COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — On Oct. 25, 2012, the high temperature in Columbus reached 80 degrees in a four-day warm spell at the conclusion of a blistering, drought summer. Four days later, it was snowing in many parts of Ohio.
Even more remarkable, the snow came from the remnants of a large hurricane — Superstorm Sandy — that made landfall in southern New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29 as a post-tropical cyclone. The monster storm tapped into a cold air mass residing over the Midwest and Appalachians, causing rain to change to wet snow on the western fringe as it trudged westward.
The morning of Oct. 30, 2012, revealed a light coating of snow clinging to trees and decks in Columbus. I covered the effects of the historic Atlantic storm in Ohio that morning and measured about 5.5 inches at Bellefontaine near the highest point (1,549 feet) in Ohio.
In recent years, the average date of the first snow flurries in the Columbus area is around Nov. 7, but occasionally scattered flakes fly in the month of October while the leaves are still changing color.
On Oct. 4, 2014, the second-earliest occurrence of snowflakes in Columbus whisked through the air on an unseasonably cold autumn day. The earliest trace of snow in the city was seen on Sept. 28, 1967.
There are indications in the long-range models of a couple of quick shots of modified arctic air at the end of this week and in the middle of the month that will be cold enough for a few snowflakes in the northern Great Lakes and northern New England.
Snow flurries in October are noticed about once every three years in Columbus — most recently at the end of a windy rainstorm on Oct. 31, 2019.
Measurable snow (0.1 inch or more) has been recorded 11 times in October in Columbus–the earliest date was Oct. 10, 1906. The heaviest October snowfall fell on Halloween weekend in 1993, accumulating 4.6 inches. The snow mostly melted as it fell by the afternoon of Oct. 31 during the OSU-Penn State game at Ohio Stadium.
5 Heaviest October Snowfalls (in inches) in Columbus
|Oct. 30-31, 1993||4.6|
|Oct. 25, 1962||1.3|
|Oct. 22, 1925||1.0|
|Oct. 23, 1917||0.6|
|Oct. 28, 1925||0.5|