As we approach the winter months, the question on many minds is, “when will it snow?”
Exact-day predictions for forecasts that are months out aren’t as reliable, but we can look at past data to pinpoint a month and there may be a day historically that is a typical “first-snow” day. That doesn’t mean it always snows on that day or that it’ll definitely snow on that day this year or any following year.
Let’s take a glance at what history tells us.
We’ll be using Richmond as a primary point for data. Historically in Richmond, we can see snow as early as November — specifically looking at data from 2000-2021.
Typically, it may only range from a trace of snow to less than an inch. Most years, in November, we do not see snow.
December is when we officially begin winter (Meteorological Winter December 1st with official Winter on December 21st). It only makes sense that we tend to see more snowfall events in December than in November.
With our same data point from 2000-2021, there were 13 times where snow had been recorded out of that 21-year span. More than half of the time, we see our first snow in December.
Looking at the next two snowiest months for this area, which are January and February, we have seen snow every year in January from 2000-2021.
Looking at February, there were only two times where we didn’t see snow from 2000-2021.
In March, we still have a chance of seeing snow, but four times out of that same time frame we did not see snow.
By April, chances of seeing snow are slim to none. Here’s a look at the least snowy years on record below.
Now that we’ve pinpointed our months being December and January as the first months to see snow in Richmond, let’s look more specifically at days and we’ll start with December.
Most days in December have recorded at least a trace to a tenth of an inch of snow throughout recorded history.
The snowiest days in December happen to be the 12th, 15th and 25th. December 12th happens to be the snowiest out of the three with an average of two-tenths of an inch and on this day in 1917 we picked up 9.4″.
With all of this taken into consideration, we can assume that December is a good bet to see our first snow of the year — but if not, January is a sure bet.
The most snowy years on record are below.