The Biggest Christmas Snowstorm to Ever Hit Missouri Was a Holiday Disaster

St. Louis, Missouri with winter snow
© iStock.com/Kent Raney

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: December 16, 2023

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While the chances of a snowy, white Christmas are generally low in Missouri, there have been years when residents of the Show Me State enjoyed fresh snow on Christmas day. Keep reading to learn all about the biggest Christmas snowstorm to ever hit Missouri.

St. Louis, Missouri with winter snow

White Christmases are rare in Missouri, although the state typically sees 8-18 inches of annual snowfall.

©iStock.com/Kent Raney

Missouri’s Average Climate

Residents of Missouri enjoy all four seasons. In the summer, it is common for temperatures to reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit for several weeks, although the northern and western regions of the state tend to be a bit cooler. 

In the wintertime, temperatures rarely dip below zero degrees, but the entire state experiences below-freezing temperatures each year. The northern region of Missouri typically sees 18-24 inches of snow each year, while the southern region averages 8-12 inches. The snowiest months in Missouri are December, January, and February, although snow can begin falling as early as October and continue through May.

Town and Country, Missouri, USA. December 25, 2010. Snow covered trails in winter

Below-freezing temperatures are normal in Missouri during the winter months.

©Cata Hula/Shutterstock.com

The White Christmas of 1913

A “white Christmas” is defined by one or more inches of accumulated snow by 6:00 a.m. on December 25. Based on climate data from the past 70 years, most of Missouri has around a 20% chance of a white Christmas, although the chances increase to 30% in some northern counties. However, the Christmas of 1913 defied the odds with a whopping 9.2 inches of snow.

According to reporting by the Herald Democrat, the snow began to fall on the evening of December 24 and continued until about midnight. However, the unseasonal Christmas snowstorm was not a cause for celebration.

The newspaper reported “widespread suffering by human beings and farm stocks,” along with significant property damage. The storm caused one death in Illinois after a man became lost and froze to death. In St. Louis, the storm brought down numerous utility lines, causing widespread power outages. Trains and street cars were delayed by hours and several traffic collisions were reported.

Other December Snowstorms

In 2017 and 2010, Missouri had a white Christmas with 1-3 inches of snow on the ground. December 2000 was the state’s second-coldest December ever, and residents across the state celebrated Christmas with around 3-6 inches of accumulated snow. The state’s coldest Christmas day occurred in 1983 with a high temperature of only -7 degrees. Although it was well below freezing, that year’s Christmas featured less than three inches of snow throughout the state.


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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