Pratt snowfall sets state's 24-hour record

11/06/2009 12:00 AM

11/06/2009 12:07 AM

PRATT — A blizzard that dropped 30 inches of snow on Pratt County in March will set a record for the most snow in a 24-hour period in the state's history, state climatologist Mary Knapp said.

Knapp said the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., has to finish its verification process, but she is sure the storm will set a record.

"We have a few hoops to go through but when all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed it will be a new state record," Knapp said.

Several factors contributed to the record. High moisture is necessary to produce big snowfalls and the March storm was fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

"The 30-inch snow had high liquid values. Every inch of snow had a tenth of an inch of liquid and that is pretty wet snow," Knapp said.

The storm system also was stationary and narrow. Towns close to Pratt reported only a couple of inches of snow.

This winter could be interesting, Knapp said. Global circulation patterns indicate that ocean temperatures are warmer than normal and that could eventually push moisture into the area, she said.

Warmer than average temperatures and above average moisture are predicted, and those factors also are necessary for a big snowfall.

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