Snow forms when the atmospheric temperature is at or below freezing (0ºC or 32ºF), and there is a minimum amount of moisture in the air. If the ground temperature is at or below freezing, then the snow will reach the ground. Atmospheric life is a vital process in snow production. Atmospheric lift is when warm air collides with cold air and is forced to rise over the frigid air mass. The boundary between these two air masses is called a front.
You have probably heard of the term lake effect snow. The lake effect is the reason why the states surrounding the great lakes experience heavy snowfalls. Frigid air blowing over a large, warmer body of water causes a massive snowstorm thanks to the lake’s moisture. Because moisture is a major factor in snow production, the coldest U.S. states do not always receive the most snowfall. Depending on the moisture levels present, some areas of states get more snowfall than other locations in the same state.
Snow can be both a blessing and a curse. Many people dream of a white Christmas. Winter sports enthusiasts hope for consistent, quality snowfall for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities. Heavy snowstorms can cancel school and allow people to stay home from work. However, snow can also make driving dangerous, cause power outages and fallen trees, cancel flights, and cause icy conditions.
Vermont receives more snow per year than any other state with an average of 89.25 inches. Vermont sees about 54 days of snow annually. In the 2018-2019 winter season, the state had 201 inches of snowfall.
Maine is the third-coldest state and the second-snowiest state in the United States. On average, Maine receives about 77.28 inches of snow and 28 days of snowfall. Caribou, the northernmost city in the contiguous United States, recently recorded 157 consecutive days of at least one inch of snowfall.
Vermont’s neighbor New Hampshire receives an average of 71.44 inches annually, making it the third-snowiest U.S. state. The highest mountain peak in New Hampshire, Mt. Washington, receives around 23 feet of snowfall every year, making it one of snowiest places in the United States.
Colorado receives the fourth-highest amount of snowfall annually in the country, which is good considering the state is known for its skiing. The state as a whole receives about 67 inches of snow annually, but this varies significantly across the state. Denver receives about 57 inches annually, while the mountains can get between 150 to over 400 inches of snow.
Unsurprisingly one of the coldest states in the U.S. Alaska is the fifth-snowiest state, receiving about 64.46 inches annually. Alaska sees about 48 days of at least 0.1 inches of snowfall every year.
Michigan is a victim of lake effect snow. The state as a whole receives 60.66 inches of snow on average per year. The eastern shore of Lake Michigan in the Lower Peninsula gets more snow annually than any other area of the state.
7. New York
New York receives an average of 55.32 inches of snow every year. Like Michigan, New York frequently receives lake effect snowfall, especially in cities such as Rochester and Buffalo. During the 2018-2019 winter season, Rochester received 97 inches of snow, and Buffalo saw over 100 inches.
The eighth-snowiest state in the U.S. is the fourth New England state on the list. Massachusetts receives an average of 51.05 inches of snow annually, averaging five snow events each winter month. The northeastern and central areas of Massachusetts get hit the hardest by snow each year.
Wyoming residents see about 51.00 of snow annually. Wyoming’s mountains see more snow than other areas, receiving our 200 inches of snow per year. Wyoming gets more than 36 days of snowfall every year.
Wisconsin is the tenth-snowiest state in the country, and another victim of lake effect snow. Wisconsin sees an average of 45.79 inches of snow per year. Iron County and Vilas County, located close to Lake Superior, receive 100 to 125 inches of snow per year, more than double the state average.