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Weather IQ: When it snows in Charlotte

Charlotte's average snow continues to decline decade to decade. Here is a look at when it snows the most in Charlotte and some other Charlotte snow stats.


Recent snow and snow statistics

Over the last two years, Charlotte has seen less than an inch of snow total. Charlotte has received only 0.6" of snow total across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 snow seasons. 

There has never been a year dating back to 1878 that Charlotte saw zero snow. But 17 years on record only had a trace of snow. 

The earliest it has ever snowed in Charlotte was Halloween back in 1887 and 2014. The latest was April 28, 1928. Both the earliest and latest snowfalls were only a trace of snow.

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The average snow season

But how much snow typically falls per snow season? Over the years, this number has declined substantially.

Over the past 143 years, the average is 5.5" per season. Over the last 30 years, the average is 3.5" and over the last decade, the average is only 2.6" per season.

Credit: WCNC

Also, La Niña years typically see less snow than other snow seasons and the period between the ENSO cycles (La Niña and El Niño) has averaged the most snowfall.

More Charlotte snow stats

A snow season is defined from the first to last time it snows in a season in which 98% of the yearly snowfall comes from December through March in the western portion of the Carolinas.

Breaking down the total snow share by month, January and February pack over 60% of the yearly snow. 

Credit: WCNC

But the snowiest month on record actually occurred in March back in 1960 when 19.3" of snow fell. 

This record month was a part of the snowiest season. The 1959-1960 snow season saw the most ever: Totaling 22.6" of snow.

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The snowiest day is also in March. It has snowed on March 2 more than any other day, snowing 16 times in Charlotte history.

The most snowfall to fall in one day was 14 inches set back on Feb. 15, 1902. This was all a part of the biggest Charlotte snowstorm in history that dumped over 17 inches total. (17.4" to be precise)

Credit: WCNC

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This snow season

It only takes one big snowstorm to be the outlier and bust a snowfall forecast. We are in a La Niña cycle, which typically means that our snowfall will more than likely be below normal. Over the last eight La Niña snow seasons, six of those eight had a below-average snowfall (based on the 30-year average). 

Credit: WCNC

For more on this year's winter forecast, check the video below.

Contact Chris Mulcahy at cmulcahy@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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