The Biggest November Snowstorm In Ohio History

Written by Justin Sexton
Updated: October 21, 2023
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A road in Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley near Cleveland runs through a wintry landscape after freshly fallen snow

A road in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley near Cleveland runs through a wintry landscape after freshly fallen snow.

©Kenneth Sponsler/Shutterstock.com

Ohio’s snow season usually starts in November. However, snow in Ohio can start as early as October. As a matter of fact, the earliest snowstorm the state had was back on October 2, 1974. Yet, the Buckeye State’s snowiest times start in January and end in early March. A typical Columbus, Ohio winter brings an average snowfall of 28 inches. January’s snow average is nine inches and February’s average is seven inches. The average November snowfall in many places is one to three inches. However, some snowstorms in the past have created some outlier years. So, what is the biggest November snowstorm in Ohio?

What Is The Biggest November Snowstorm In Ohio?

The biggest November snowstorm in Ohio is The 1950 Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm. This specific snowstorm hit the state between November 23rd through November 27th. It must be noted that this November snowstorm was a part of the “Great Appalachian Snowstorm” that took place at the same time. The Great Appalachian Snowstorm impacted twenty-two states, killed three hundred fifty-three people, and caused a grand total of sixty-seven million dollars in damage. Those metrics are for the twenty-two total states involved in the Great Appalachian Snowstorm.

The 1950 Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm in Ohio began on November 23rd. On the first day, most of Ohio received ten inches of snow while Eastern Ohio received twenty to thirty inches. On November 24th, the winds pick up to dangerous levels of forty miles per hour and temperatures drop to nearly zero degrees.

The Snow Bowl

During the day of November 25th, the storm peaked to its harshest conditions with near-blizzard conditions. Ohio State and Michigan played in “The Snow Bowl” to see which team would get a ticket to the Rose Bowl and which team would win the Big Ten Championship.

A video that breaks down the significance of The Snow Bowl between Michigan and Ohio State.

Morning temperatures that day were at five degrees and winds were booming at forty miles per hour. Michigan had to travel to Ohio State to play the game or else they would have forfeited and Ohio State would go on to play the Rose Bowl. Somehow the team and fifty thousand fans arrive at the stadium to be at the game. Michigan won with a score of 9-3. Ohio State gained 41 total yards and Michigan gained only 27 total yards with zero first downs. Both teams’ strategies were to play at least two downs and try to punt the football to prevent turning the ball over to the other team.

End Of The 1950 Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm

The snowstorm ended on Monday, November 27th. Snowfall reached a whopping thirty-three inches in Stubenville. The severe snowy conditions destroyed many buildings. Thanks to massive amounts of snow piling up on top of roofs, ceilings caved in and destroyed homes and businesses. Winds reached over sixty miles per hour, knocking down many trees. Bulldozers were deployed to clear off the main roads and interstates for ambulances and the National Guard. Many people in Ohio lost power due to the massive snowstorm. The National Guard used jeeps so they could transport people out of damaged homes into hospitals and deliver food and necessities to the rural areas.

How Does This Compare To Other Ohio Snowstorms?

There’s this infamous blizzard in 1978 known as “The White Hurricane.” This specific snowstorm lasted from January 25th to January 27th. Winds picked up over one hundred miles per hour. The wind chill was at a severe negative sixty degrees Fahrenheit. About one to three feet of snow covered the Buckeye State

This was another snowstorm that buried homes in snow and required the National Guard to come in for much-needed aid. Police officers even called upon the help of citizens with snowmobiles or 4-wheel drive vehicles to transport doctors around the state to provide care for the sick and injured. Many people called this the worst winter storm that Ohio had ever seen. Fifty-one people died due to the harsh conditions.

Ohio went through a six-day snowstorm back in 1996. The total amount of snowfall the storm gave Ohio was 69.5 inches! The snowstorm hit mostly northeastern Ohio.

The Midwest and Northeastern parts of the United States remember the North American Blizzard of 2008. A Low-pressure system developed in Texas and traveled to the Northeastern United States and Canada. The four-day snowstorm from March 6-10 hit Ohio Valley and Quebec the hardest. The storm even produced several tornadoes and twenty-eight inches of snow in certain areas of Ohio. An incoming airplane skidded off the runway at Port Columbus International Airport. The overall North American Blizzard of 2008 caused $789 million in damages with seventeen deaths across the U.S. and Canada. Five of those deaths happened in Ohio!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Coral Sand and Assoc/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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