The Biggest Christmas Snowstorm in Virginia History

Two cute girls in pajamas sitting and looking out the window at snowy weather. Christmas moments with kids at home
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Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: December 22, 2023

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For most of Virginia, there is less than a 10% chance of having a white Christmas in any given year. The odds for a snowy Christmas are low unless you’re in the mountains. However, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Read on to discover the biggest Christmas snowstorm in Virginia history.

What is the Biggest Christmas Snowstorm in Virginia History?

A record-setting amount of snow fell on Christmas Day in Virginia on December 25, 1947. However, this was only 2.4 inches. Although it was enough to count as a “White Christmas,” defined as any time there is over one inch of snow on the ground, it wasn’t the biggest snowstorm around Christmas in Virginia.

European starling one single bird perching sitting on bare tree branch during winter snow closeup in Virginia isolated with plumage pattern

The blizzard of 2009 meant a white Christmas for Virginia that year.

©Kristi Blokhin/

The December Snowstorm of 2009

The December snowstorm in 2009 didn’t happen on Christmas Day but a few days before. However, it ensured Virginians would see a snowy Christmas that year. On December 18-19, 2009, the biggest December snowstorm in Virginia history occurred. Over the two days, Roanoke, VA, recorded 17 inches of snow, while the record for the state was set in the small town of Buchanan. A record-breaking 30 inches of snow fell in Buchanan over the two days.

The 2009 Nor’Easter Blizzard storm blanketed the mid-Atlantic region with high winds and heavy snow. The storm started in the Gulf of Mexico, dumping substantial rain on Texas. The system kept up its heavy precipitation as it moved north, becoming a dangerous blizzard. 

Impacts of the 2009 Blizzard

Yellow tractor removes a pile of snow from a road in El Berrueco, Madrid.

The snowstorm in December of 2009 stranded many motorists in the Virginia region.

©Juan Carlos L. Ruiz/

The blizzard crippled the region, canceling flights, delaying train service, knocking out power lines, and stranding many motorists. A state of emergency was declared in Virginia. Three deaths were reported, and Virginia State Police responded to nearly 3,000 accidents or disabled vehicles during the storm. Stranded motorists were taken to shelters to wait out the storm, while National Guardsmen brought food and water to people stranded in their cars.

What’s the Chance of a White Christmas in Virginia?

White snow covered metal outdoor table chair closeup on home house wooden deck with railing fence in winter with forest trees in northern Virginia

If you dream of a white Christmas in Virginia, your best bet is to head to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Historically, the odds are low for having a white Christmas in Virginia. In fact, according to data from the National Weather Service, unless you live in Maine, Upstate New York, Idaho, Minnesota, or on a mountain range, you have a low chance of having a white Christmas anywhere in the U.S. In Virginia, the chances range from 0 to 30%, with the higher probability falling in western Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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