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The Biggest One Day Snowfalls in New England

The blizzard of 78. The April Fools' Day blizzard. The blizzard of 2013. The Great White Hurricane. These are just a few examples of the many infamous winter storms that have struck New England. This region has dealt with blow after vicious blow from winter's rage. Whether you're a snow lover or a snow hater around here, there's no denying that winter gets pretty harsh in these six small states tucked in the corner of the northeast.

I will say that even if you consider yourself a hater of the winter and the snow and you just live here for the beautiful summers and falls, you have to admit that blizzards are impressive. The swirling snow, tiny particles blowing in every which direction, the drifts that can swallow cars up to their mirrors and, of course, the bone chilling wind. Some storms bring more snow than others, as we know. A lot more. Here are the single day snowfall records for each of the six New England states (and some interesting facts about other state's records).

Before getting into the records, this is a reminder that these are records for a 24 hour period, not for a single snowstorm total. As all of us know, snowstorms can drag on and on, well beyond a 24 hour period. For a list of single snowstorm totals, see the "New England Snow" section of this site.

The highest record for New England belongs to New Hampshire, which comes as no surprise. With the region's highest point, Mt. Washington, experiencing extreme weather almost daily in the winter. The record is 49.3 inches, which fell on February 25, 1969. This occurred during the "100 hour storm" which is widely believed to be the longest duration snowstorm in the region's history. This total is not on the New England Snow List since it occurred on a mountain top, which is why the 100 Hour Storm total is listed at 32" there.

The next highest record in New England goes to Vermont, which saw 42 inches on February 5, 1995. This occurred at the Jay Peak Ski Resort. Like New Hampshire, this is not on the New England Snow List since it occurred on a mountain. There is some controversy with this one, however, as the "Great Nor'Easter of 2020" may have eclipsed this record. A 24 hour total from that storm may have hit 45 inches in Peru, VT with Landgrove seeing a potential 42". The State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) reviewed this total and came to this conclusion:

"The SCEC found that observational practices associated with the measurements reduced confidence in these values. The SCEC determined by two separate 5-0 votes that the existing Jay Peak record be upheld."

The Great Nor'Easter of 2020, as I dubbed it, did drop a whopping 48 inches in Danbury, New Hampshire. Of course, that was not able to break the record 49.3 inch total atop Mt. Washington for the state.

Coming in at number three in New England is Maine. On December 30, 1962, Orono, Maine saw 40 inches of snowfall. There is not a whole to say about this event, except for the fact that Mainers are especially used to digging out of huge snowfalls.

Moving into southern New England, Connecticut is next up on the list, with 36 inches falling in a 24 hour period that occurred overnight from February 8-9, 2013. This total was measured near Ansonia during the Blizzard of 2013. This was among the most impactful blizzards of recent times and dropped a total of 40 inches for the entire duration of the storm.

The next state with the highest amount in New England is Rhode Island, with 30 inches falling during the Blizzard of 78. This amount was recorded at Woonsocket. The Blizzard of 78 is, without question, the most impactful blizzard in Rhode Island's modern history.

Finally, we have Massachusetts, which saw 29 inches in one day on April 1, 1997. This was, of course, during the unforgettable April Fools' Day Blizzard that turned eastern Massachusetts from spring right back to the dead of winter. The 29 inches was recorded in Natick.

Outside of New England, it should come as no surprise that Alaska has the United States record, which is 78 inches. The occurred on February 9, 1963. Also no surprise is the lowest record, which is 4 inches, recorded in Florida on March 6, 1954. The record highest in the continental United States is 75.8 inches, recorded in Colorado.

The record for the northeastern United States belongs to New York, which gets hammered by lake effect events every winter. Their record is either 50 or 54 inches. The 50 is official from the SCEC, but there is a widely accepted unofficial total of 54 floating around. Of course, the worst lake effect events dump much more than that in the state, but those events often stretch out over multiple days.

So there it is, the highest totals across New England and beyond. There will always be disputes and disagreements about these totals, as measuring snow is an inexact science. This is especially true about blizzards, which can create drifts much higher than the amount that actually fell during the storm. Despite that, record keepers and backyard measure-ers alike do their best to document these impressive weather events.




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