Discover the 10 States that Get the Most December Snow

Written by Lisa Bohler
Published: December 3, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


A white Christmas is something that many people dream of. Some states get snow every winter, and the residents wake up on Christmas morning to find a winter wonderland outside. If you want a special place to see snow in December, check out the following 10 states:

New Hampshire

December can bring a lot of snow to parts of New Hampshire. The average snowfall for December in New Hampshire varies significantly according to which part of the state you are in. On Mount Washington, the northern portion of the state sees an average of 47.7 inches. However, the state’s southern portions, near Durham, see only 8.9 inches.

Maine

One of the states that gets snow every winter is Maine. In northern Maine, the first snowfalls begin as early as October. Southern Maine typically does not see snow before December. There is a 60% chance of seeing a coating of snow on the ground on Christmas morning. While snow is likely in Maine in December, the worst snow storms to hit this state happen between February and March. Between February and March of 1717, blizzards hit Maine and left between two and six feet of snow.

Michigan

Of the states that get snow every winter, Michigan starts to receive its yearly snowfall in December. However, the months with the most incredible snowfall amounts are February and March. February and March are also the months that see the most consecutive snowy days. In 1913, the worst Michigan snowstorm hit with hurricane-speed wind gusts that reached 90 mph. The sustained winds in Michigan were between 60 and 70 mph.

Washington

In states that get snow every winter, most of them receive their snowfall in February and March. However, the greatest snowfall amounts in Washington occur in January. In 1950, January brought 20 inches of snow to Seattle. It continued to snow daily for the rest of the month, leaving Seattle with 57.2 inches of cold white powder.

Idaho

Out of the states that get snow every winter, Idaho may surprise you with the fact that in 1949, Eastern Idaho was pelted with 13 consecutive weeks of intense cold and massive snow amounts. That winter was a deadly one. In December of 1997, Idaho was the recipient of heavy winter snows, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Montana

One of the states that gets snow every winter is Montana; annually, they receive as much as 49 inches (3 feet) of powder. Montana is like many other states because their worst snowstorms occur in February or March instead of December. The worst snowstorm in Montana history occurred in February of 1986. According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), in the winter of 2022–2023, 853 inches of snow were left at the Log Cabin Cafe in Silver Gate.

California

When you think of states that get snow every winter, California does not pop into your head. California has sunshine, mild weather, bikinis, and beach volleyball at Christmas time. That is true of the southern sections of the state. However, snow is an annual event in places like Big Bear Lake, Truckee, and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges.

Alaska

In states that get snow every winter, Alaska is one of the forerunners for having large amounts of snow, several consecutive days of snow, and cold temperatures that prevent the snow from melting. Alaska starts to see cold temperatures before the other states do. In October in Kethcikan, snow flurries are beginning. The biggest snowfall that hit Alaska happened in October 1925. Alaska typically sees 8.8 inches of snow in the month of October, but that October day, they received twice that amount of snow, 15 inches, in a day.

Wyoming

December snow in Wyoming occurs more at higher elevations. This is true for most of the states that get snow every winter. The worst snowstorm to hit the state happened in January of 1949. The storm killed 12 people in Wyoming, one person in South Dakota, seven in Colorado, and 20 in Nebraska, with hurricane-force winds of 73 mph and snow accumulations of 12 to 40 inches. Typically, Wyoming sees snow accumulations of four to eight inches during January.

Oregon

Of all the states that get snow every winter, Oregon is the least likely to rank first on the list. That is because some parts of Oregon see snow so rarely that most residents can count how many times it has snowed in their lives. On the other hand, some people in Oregon see several inches and even several feet of snow annually.

10. New Hampshire

Snow covered barn in New Hampshire

Snow is on the ground outside the New Hampshire barn.

©Diana Nault/Shutterstock.com

The average snowfall amounts in New Hampshire during December are high. Most areas in the southern portion of the state see December snow for two to five days out of the month. On Mount Washington, it snows an average of 19.7 days in December and accumulates an average of 47.7 inches (3.97 feet). Danbury received 48 inches of snow in 24 hours during December 2020. New Hampshire receives 174.35 inches of snow annually.

9. Maine

Snowmobiling on Moosehead Lake below Mount Kineo in Maine

The average number of days with snow in December in Maine is between 4 and 14.

©iStock.com/visionsofmaine

Maine is an option if you want to see snow in December. The average snowfall amounts for Maine in December are between 9 and 28 inches. On average, it snows 14 days in Rangeley each December. Rangeley is also the area of the state where the deepest snowfall occurs each year. On Christmas morning in Maine, there is a 7% chance that residents will see 12 inches of snow or more. Maine receives 92 inches of snow annually.

8. Michigan

Field Covered in Snow in Gaylord, Michigan - Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in Michigan

A Michigan farm covered in soft white snow.

