First Snow in Ohio: The Earliest & Latest First Snows on Record

Written by August Croft
Published: November 26, 2022
© The American Wanderer/Shutterstock.com
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Depending on where you live in the state itself, the first snow in Ohio may vary in terms of its date and amount of snow present. If you live in Ohio, you are likely no stranger to the snow and winter weather conditions, but when is the average first snowfall in Ohio and what can you expect out of a typical winter in this state? 

In this article, we will address everything you need to know about snowfall in Ohio, including some record-setting winter events. We will go over when the first snow typically occurs in Ohio as well as some dates that fall beyond the state average. Let’s get started and talk all about Ohio in the winter now! 

Understanding First Snow in Ohio

first snow in ohio
Anyone living in Ohio will be the first to tell you that snowfall varies across the state.

©The American Wanderer/Shutterstock.com

Ohio Snow Facts
Earliest First SnowfallOctober 2 (1974)
Latest First SnowfallJanuary 24 (1991)
Average Temperature25-45 degrees Fahrenheit
Largest Average Snowfall160 inches (1959-1960)
Smallest Average Snowfall6 inches (2020-2021)
Places to Enjoy the SnowColumbus, Lake Erie, Toledo

Anyone living in Ohio will be the first to tell you that snowfall varies across the state. The farther north you are, the more likely you are to experience heavy snowfall in the wintertime, likely due to the lake effect. This is a process unique to the Great Lakes region of the United States, as cold air moves over the warm waters of the lakes, producing heavier snowfall based on temperature and precipitation levels. 

But that still doesn’t explain just how much snow parts of Ohio receive, as well as when they should expect to receive it. Let’s talk about the average first snowfall dates in Ohio now. 

Earliest and Latest Snowfalls in Ohio

first snow in ohio
The earliest first snow in the state of Ohio occurred back in 1974, on October 2nd.

©Gary C. Tognoni/Shutterstock.com

Depending on the year, the average first snowfall date in Ohio occurs sometime toward the end of October or in the heart of November. However, there are many dates that fall beyond this average, including the 2022 winter season. The very first snowfall of 2022 occurred around October 16th in Ohio, cracking the top three earliest first snowfall dates in the state’s history. However, the earliest first snow in the state of Ohio occurred back in 1974, on October 2nd. 

When it comes to the latest snowfall date in the state’s history, Ohio made it all the way to January 24th, 1991. This was apparently the date of the first snow of that season, making it incredibly later than average. However, Ohio typically sees snow by the end of November if not the beginning of December, so the end of January is incredibly out of the ordinary! 

Largest and Smallest Snowfalls in Ohio

Determining the largest and smallest average snowfalls in Ohio is extremely difficult because of the various amounts of snow averages throughout the state. As we’ve already discussed, northern Ohio experiences far more snow compared to southern Ohio, but there have been some years that produce both more and less snow than average. 

For example, for the 1959 to 1960 winter season, Ohio saw at least 160 inches of snowfall. This is far more than average, even for regions that experience lake effect snow. In direct contrast, some locations of Ohio experienced only 6 inches of snow in the 2020 to 2021 season, though most of these locations reside in the southernmost part of the state. 

Winter Temperatures in Ohio

first snow in ohio
When it comes to the latest snowfall date in the state’s history, Ohio made it all the way to January 24th, 1991.

©iStock.com/Herman Vlad

Temperatures in Ohio vary depending on where you live, just like the average snowfall amounts. Let’s take a look at some of the differences in both temperature and annual snow accumulation across different locations in Ohio now. 

Northern Ohio

Locations such as Cleveland range in temperature during the wintertime and experience a decent amount of snow due to the lake effect of Lake Erie right nearby. However, temperatures remain fairly mild, averaging between 25-35 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, this region experiences an average of 12 inches of snow each year, though some locations get far more than others.

Central Ohio

Columbus is at the heart of central Ohio and is slightly warmer than northern Ohio on average. The lows are similar, but central Ohio averages anywhere from 25 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the wintertime. In addition, there is less snowfall here, but only slightly. Depending on the year, central Ohio experiences an average of 8 inches of snow.

Southern Ohio

At the southwestern corner of Ohio lies Cincinnati, a slightly warmer city compared to the others we’ve described. With an average temperature of 28 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit, southern Ohio sees slightly less snow than the rest of the state. However, it still experiences an average of roughly 7 inches annually. 

Winter Wildlife in Ohio

first snow in ohio
Columbus is at the heart of central Ohio and is slightly warmer than northern Ohio on average.

©iStock.com/Lynnae_Lowe

Whether you want to visit Ohio to see family or explore the state and national parks in the area, there are a number of different wildlife species found throughout the state. Some of the animals that you might catch a glimpse of during the wintertime include: 

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The Featured Image

Winter in the Appalachian Mountains
A portion of the famous Appalachian Mountains run through Ohio and cover nearly 35 counties.
© The American Wanderer/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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Sources
  1. An examination of traffic volume during snow events in northeast Ohio, Available here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-019-03786-y