Snow Depth at Des Moines – Spring 1960

Number of Consecutive Days with a snow depth greater than or equal to 12 inches for Des Moines, Iowa.

Number of Consecutive Days with a snow depth greater than or equal to 12 inches for Des Moines, Iowa.

On the First Day of Spring in 1960 (March 21), marked the 27th consecutive day on which at least a foot of snow was measured on the ground at Des Moines. This established an all-time station record that still stands today. Des Moines actually came very close to this record in 2010 but fell 2 days shy of tying the record. At any rate, this incredible streak began on February 24, 1960 after several consecutive days of snowfall that pushed the snow depth to 13 inches. So for nearly four weeks, a combination of persistent cold and additional snowfalls prevented the snow pack from melting and compacting. Over the 27 days from February 24th through March 21st, measurable snow fell at Des Moines on 16 days and the temperature only rose above freezing twice when highs of 33°F on the 18th and 37°F on the 21st occurred. During the last week of March a warming trend finally developed and temperatures reached 60°F on the 29th and the last of the snow melted the following day on the 30th. Unfortunately, all this snow melt led to flooding on the Raccoon, Des Moines, and Skunk Rivers as snow depths ranged from 17 to 19 inches withing these three basins on March 15th but were zero by the 31st! With such a deep persistent snow pack in place March 1960 was also abnormally cold. At Des Moines, the average temperature for the month was only 21.4°F making it the coldest March on record at that location.

Feb-March1960AvgTempDFM
Average Temperature Departure from Mean from February 27 to March 21, 1960.

Feb-March1960Snowfall
Snowfall from February 27 to March 21, 1960 for Iowa.