Wichita Winter Fun Facts
Common Problems caused by Freezing Temperatures
Living in Wichita, we all have some winter stories to tell. Whether it was being snowed in during an unusually big winter storm or being stuck on Kellogg after ice caused a multi-car pileup during rush hour, we can all remember a “bad winter”. But then some winters, we’re lucky if there’s even enough snow for one good run down a sledding hill.
How bad are Wichita winters really though? Do we suffer more than other places as far north as us? And is the worst winter you can remember the worst it ever got in Wichita?
You could say winter is our business for us at Hanna Heating & Air, having provided heating services to the greater Wichita area for 3 decades. So we have some interesting and historical winter facts about the Wichita area to share the next time you’re snowed in with family or friends.
Wichita’s Coldest Month?
Many people might guess the coldest month of the year in Wichita is February, but that is not correct. The coldest typical month for our area is actually January. In this first month of the year, our average low is 25 degrees, and our average high is only 44. No other month averages such low numbers. February is typically expected to be a tad bit better, with an average high of 49.
Although we are talking about average temperatures over the course of the month, that doesn’t mean the coldest days of a Wichita winter will happen in January. In fact, the coldest day ever recorded in Wichita was in February. On Saturday, February 12, 1899, we saw our coldest day ever on record. It was a remarkable -22 degrees!
However, do you remember that frigid cold snap we experienced in February a couple of years ago? We nearly beat the record for the coldest day ever in Wichita in 2021! On February 16, 2021, our low temperature hit -17. That was an especially significant drop for us when you consider that in the previous year, our temperatures never got below zero. In 2020, our coldest day that year was 9 degrees on February 13th.
Wichita Snowfall Records
As far as snowfall goes, winters can be hit and miss. Some years kids are lucky if they get a couple of days at the College Hill sledding hill. We’re not sure how long ago kids have been taking advantage of hills like those across Wichita, but they would have been in luck way back during the winter of 1911-1912. Back all those many years ago, Wichita saw a record-setting snow fall. It snowed an unbelievable 39.7 inches!
While there’s no one around today who could remember that big snow, there is one season that a lot of long-time Wichita residents probably do remember. Just as Hanna Heating & Air was first opening its doors for business was when Wichita nearly broke the snowfall record. In the winter of 1987-1988, it snowed a remarkable 39.4 inches. Just a third of an inch away from the record!
When did it snow the least? Well, there was one year when not even a full inch of snow fell, and that was exactly a century ago. During the winter season of 1922-1923, it snowed merely 0.7 inches. No chance for a proper snowball fight that year!
Wichita’s Earliest First Snow
Many Kansans may recall trick-or-treating through the snow. It’s not all that bizarre for there to be a snowfall in October. But the earliest ever first snow was before even October.
The earliest snowfall Wichita ever saw was in 1942 when it snowed on September 26th. That might be hard to fathom. After all, it was only a week earlier in the month this past fall when people were facing near-record highs. Thousands were enjoying Open Streets in downtown Wichita despite a very hot day, with the temperature hitting 100 degrees that day.
How does Wichita compare to Denver?
Longitudinally speaking, Wichita is further south than Denver. And we don’t have those mountains, so we should expect warmer weather than the Mile High City. But in reality, our winters aren’t that much different – at least not when it comes to temperature.
While Wichita can expect average lows of 25 in January, Denver residents are not far off with their average low of 23. What may be surprising is comparing our average high temps. In January, Denver fares a bit better with an average high of 46, while ours is only 44.
Staying Warm in Wichita
Whether you love it or hate it, Wichita sure can surprise us from one winter to the next. While we will have to wait and see with the 2022-2023 winter will bring, expect to be cold, but perhaps without as much trouble on the roads. The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder and dryer winter ahead for the Midwest. The coldest days are predicted for late December into early January, then again in mid-February.
No matter what happens, we can be relieved we have more advanced technology and systems to stay safe and warm than the Wichitans who lived through the coldest day in 1899. Well-insulated homes with modern, efficient furnaces make our Wichita winters safe and bearable. No one should ever have to worry about making it through a freezing winter without proper heat in their home.
Hanna Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to help make sure our entire community – from Wichita, Andover, Newton, and communities in between – can be safe and warm in their homes. That’s why we provide 24/7 emergency service if your furnace ever breaks down. Call on Hanna whenever you need a furnace repair or if you think it’s time to update your furnace to something more efficient and reliable.