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5 Snowiest Places in the U.S.

5 Snowiest Places in the U.S.

Now that we’ve released our winter forecast, there’s a lot of talk about snow: how much is too much, who gets it the worst, who gets the short end of the snowy stick each winter. We have readers who write to us from Cleveland, Ohio, which sees an average of 68.5 inches of snow per year. And Syracuse, New York, which topped our list as one of the Nation’s worst weather cities, also tops the list of snowy cities, with an average of 126.3 inches per year. But no matter how snowy those cities are, there are places around the United States that makes this kind of snowfall look like a dusting. Check out this list:

Snowiest Places in the U.S.

5. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

 

With an average annual snowfall of approximately 282 inches per season, Mount Washington doesn’t get as much snow like some places in Alaska or the Western United States, but it is one of the snowiest spots in the Eastern United States. However, it isn’t just the snow that makes this mountain remarkable. Mount Washington is also one of the windiest places in the world.

On April 12, 1934, the world’s fastest wind speed of 231 miles per hour was recorded at the Mount Washington Observatory. That record stood until instruments recorded 253 MPH winds on Barrow Island, Australia in 1996. Between the fierce winds and heavy snow, the ravines around Mount Washington can develop some absolutely enormous snowdrifts — sometimes over 80 feet tall!

Be sure to read more on the Mount Washington Observatory.

4. Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, with 326.3 inches of snow per year, is the second snowiest spot in the United States. This city is caught between two weather phenomena — cold air that funnels in from Alaska’s snowfields and glaciers and moist air that comes from the Gulf of Alaska. Because of this, Valdez routinely sees massive snowstorms. In 1990, meteorologists recorded more than eight feet of snow on the ground not once but twice. Even though Valdez is one of America’s snowiest towns, it isn’t the snowiest place in the United States. Drive 30 minutes east of Valdez to Thompson Pass, and you’ll find one of the snowiest places on the planet. Thompson Pass gets 551.5 inches of snow per year and in the winter of 1952 to 1953, this region received 974 inches (just over 81 feet) of snow.

3. Alta, Utah

Even though this village has a population of fewer than 400 people, it manages to set quite a few records. At an altitude of 8,950 feet, Alta is not only the snowiest town in the United States but also one of the highest. This village — and the nearby Alta Ski Area — receives 583 inches of snow per year. That snow sticks around, too. Over the winter, the snow accumulation can reach nearly eight feet, and by May, even though things are starting to warm up, there is almost always at least five feet of snow still on the ground. The last of Alta’s snow usually melts by the Fourth of July.

2. Mount Baker, Washington

Mount Baker, Washington

The Cascades in Washington are notorious for the amount of snow that they receive each year, and Mount Baker is no exception. This mountain receives 641 inches of snow per year, which is one of the highest average annual snowfalls recorded anywhere in the world. This mountain also holds the United States record for the most snowfall measured in one winter. During the winter of 1998 to 1999, Mount Baker received an incredible 1,140 inches (95 feet) of snow.

1. Paradise Ranger Station, Mount Rainier, Washington

snowiest places

Mount Rainier National Park Service photo

When it comes to seasonal averages, Mount Rainier has the most snowfall in the United States — 671 inches, or nearly 56 feet, per year. This mountain is also part of the Washington Cascades, and it is second only to Mount Baker for the record of highest annual snowfall in the United States. During the winter of 1971 to 1972, the Paradise Ranger Station recorded 1,122 inches (93.5 feet) of snow. For so many of us, a foot or two of snow is a pretty amazing winter weather spectacle — at least until it’s time to shovel the driveway! But for the places listed above, a foot or two of snow is just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s your favorite snowy spot?

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  • Jake says:

    In Durham, NC we get 4 in per year on average. This seems like a lot more than what we actually get, and we’d be lucky to have enough snow to sled one time per year.

  • Everett says:

    Here in Waco Texas we got 0.1 incredible inches of snow today. We averaged 0 inches a year. (February 6th)

  • tom says:

    Jackson hole should be there to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Allan says:

    Flagstaff, AZ averages 103 inches per year.

  • Vandy says:

    Dan C, the most snow ever in Keweenaw Peninsula is 390 inches. Also, Lake Superior never completely freezes over and only gets close about once every 20 years.

  • Paul luehmann says:

    Correction. Michigans keeweenau peninsula averages 283 ” of snow annually not 600 to 700″ as dan c states

  • unclebuck says:

    I’m surprised more North-Eastern States didn’t make top 5 list. But that being said it looks like the high elevation areas(mountains) are on the list. The wording of the list states snowiest places in U.S. Maybe make a new list showing snowiest city areas or something like that. I`m sure the top 5 would look a lot different.

  • Dan C says:

    I’m surprised the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michgan’s UP didn’t make the list. They get 600″-700″ every year, unless Lake Superior freezes over…then it’s more like 300″-400″. Every year I lived up there, you could count on the first big storm of the season to be on Halloween night – 12″ minimum. Sucked…lol…

  • Beth says:

    I live in East Tennessee now we see some snow but not nearly as much as we got living in Akron Ohio. I like snow but then I like it to melt

  • Nea Zim says:

    they close the school here if they even smell snow, doesn’t actually have to hit the ground. 😉

  • Caroline says:

    I’m laughing at the comment about having to have at least 10 inches of snow to close schools. I live in Santa Fe, NM. They close schools when there’s a quarter or half inch on the ground. But then again, we have some of the lowest graduation rates in the country.

  • Colorado Slim says:

    Earthy and elemental, ‘Almanac at its best!

  • Michael Gatta says:

    Hello..
    Wanted to wish Marylou the very best of luck..
    Your a better man than I…
    I’m from Western Ct…and after last winter Myrtle Beach,SC sounds pretty good right about now..
    Happy Holidays to all….
    Michael Gatta..

  • MARYLOU SAKOSKY says:

    I am moving there. I miss my snow and I cannot wait for Ohio to have some .It is so beautiful and white. My pets love it too 🙂

    • Susan Higgins says:

      MaryLou: Yes, my cat even used to love bounding through the snow! It’s really great stuff. But check with me in March when we’re all tired of it (laugh)! Thanks for your comments!

  • Skipper says:

    We Americans love to brag about the darnest things!whoget the most snow,wind,rain,etc. Here in Indiana we brag about how much change we see. 60+ one day 6″ snow the next!,

  • Bill says:

    Schools around here (Scriba, NY) won’t close unless we get more than 10″ overnight!

    Upstate New York’s Tug Hill region is perennially the snowiest area east of the Rockies. Tug Hill rises from the eastern end of Lake Ontario, and cold winter winds that whip across the lake pick up moisture and dump aptly named lake effect snow, sometimes several feet per storm. While Buffalo, NY gets national attention for its lake effect snows from Lake Erie, Lake Ontario stays open all winter while Erie freezes. That gives Oswego County, NY lake effect snow well into the spring. 300″ plus during the season is not at all uncommon around here.

  • Dean says:

    Well now there seams to me them people don’t complaine about little frozen water falling or the it ain’t news worthy for the TV. I also find it hard to believe NH is one of the windest places on earth liveing in TexS and haveing been to NH.

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