©Paul Winterman/Shutterstock.com

The average December snowfall amounts in Michigan are between 4 and 31 inches. Some places on the upper peninsula, like Tahquamenon State Park, have received as much as 42.7 inches, but the area around Grand Rapids typically sees 20.8 inches in the last month of the year. Consecutive snowfall days in Michigan range between four days in Dearborn and Adrian and 17.4 days in Sault Ste Marie. Michigan receives 70.38″ of snow annually.

7. Washington

Snoqualmie Pass in Washington

Skiing is a favorite winter activity in Washington.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

Fresh snow in December delights the skiers. In December, the average snowfall in Washington is 1 to 32 inches. Washington is a hit-or-miss for a snowy December. In Leavenworth, the average December snowfall is 32.4 inches. However, in Aberdeen, Grayland, and Long Beach, the average amount is zero. In December 1990, Western Washington received a white Christmas with seven inches of snow falling from the 8th through Christmas Day. Washington receives 20.18″ of snow annually.

6. Idaho

Winter Wonderland in Ketchum Idaho

Winter Wonderland in Ketchum, Idaho

©Karl Eggleston/Shutterstock.com

In Ketchum, Idaho, 97% of the time, there is snow on the ground at Christmas. The average December snowfall amounts in Idaho range from 4 to 33 inches. Idaho receives 25.17″ of snow annually. Idaho receives storms from the Pacific Coast, which increase the amount of precipitation in the mountain ranges. When precipitation is chilled by winter temperatures, the result is snow.

5. Montana

Big Sky ski resort, Montana

Fresh December snow means better skiing conditions in Montana.

©Robert Vincelli/Shutterstock.com

4 to 45 inches Montana receives 49.81″ of snow annually. However, they primarily get the most snow from January until March. The state’s western half receives high amounts of snowfall around the Rocky Mountains. The state’s eastern half sees only a fraction of the snow, usually 20″ annually. Residents of Montana are accustomed to blizzards and storms causing road closures that last for days. January is the snowiest month in Montana.

4. California

Winter, Truckee California

©hale irwin/iStock via Getty Images

In December, 38.3 to 45″ of snow occurs in Truckee, California. For most of this state, 0.88″ of snow falls annually. When you think of snow in December, California is one of the last places you think about. However, in Lassen National Park, annual snowfall amounts are 55 feet. That number rises to 83 feet in years with heavy snowfalls at Lake Helen.

3. Alaska

Black Rapids Glacier in the Alaska Range during the Winter

Portions of Alaska are a winter wonderland throughout the year.

©Gary Whitton/Shutterstock.com

In December, snow accumulations of 8.1″ on Anette Island to 70.5″ in Valdez are average. The snowiest month in this state is October; in parts of Alaska, it still snows in May. Alaska has up to 160″ of snow annually. Residents of the state are used to snow coming eight months out of the year. However, they also know that snow comes every month for some years. They see snowflakes as big as apples, and residents do not take snow days off; they learn to deal with all of the white, cold powder.

2. Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming taken from Rendezvous mountain

Snow-covered mountains in Wyoming

©Paul Demick/Shutterstock.com

It is normal for Wyoming to have 6 to 64 inches of snow during December. Yellowstone Park at the South Entrance sees greater snow accumulation and more days of consecutive snowfall each December than other portions of the state. At the South Entrance of Yellowstone, snow occurs about 18 days out of the month during December. Wyoming receives 77.33″ of snow annually.

1. Oregon

Oregon Christmas

A beautiful, snowy Christmas morning in Oregon on a Christmas tree farm

©Jacquie Klose/Shutterstock.com

Crater Lake, Oregon, receives 2 to 90 inches of snow in December. Oregon is one of the states that has snowfall amounts that are nonexistent in one area and massive in other areas. However, it is our number one ranking state because the portions of the state that receive snow consistently in December receive massive amounts. While most of Oregon does not see extreme winter weather, in 2008, a blizzard hit the state, leaving 30″ of snow. From the Willamette Valley to Portland, Oregon, residents were treated to a rare white Christmas.

Summary Of the 10 States that Get the Most December Snow

RankStateAverage December Snow Amount
10New Hampshire8 to 28 inches
9Maine9 to 28 Inches
8Michigan4 to 31 inches
7Washington1 to 32 inches
6Idaho4 to 33 inches
5Montana4 to 45 inches
4California38.3 inches to 45
3Alaska8.1 to 70.5 inches
2Wyoming6 to 64 inches
1Oregon2 to 90 inches

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jacquie Klose/Shutterstock.com


Share on:
About the Author

Lisa Bohler is a writer for A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Lisa has been writing and researching animals for over 12 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Creative Writing from Liberty University, which she earned in 2021. A resident of Texas, Lisa enjoys fishing, gardening, and caring for the animals on her small hobby farm.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.