RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — We’ve had an active January for winter weather, so let’s take a look at what to expect for February and March.
The reason why we stop at March is because that’s when snow chances significantly drop off. Although we have had snow reported in April and even May, it hasn’t been consistent enough to consider it a pattern or “the norm”.
As we all know, every year is different, so we truly will not know our snow chances until these months are here but what we can do is look at previous weather history.
Our snowiest month typically happens to be January where we see some of the biggest and most impactful snowstorms on record but February is no slouch as we still see significant storms throughout the month.
We’re in a “La Nina” year so that means we typically see more mild winters overall. We’ll have to see how things shake out, so let’s deep dive into February and March historically first and then take a look at La Nina years specifically to see what we can expect.
Historically speaking, in February, we average 3.5 inches compared to January where we average 4.3 inches of snow. March typically averages 2.0 inches which is less than December averaging 2.1 inches. April averages less than half an inch.
As we can see, the two snowiest months of the year are January and February. Long story short, we are not out of the woods yet. As we continue through January, we at least have another month or so until snow chances really fall off.
Once again, this is not to say we are guaranteed to see snow, but historically speaking this is the time frame where we do see snow. Also, like I mentioned above we are in a La Nina year, which is typically milder and drier. Just taking a look at last year we only picked up 7 inches of snow, which is slightly more than half of our average snowfall per year.
Let’s take a look at a few La Nina years historically here in Central VA. This previous year was a La Nina year and we picked up 7 inches of snow. 2017-2018 was also a La Nina year and we picked up our average snowfall, which is 12.4 inches. 2016-2017 we received 7.1 inches.
Last but not least we’ll mention 2011-2012 where we received 4.5 inches. As we look at La Nina years in the the early 1900’s, snowfall totals were a bit more impressive but as we get closer to more modern times, those totals started dropping more and more.
Overall, looking throughout history we can see La Nina years typically mean less snowfall at this point.
February we still have a chance of seeing snow overall so let’s look at February in halves, the first half and second half. First half of February (1st – 14th) we typically average .1″ to .2″ of snow. Max snowfall on those days (one off events) range from 2.5″ (1903 storm) to 13.3″ (1983) throughout history. The second half of February we average .1″ to .2″ as well with less significant one off snow events. Significant snow events range from 1.2″ (1993) to 8.3″ (1996). March is even less significant as most snow events happen toward the beginning of the month while the second half averages 0″ to .1″.
Overall, although January is our most active month for winter weather, February has a great chance for just as active winter weather as well. Stay on alert until we get to the second half of March then typically snow chances begin to trail off but there still is a low chance up until that point as well but April is the month where snow chances are virtually zero and the same goes for May, of course.