When it comes to winter in Wichita, people seem to have differing opinions. While some eagerly await the first big snow, others can only think of traffic moving down Kellogg at 45 mph because local drivers don’t know how to handle the wintry precipitation. Despite our differences, however, we can all agree on one thing: it’s very, very cold. (With the exception of the winter of 2015, which was unseasonably warm. We’re still not sure what happened there.)
Though we gripe, turn up our thermostats and bury ourselves in piles of blankets, our winters are much milder than they once were. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Take a look at some of these Wichita Winter Records according to Weather.gov.
The coolest temperature high and low ever recorded in Wichita History were both in February of 1899, just a day apart. The record for Wichita’s coolest high was set on Feb. 11, 1899 at a brisk -11 degrees Fahrenheit. ICT’s record for coolest low came the following day, at -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Days Under Zero Degrees
Wichita saw another record-breaking cold spell in December of 1983, when the temperature remained below zero for eight consecutive days on the 18-25. This streak beat the existing record of seven consecutive days below zero, which occurred Feb. 7-13, 1899 and included the days on which the record coolest high and low were set. Yikes!
The winter of 1911-1912 saw a record amount of snow, totaling 39.7 inches over the course of the season. This record still stands, but was nearly surpassed in the winter of 1987-1988, which offered a seasonal total of 39.4 inches of snow. Does that seem like too much snow? Then perhaps you would have preferred the winter of 1922-1923, where the seasonal total (and record low!) of snow was a mere 0.7 inches.
When broken down by month, snowfall reached an all-time high in February of 2013, which saw 21.2 inches.
On March 15-16, 1970, Wichita was buried by 13.5 inches of snow in a 24 hour period, a record that still stands today.
Earliest Snow of the Season
An unseasonably early snow was recorded in Wichita in 1942, when flakes fell on Sept. 26. On that date this year, the temperature sat at a comfortable 74 degrees.
That’s right. The early Wichitans would likely have found even our least bearable winters a pleasant alternative to their own and that’s without even considering the vast improvements in heating that have been made since. Maybe our winters aren't so bad, after all!