SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Siouxland had our biggest snow in about 5 years on January 18th and 19th and there are substantial amounts of snow pack as a result.

So far, we have seen a lot more snow this winter than last year. In the 2021-22 season, Sioux City saw 4.4 inches of snow for the entire season. However, so far for the 2022-23 season through January 24th, Sioux City has already seen 17.2 inches meaning that we are only approximately halfway done with the winter season and we already have nearly four times more snow than last year.

-Snowfall for 2021-22 season
Snowfall for 2022-23 season through January 24, 2023

As of this time last season, there was no snow on the ground for the majority of Siouxland, but this year is a lot different.

This year, we have anywhere from 4 to 24 inches of snow accumulation sitting across Siouxland with the highest amounts observed further north near Sioux Falls and the Iowa Great Lakes. With temperatures staying cold leading into the month of February and more snow chances in the forecast, we could add to those snow depth totals moving forward.

Snow Depth across the Upper Midwest as of January 24, 2022
Snow Depth across the Upper Midwest as of January 24, 2023

Snowpack is important because the snow that is melted is runoff into the Missouri River. We have substantially greater snowpack currently versus this time last year which could indicate a greater chance of localized flooding once we transition into warmer weather.

Flooding was a big problem in 2011, so how was the snowpack in January 2011 compared to now? In the majority of Siouxland, it is slightly higher in 2011 compared to now, but fairly similar with most of our area around 6-10 inches back then. Once you get north of the KCAU 9 Coverage Area and I-90, those areas had a lot more snow built up back then compared to now with some areas sitting at between 20 and 30 inches of snow on the ground.

Snow Depth across the Upper Midwest as of January 24, 2011
Missouri River Level at Sioux City as of 3pm CST January 24, 2023

Something that works in our favor is that many of our local rivers are near all-time low levels coming off one of the driest years on record in 2022. It would take an enormous amount of runoff from snowmelt plus major amounts of springtime rain to boost river levels to a point where flooding would become a concern.

As of January 24th, 2023 at 3 p.m. CST, the Missouri River at Sioux City was at 5.27 ft. due to the very dry years we had in 2021 and 2022. This means that even with the amount of snow we have on the ground, we are around what we should be for this time in winter. In order to get to the flood stage, the Missouri River would have to be at 30 feet, which means we are at 17% of where we need to be at flood stage. In other words, we need the Missouri River to climb 25 feet to be at flood stage. We have nothing to worry about at this time, regarding flooding. Any precipitation at this time would still be very necessary.