Des Moines Snowfall Totals & Accumulation Averages
This page pulls together information on when, how much and how often Des Moines, Iowa has snow.
There are data and descriptions here of how many days it snows and the total amount of snowfall that Des Moines usually gets. There are also monthly and yearly counts of the days that the city normally has heavy snowstorms and deep snow accumulated on the ground. Plus there's information on when Des Moines can expect the first and last snowfalls of the season.
The first set of monthly snow totals are averages for 2010 to 2019. All the other numbers are averages, based on weather data gathered from 1991 to 2020 at the Des Moines International Airport.
How Often it Snows in Des Moines
The next two tables list monthly and yearly totals for amount of snow and how many days it snows at least 0.1 inches (0.25 centimetres).
These averages don't show how much the snowfall in Des Moines varies from year to year.
In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 11.7 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive two inches or less for the month.
Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 11.7 inches, while the lightest years get at most six inches.
New snow for February ranges from over 14.2 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 4.4 inches in light years.
When Des Moines Has Its First & Last Snowfalls
The first snowfall of winter for Des Moines usually arrives in November. Less commonly, snow can land in October or hold off until December.
The season's last snowfall most often happens in April, but can vary from March to May.
Des Moines is normally free of snow every year from June to September.
How Many Snowstorms Des Moines Gets
Most days of snowfall in Des Moines leave just a skiff, amounting to less than an inch, of fresh snow on the ground. For 11 days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals at least an inch.
Snowstorms of over five inches a day typically occur once or twice a year. They can arrive anytime from November to March. These storms rarely amount to major blizzards that dump ten inches or more in one day.
How Much Snow Normally Accumulates in Des Moines
For about half of winter days, Des Moines has at least an inch of snow on the ground.
Typically on four or five days in each year, the snow covering Des Moines builds up to ten or more inches deep. The snowpack normally doesn't reach twenty inches.
Jay Lawrimore, Ron Ray, Scott Applequist, Bryant Korzeniewski, Matthew Menne. 2016. Global Summary of the Month and Year, Version 1.0. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.