Essay

Snow in Boston: Average Annual Amount and Biggest Blizzards

Yes, Boston, Massachusetts experiences snowfall. Do you find this surprising? Most likely not. Boston is renowned for having harsh, snowy winters that frequently transform the city into a winter paradise for many days at a time. Learn more about Boston’s snowfall, from average annual totals to the city’s most significant blizzards, by continuing to read.

Average Annual Amount of Snow in Boston

Boston doesn’t receive a lot of snowfall for the majority of the year, despite popular assumption. However, snowfall on the ground and in the air from December to March is typical. In actuality, the city receives 49 inches of snow on average annually. However, depending on the weather systems that travel down the East Coast, some years are milder and others have a lot more snow. Boston has snowfall from late October to late April, with the first snowfall arriving as early as late October.

Boston Winter of 2024 (So Far)

In Boston, January is the coldest and snowiest month. Following the usual course, numerous cities in Massachusetts experienced the first recognized winter storm of 2024. The second week of January had a weather storm warning, heavy snow, and two inches of snow in Boston. But compared to Haverhill and Groveland, which experienced up to 17 inches, Boston’s meager two inches are nothing.

Winter will last until March 19, the Spring Equinox, and then begin again on December 21, 2024, for the 2024–2025 season. How much snowfall Boston will receive this year is a mystery at this point.

The Biggest Snowfalls to Affect Boston

Bad winter weather is nothing new to Boston residents. Without at least a few inches of snowfall in Boston, winter wouldn’t be the same—whether it was a blizzard, snowstorm, or snow flurries.

Winds that are at least 35 mph and linger for three hours or more are what distinguish snowstorms from blizzards. In addition to producing more snowfall more quickly, blizzards often impair vision and hasten the accumulation of snow on the ground.

However, snowstorms are frequently used to refer to any type of winter storm that involves precipitation. Snowstorms can still be dangerous even though they aren’t as intense as blizzards.

The following list highlights five of the largest blizzards to ever hit Boston.

Presidents’ Day Storm – 27.6 Inches

The 2003 Presidents Day storm—also referred to as “Snowmageddon”—was the largest snowfall to ever hit Boston. The historic blizzard tore across the period from February 17 to February 18. 40 mph wind gusts were recorded. After the storm passed, Logan Airport recorded an incredible 27.6 inches of snow. From February 14 to February 19, a system with high arctic pressure swept across much of the East Coast and portions of Canada.

The Blizzard of ‘78 – 27.1 Inches

The Blizzard of ’78 is among the most iconic blizzards in Massachusetts history. In addition to uprooting residents and leaving cars trapped on the road, the blizzard claimed 29 lives in the state alone. In less than thirty-two hours, on February 6 and 7, 1978, 27.1 inches of snow fell. With 15-foot snowdrifts covering most of the state, Boston experienced wind gusts as high as 83 miles per hour. Along an eight-mile stretch of Route 128 until the storm passed, drivers were stuck in their cars.

April Fool’s Storm – 25.4 Inches

The blizzard that occurred from March 31 to April 1, 1997, was no prank, despite being called the April Fool’s Storm. A total of 25.4 inches of heavy, wet snow fell from the sky, three inches at a time. After seeing temps in the 60s the day before, many were shocked. Winds as high as seventy miles per hour swept through the city during the nor’easter storm. Four years after it was restored, the USS Constitution was destroyed. For over a whole day, thousands of people in Boston were without electricity.

Winter Storm Nemo – 24.9 Inches

Boston experienced a record-breaking amount of snowfall due to a winter storm in February. Winter Storm Nemo dumped 24.9 inches of snow on February 8 and February 9, 2013, with 4 to 5 inches falling in an hour. The first statewide travel ban since the Blizzard of ’78 was implemented. The MBTA consequently had to temporarily suspend operations for 48 hours. The surrounding cities saw up to 34.5 inches of snow, if you thought the snowfall in Boston was bad enough.

The Blizzard of 2015 – 24.4 Inches

January 26–27, 2015 had 24.4 inches of snow fall, giving the year a wintry start. However, the 110.3 inches of snow that fell in Boston over the course of the winter season is what really makes this blizzard unforgettable. That remains the highest record for a single season as of right now. Boston experienced four storms with at least one foot of snowfall apiece that winter. Furthermore, it took until July for the snow in a 75-foot “snow farm” to melt.

Highlights of the Yearly Amount of Snow in Boston

Calendar Year Amount
2023 11.6 inches
2022 54.6 inches
2021 21.7 inches
2020 21.6 inches
2019 38.7 inches
2018 50.9 inches
2017 50.9 inches
2016 41.1 inches
2015 108.6 inches
2014 50.1 inches