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.
Unsurprisingly one of the coldest states in the U.S. Alaska is the snowiest state, receiving about 72.8 inches annually.
New Hampshire receives an average of 59.9 inches annually, making it the second-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 the snowiest places in the United States.
New Hampshire’s neighbor, Vermont, receives more snow per year than most states with an average of 58.4 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 fourth-snowiest state in the United States. On average, Maine receives about 57.6 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.
The sixth-snowiest state in the U.S. is the fourth New England state on the list. Massachusetts receives an average of 44.3 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.
Michigan is a victim of lake effect snow. The state as a whole receives 43.5 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.
Unsurprisingly, another New England state makes the list of snowiest states in the U.S. With about 38.7 inches annually, Connecticut is the eighth-snowiest state in the country.
The ninth-snowiest state is Minnesota. Well-known for its cold, snowy winters, Minnesota receives about 37.8 inches of snow annually.
Colorado receives the tenth-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 feet 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.