The Biggest November Snowstorm in Missouri History Will Blow Your Mind

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: November 24, 2023
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Missouri is a Midwestern state that has a variety of interesting weather patterns throughout the year. The state experiences tumultuous weather in the spring, has long and hot summers, and even receives a fair amount of snow. Sometimes, the snowfall starts a fair bit earlier in this part of the country than a person may expect. Discover the biggest November snowstorm in Missouri history and find out how much snow fell, which part of the state was hit, and more!

How Much Snow Does Missouri Get Each Year?

Ozark, Missouri, Snow Scene - Coldest Temperature Recorded in Missouri

A snowy scene in Ozark, Missouri.

©M.Curtis/Shutterstock.com

Missouri receives a fair amount of snow each year. Like other states, the average amount of snow in Missouri varies depending on location. For example, areas north of the Missouri River typically receive about 12 to 24 inches of snow per year. The southern areas of the state only get about 8 to 12 inches of snow throughout the winter months.

As a state, Missouri gets about 18 inches of snow per winter. Snow only falls about 5 to 10 days per year, and temperatures only drop below freezing an average of 25 days per year throughout the state. Also, the winters in Missouri tend to be fairly dry relative to the spring months when the region receives a lot of precipitation.

Typical November Snow Totals in the Show Me State

Missouri usually does not receive much snow in November. The southernmost part of the state averages less than half an inch of snow during this month. Meanwhile, the central portion of the state, in areas around Rolla and Kansas City, averages just shy of an inch of snow throughout November. The northernmost part of the state averages about 1 inch of snow throughout November, with places like Kirksville receiving 1.3 inches of snow during this time of the year.

All told, Missouri does not get much snow in November. That doesn’t necessarily mean this part of the country does not get snow at all during this month. Several heavy snowstorms have occurred in Missouri over the years, and we’re going to show you the biggest one to ever occur.

What Was the Biggest November Snowstorm in Missouri History?

St. Louis, Missouri with winter snow

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri.

©iStock.com/Kent Raney

The biggest November snowstorm in Missouri history was 18 inches of snow on November 6, 1951, near the Black 6 NW Weather Station. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the record-setting snowfall occurred in Iron County, Missouri. That means an average year’s worth of snow fell in the state on a single day!

The snowstorm struck many parts of Missouri, including St. Louis where the storm dropped 12 inches of snow in 24 hours. The snowstorm was so unusual for the early part of the winter that local meteorologists had to reassure the public that it was not caused by ongoing tests of nuclear weapons.

The impactful snowfall led to some people walking in the middle of the street rather than trying to make their way on the sidewalks. Meanwhile, several car accidents occurred in downtown St. Louis as people could not stop their vehicles on the unplowed roads.

Schools, office buildings, and stores closed early as the storm swept through the area. However, some people were caught out in the storm. In one case, a man was driving his wife to the hospital to deliver their baby. Unfortunately, their car became stuck in the snow. The baby arrived as the car sat on the side of the road, minutes before local police officers discovered the couple and took them to the local hospital.

The biggest November snowstorm in Missouri’s history made life miserable for a few days.

Where Is Iron County on a Map?

Now that we know about the biggest November snowstorm in Missouri history, we need to know where it occurred exactly. Although surviving records show the impact the storm had on St. Louis, the city did not receive the bulk of the snow. An additional 6 inches fell at the weather station in Iron County, no doubt making life hard for those in the area.

Iron County is in southeastern Missouri, and it is known for having Fort Davidson, a portion of the Mark Twain National Forest, and the Arcadia Valley. The weather station that recorded the large snowstorm in this region is in the western part of the county. Today, the closest town to that weather station is Redmondville.

Fortunately, the weather station in Iron County recorded the snowfall that day. The area around the weather station is not densely populated. Without the weather station’s data, people may have overlooked the biggest November snowstorm in Missouri history.

What Was the Single-Day Snow Record in Missouri?

walking in blizzard conditions

Two feet of snow fell in Missouri several times throughout the state’s history, most recently in 2011.

©justoomm/Shutterstock.com

The single-day snowfall record in Missouri is a 6-way tie between several locations throughout the state, each of them measuring 24 inches. These places averaged 1 inch of snow per hour for an entire day!

The following places in Missouri hold the record for the most snow in Missouri’s history:

  • Bates County, 02/02/2011
  • Cape Girardeau County 02/25/1979
  • Chariton County 12/05/1925
  • Johnson County 02/02/2011
  • Nodaway County 02/25/1912
  • Scott County 02/25/1979

The most recent snowfall record on this list was on February 2, 2011. So, Missouri has a historical record of large snowfalls throughout the state. Of course, some remote parts of the state may have gotten more snow in a day, but we’ll never know.

All in all, the biggest November snowstorm in Missouri history dumped an impressive 18 inches of snow at its greatest measure. Meanwhile, places like St. Louis received a foot of snow on the same day, causing havoc for thousands of people. This record has stood for several decades, but we will update it if a massive November snowstorm moves through the area.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © nyker/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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