  • The 12.2 inches of snow was the third highest single-day snowfall, behind only the 18 inches that fell on March 9, 1960, and the 13 inches that fell on Feb. 12, 1910.
  • The three-day total of 14.7 inches from Wednesday to Friday (Jan. 20-22) is second only to the 23 inches that fell from March 9-11, 1960.
  • The 14.8 inches of snow that has fallen so far in January makes this the fifth snowiest January on record and the snowiest January since 1978.
  • This is the third snowstorm of more than 7 inches in the past 12 months. How often has that ever happened in Bowling Green? How about never. In fact, there have only been six 12-month periods that had as many as two snowstorms of more than 7 inches, most recently in 1963. In December 1963, the 7-inch snowstorms were only 10 days apart.
  • And now for the most remarkable statistic of all. During the peak of Friday’s snowstorm, a total of 7.3 inches of snow fell in the six-hour period from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. From Feb. 10, 2011, to Jan. 6, 2015, a period of 1,426 days encompassing three entire winters and parts of two others, a total of 7.2 inches fell.

WKU weather/climate resources: Kentucky Climate Center, Kentucky Mesonet, Meteorology Program, Meteorology Blog, WKU StormTopper Network on Twitter, College Heights Atmospheric Observatory for Students (CHAOS) on Twitter.

Contact: Greg Goodrich, (270) 745-5986 or gregory.goodrich@wku.edu

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