National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Blizzard and Record-Breaking Winter Storm
January 31 - February 1, 2011

(last updated: 2:30 PM CDT 02/07/2011)


Tulsa Snowfall Normals and Records Fort Smith Snowfall Normals and Records


Official Tulsa Snowfall
  Snowfall Records Set Previous Record
January 31, 2011 0.8"    

February 1, 2011 13.2" Record Calendar Day Snowfall for Any Day    12.1" March 8, 1994
    Record Snowfall for February 1      5.0" February 1, 1996
    Record Snowfall for the Entire Month of February    10.5" February 2003

Jan. 31 - Feb. 1, 2011 14.0" Record Event Snowfall    12.9" March 8-9, 1994
    Record 24-hour Snowfall     12.9" March 8-9, 1994

February 2, 2011 14.0" Record Maximum Snowfall Depth    11.0" January 7-8, 1988


Storm Summary

The combination of a deepening upper level storm system moving across Oklahoma and Arkansas, and cold arctic air spilling south into the area, resulted in a major winter storm across all of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas on the night of January 31 and through February 1, 2011. Surface low pressure intensified as it moved from Texas northeast into eastern Arkansas by the afternoon of Feb. 1. This resulted in strong northerly winds across eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, with blizzard to near blizzard conditions at times.

Precipitation moved into eastern Oklahoma around 9 pm Jan. 31. The initial precipitation was mostly freezing rain or sleet, but as the cold air continued to spill south, a quick changeover to snow occurred across much of northeast Oklahoma. The snow continued, heavy at times, into the afternoon of Feb. 1 before tapering off. A few thunderstorms also accompanied the sleet and snow during the night of Jan. 31. Total snowfall amounts of 10-15 inches were common across northeast Oklahoma, with isolated heavier amounts near the Interstate 44 corridor. Tulsa officially recorded 14.0 inches of snow with this storm, breaking the record for the heaviest snowfall from a single storm.

Across the rest of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, freezing rain and sleet persisted for a longer period of time, leading to greater accumulations of ice and sleet. Ice accumulations were generally less than a quarter inch, with sleet accumulations of an inch or two in some places. The freezing rain and sleet did eventually change to snow, with snow accumulations ranging from 1 to 5 inches across much of southeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. Isolated heavier snow amounts did occur in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where the precipitation was quicker to change over to snow.


snow observations
Sleet/Snowfall Estimate Ice Estimate


 Top 5 Two-Day Snowfall Records for Tulsa, Oklahoma

1. 14.0"  January 31 - February 1, 2011
2. 12.9"  March 8-9, 1994
3. 11.5"  March 20, 1924
3. 11.5"  January 8-9, 1920
5. 10.7"  November 30 - December 1, 2005

Note: Many large snowfalls cross the calendar day, which is why a two day period is used.  Records listed above with only one date occurred within the calendar day.  Period of record: January 1900 - February 1, 2011


 Top 10 Coldest Low Temperatures Recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma

1. -16°F  January 22, 1930
2. -15°F  February 13, 1905
3. -14°F  January 18, 1930
4. -13°F  January 12, 1918
5. -12°F  January 13, 1916
6. -11°F  February 4, 1996
7. -10°F  February 14, 1905
8. -8°F  December 23, 1989
9. -8°F  January 4, 1947
10. -8°F  January 23, 1930
Period of Record: January 1905-December 2010


making a snow measurement 

front door snow

Historic Snowfall Measurment at 1 pm


10" Snow Drift in Breezeway
 parking lot snow  puppy in the snow

Parking Lot Looking South


deep snow  Visible Satellite Image of snow field
Owasso, OK...Wow!! Visible Satellite Image from February 2, 2011.     White areas show snow field.