Lead Snowfall Totals & Accumulation Averages

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This page pulls together information on when, how much and how often Lead, South Dakota has snow.

There are data and descriptions here of how many days it snows and the total amount of snowfall that Lead usually gets. There are also monthly and yearly counts of the days that the ski resort town normally has heavy snowstorms and deep snow accumulated on the ground. Plus there's information on when Lead can expect the first and last snowfalls of the season.

All the numbers are long-term historical averages based on weather data gathered from 1981 to 2010 at Lead, near the Terry Peak Ski Area.

How Often it Snows in Lead

This first table lists monthly and yearly totals for amount of snow and how many days it snows at least 0.1 inches (0.25 centimetres).

Average total snowfall and days with fresh snow in Lead
Days   Inches Centimetres
10.5 January   23.8   60.5
  9.7 February   24.9   63.2
10.6 March   32.9   83.6
  8.1 April   32.8   83.3
  2.4 May     8.0   20.3
  0.3 June     0.9     2.3
  1.1 September     2.5     6.4
  5.5 October   19.6   49.8
  8.6 November   25.1   63.8
10.4 December   27.0   68.6
67.2 Year 197.5 501.7

These averages don't show how much the snowfall in Lead varies from year to year.

In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 37.2 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive less than 9.2 inches for the month.

Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 29.4 inches, while the lightest years get less than 13.6 inches.

New snow for February ranges from over 31.2 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 15.6 inches in light years.

When Lead Has Its First & Last Snowfalls

The first snowfall of winter for Lead usually arrives in October. Some years also get snow in September.

The season's last snowfall typically happens in May. Snow can land as late as June, yet that's uncommon.

Lead is normally free of snow every year during July and August.

How Many Snowstorms Lead Gets

Most days of snowfall in Lead result in at least an inch of fresh snow on the ground. For 21 days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals three inches or more.

Snowstorms of over five inches a day normally occur 11 times a year. Of these, 3 or 4 are major blizzards that dump ten inches or more. Storms that severe can arrive anytime from October to May.

Number of days per month and year on average in Lead with a total snowfall of at least 1, 3, 5 or 10 inches
1 inch
2.5 cm
3 inches
7.6 cm
  5 inches
12.7 cm
10 inches
25.4 cm
  6.2   2.6 January   1.3 0.3
  5.7   2.6 February   1.5 0.4
  6.9   3.8 March   1.8 0.7
  5.6   3.2 April   1.9 0.8
  1.5   0.9 May   0.5 0.1
  0.1   0.1 June   0.1 0.0
  0.8   0.3 September   0.1 0.0
  3.4   1.8 October   1.1 0.5
  5.3   2.6 November   1.3 0.5
  6.5   2.7 December   1.6 0.4
42.0 20.6 Year 11.2 3.7

How Much Snow Normally Accumulates in Lead

For about three-quarters of winter days, Lead has at least an inch of snow on the ground.

Snow mostly accumulates from December to February. Typically, on 9 days in January and another 8 in February and in December, the snow covering Lead gets to ten or more inches deep.

Average total days per month and year in Lead with snow depth of at least 1, 3, 5 or 10 inches on the ground
1 inch
2.5 cm
3 inches
7.6 cm
  5 inches
12.7 cm
10 inches
25.4 cm
  25.5 20.9 January 15.4   9.0
  21.7 17.7 February 14.9   8.4
  17.9 14.2 March 10.8   5.7
    7.8   5.4 April   4.4   2.5
    1.6   1.2 May   0.8   0.5
    0.1   0.0 June   0.0   0.0
    0.5   0.1 September   0.1   0.0
    4.6   3.1 October   2.3   1.1
  14.6 11.3 November   8.5   3.9
  20.0 15.8 December 13.3   8.0
114.3 89.7 Year 70.5 39.1
Reference

National Climatic Data Center. NOAA's 1981-2010 Climate Normals.

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