When is it Most Likely to Snow?

With the threat of snow for much of North Carolina in the forecast, we wondered how typical was the timing of this event. We often get asked about when the first snowfall for a region typically is – a question easily answered with our Climate Thresholds tool.

For example, the most typical first day of snow (also called the median of the distribution) at RDU Airport is January 9. For Charlotte, the most typical first snow is January 16.

But we also wanted to know what was the most likely day for snow overall, not just the first snow for any given year. By looking at all dates with snow, and then finding the median of that distribution, we get the closest answer to the question “What day is it most likely to snow?” This might be particularly of value to those who are looking to “plan” for snow on any given year.

It turns out the last few days of January are the most common dates for snow to occur across the state (January 27 through January 31). So while we’re now getting close to the most likely dates to see snow, we’re still a bit early. That means, at least statistically speaking, there’s still a decent chance that we may see snow again even after this event.

Below are specific dates for a few locations in North Carolina:

CityMost Likely Snow Day (Median)First Snow Day (Median)
AshevilleJanuary 29December 5
BooneJanuary 27December 4
CharlotteJanuary 28January 16
GreensboroJanuary 27December 30
RaleighJanuary 30January 9
Elizabeth CityJanuary 31January 5
WilmingtonJanuary 31January 14