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The Largest One-Day Snowfalls in New England History

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. Some storms bring more snow than others. 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).


Car buried by a snowdrift in Connecticut after the Blizzard of 2013. (AP)

Before getting into the records, this is a reminder that these are records for a 24 hour period, not for a single snowstorm total. Many snowstorms have lasted for well over 24 hours, so some of these records may be lower than what fell for the entire duration of the storm.


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.



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. There is some controversy with Vermont's record, as a powerful nor'easter in 2020 was initially reported to have eclipsed this record. A 24 hour total from that storm may have hit 44.8 inches in Peru, Vermont. Landgrove was also initially reported to have seen up to 42" during this storm, tying the record. The State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) investigated 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 we named it for the New England Snowstorm Hall of Fame, had a storm maximum of 48" in Danbury, New Hampshire. This could be called into question after the Vermont ruling, however, 48" remains the official total as listed by the National Weather Service of Gray, Maine. This total was not reviewed by the SCEC as it did not surpass the state's 24 hour record as it stands.


Coming in at number three in New England is Maine. On December 30, 1962, Orono, Maine saw 40 inches of snowfall during the Blizzard of 1962. This storm walloped Maine with multiple feet of snow. Bangor saw their second highest snowfall during this storm, with 25 inches falling. Bangor saw their snowiest winter on record that winter, with 182 inches total.


Milkman making a delivery during the 1962 blizzard in Maine. (Bangor Daily News)

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.


Cranston, Rhode Island after the Blizzard of 78. (Micheal J.B. Kelly)

Finally Massachusetts saw 29" 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. The Blizzard of '78 dropped 30-40" over the course of about 34 hours.


Boston after the April Fools Day Blizzard. (MassLive)


Outside of New England, it should come as no surprise that Alaska has the United States record, which is 78 inches. This 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". The 50 inch total is official from the SCEC, but there is a widely accepted unofficial total of 54" floating around, which the SCEC acknowledges despite keeping the 50" total as the official record. 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 those are 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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