The United States spans a large swath of land ranging from desert to snowy mountains. The country contains one of the world’s hottest places, and each state experiences extreme weather in a totally different way. Some states get very little snow annually while others get blanketed for months.
There are several types of snowy winter weather according to the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. These include snowstorms, lake effect storms, and snow squalls. All of these can lead to long winters with layers of snow on the ground for months. Which states are the snowiest?
The green and lush state of Vermont takes the crown as the snowiest state in the US. They have an average annual snowfall of just over 89 inches. However, in some of the state’s snowiest years, it has received over 200 inches.
Part of the reason for the state’s snowy tendencies is that it is landlocked. There are no coastal areas to moderate winter temperatures. However, even though it has no oceanfront property, it still gets nor’easter blizzards caused by coastal conditions in other states. These storms have the potential to dump a ton of snow in one storm.
The other reason for the state’s dramatic snowfall is that the Green Mountains are perfectly placed to create maximum snowfall in a storm. It explains why these mountains are New England’s ski haven.
Maine is another beautiful state in New England with long, cold winters. It gets an average of 77.28 inches of snow each year. However, in the snowiest years, it can get up to 150 inches!
Some coastal areas see less than two feet of snow each year, but the northern interior part of the state can get more than 100 inches. The state’s snowiest town is called Caribou and is located near the Canadian border and New Brunswick. The town often has more than a foot of snow on the ground for over 100 days each winter.
3. New Hampshire
As it is right next to Vermont, it shouldn’t be any surprise that New Hampshire is high up on the list of snowiest states. New Hampshire receives 71.44 inches of snow per year. However, the snowiest year in the state had more than 170 inches!
However, the state’s snowy conditions are changing, and experts believe it may be due to climate change. When there is snow on the ground, it reflects sunlight and solar radiation, keeping temperatures cooler overall. Without as much snow on the ground, more heat is absorbed into the ground, keeping temperatures higher and creating a cycle that causes faster warming overall.
Each year Colorado receives 67.3 inches of snow. Similar to Vermont, the Rocky Mountains create conditions for strong snowfalls each year. However, it is further from the coast, so it doesn’t get as much moisture. It has a lot of snowfall, but not as much as the northern New England states, which are closer to the coastline.
It surprises many that Alaska is not the snowiest state in the country, as it is known for winter weather and its cold climate. However, it is only number 5 on the list of snowiest states! Alaska gets 64.46 inches of snow per year. It’s important to note that some places of Alaska, especially in mountainous regions, do get a ton of snow. Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains, gets about 500 inches of snow on average. In its snowiest year, the area got 974 inches of snow. That’s over 80 feet!
It makes sense that most of the snowiest states in the country are toward the northern portion of the state. Michigan is no exception. Parts of the state are exceptionally snowy due to the lake effect from the Great Lakes. The lake effect happens when cold air comes down from Canada into the US and passes over the Great Lakes, where it picks up moisture. It then dumps the moisture as snow in large amounts over nearby land.
Michigan gets 60.66 inches of snow per year.
7. New York
New York is a pretty large state that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean all the way up to the Canadian border. The areas toward the northern part of the state get the most snow, and Upstate New York has several of the snowiest cities in the entire country, including Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester. New York State receives an average of 55 inches of snow per year. Southern areas of the state, including New York City, see about 25 inches per year, while cities like Syracuse get more than 100 inches per year.
Number 8 on this list brings us back to New England. Massachusetts receives 51.05 inches of snow on average per year. The state gets nor’easter storms that bring large amounts of snow to the region in addition to smaller storms that add to the yearly totals. In the snowiest years, cities like Boston can receive up to 100 inches!
Summary of the 8 Snowiest States in the United States
Here is a list of the 8 snowiest states in the United States:
|Rank||State||Average annual snowfall|
|1||Vermont||Over 89 inches|
|3||New Hampshire||71.44 inches|
|7||New York||55 inches|
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the snowiest state in the US?
Vermont is the snowiest state in the US. It receives the most snow on average each year.
How much snowfall does Vermont receive on average?
The state of Vermont gets just over 89 inches of snow on average each year.
What is the 2nd snowiest state in the US?
Maine is the 2nd snowiest state in the United States. It receives an average of 77.28 inches of snow every year.
Is Alaska the snowiest state in the country?
Alaska is not the snowiest state in the country. It is the 5th snowiest state.
How much snow does Alaska get each year?
Alaska gets an average of 64.46 inches of snow per year.
What is the snowiest place in Alaska?
Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska, gets about 500 inches of snow each year on average.
What was the snowiest year at the Thompson Pass in Alaska?
In the winter of 1952-1953, the Thompson Pass received 974 inches of snow, which is more than 80 feet.
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- NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, Available here: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/winter/types/
- World Population Review, Available here: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/snowiest-states
- USA.com, Available here: http://www.usa.com/rank/us--average-snow--state-rank.htm