Rapid City Snowfall Totals & Accumulation Averages

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

There are data and descriptions here of how many days it snows and the total amount of snowfall that Rapid City 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 Rapid City 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 in Rapid City.

How Often it Snows in Rapid City

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 Rapid City
Days   Inches Centimetres
  5.9 January   5.5   14.0
  6.4 February   7.4   18.8
  5.9 March 11.8   30.0
  3.5 April   8.8   22.4
  0.7 May   2.0     5.1
  0.1 September   0.1     0.3
  1.7 October   2.3     5.8
  3.7 November   6.2   15.7
  5.2 December   5.2   13.2
33.1 Year 49.3 125.2

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

In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 7.7 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive less than 1.6 inches for the month.

Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 7.5 inches, while the lightest years get less than 3.8 inches.

New snow for February ranges from over 11 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 4.4 inches in light years.

When Rapid City Has Its First & Last Snowfalls

The first snowfall of winter for Rapid City usually arrives in October. But snow can start falling as early as September or as late as November.

The season's last snowfall typically happens in April. Every few years, May also gets fresh snow.

Rapid City is normally free of snow every year from June to August.

How Many Snowstorms Rapid City Gets

Most days of snowfall in Rapid City leave just a skiff, amounting to less than an inch, of fresh snow on the ground. For 14 days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals at least an inch.

Snowstorms of over five inches a day normally occur a couple times a year. But major blizzards that dump ten inches or more in one day are rare events that don't happen every year.

Number of days per month and year on average in Rapid City 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
  2.1 0.3 January 0.1 0.0
  1.9 0.6 February 0.2 0.1
  3.2 1.1 March 0.7 0.1
  1.9 0.8 April 0.6 0.2
  0.4 0.2 May 0.1 0.1
  1.1 0.2 October 0.0 0.0
  1.5 0.7 November 0.4 0.1
  1.8 0.3 December 0.0 0.0
13.9 4.2 Year 2.1 0.6

How Much Snow Normally Accumulates in Rapid City

For about one-quarter of winter days, Rapid City has at least an inch of snow on the ground.

Snow mostly accumulates during March. Typically, on 3 days in March and another 1 in February, the snow covering Rapid City gets to five or more inches deep.

Average total days per month and year in Rapid City 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
  8.6   3.2 January 0.2 0.0
  8.2   3.1 February 1.4 0.2
  7.7   4.5 March 2.7 0.4
  3.2   1.9 April 0.8 0.1
  0.3   0.2 May 0.1 0.0
  1.4   0.5 October 0.0 0.0
  5.3   2.4 November 1.1 0.1
  8.3   2.8 December 0.5 0.0
43.0 18.6 Year 6.8 0.8
Reference

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

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