Due to our inland location, winters in Mid-Missouri can be long with temperatures ranging from mild to bitterly cold. In fact, the record low temperature is -40 degrees which occurred in 1905. The average temperature for our winter months is around 32 degrees. Our coldest month tends to be January, where we really start to see polar air plunge south into our region, putting daytime highs in the upper 30s and overnight lows in the 20s. But by February, warmer air begins to filter into the region, pushing our temperatures back into the 40s.
Snow can fall as early as October and as late as may in Mid-Missouri. But our snowiest months tend to be December through February. January is our snowiest month, where we see on average about 5.5 inches of snow with February trailing not too far behind. Typically, for the entire winter season, we see about 18 inches of snow.
When it comes to snow, one of the things that we closely monitor is the potential for a blizzard. While most of us have a good idea of what a blizzard is, did you know that there is actually a specific set of criteria that the weather must fulfill to be considered a blizzard? Wind greater than 35 miles per hour is needed. Also, snow needs to be falling or blowing from the ground reducing visibility to less than a quarter of a mile. These conditions must be met for at least 3 hours.
What we see more of is freezing rain which occurs when rain falls and freezes when coming in contact with a cold surface or the ground, creating a glaze of ice. On average, most of Mid-Missouri sees about 3-4 days of freezing rain per year with pockets to our east and north seeing about 5 days annually.