Virginia Snowstorms: Historic Snowfalls

Snowfall is a rare routine in Virginia, but it does happen at least once every year or two. Ever wonder about the snowstorms that have happened in the past and what impact they may have had? It just had to snow!

Knickerbocker Snowstorm

  • Recorded on January 27 – 28, 1922
  • This is the largest recorded snowfall in Charlottesville history. The accumulation reached a depth of 25 inches.
  • The weight of the snow accumulated so fast that it collapsed the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington, killing 98 and injuring 133

Great Blizzard of 1888

  • Recorded March 1888
  • The snowfall froze thousands of animals to death.
  • Off the Atlantic coast, this marks as one of the worst snowstorms in American history. The storm was so impactful in 1969, survivors decided to memorialize the storm’s anniversary.
  • Virginia got at least 23 inches of snow.

“Storm of the century” of the 1990’s

  • Recorded January 7-8, 1996
  • Accumulations averaged 24 to 27 inches in Sussex county. Roanoke got a record breaking 23 inches.
  • People were trapped in their houses and at least eight weather-related deaths occurred.
  • The snowfalls historic significance was because of the artic high winds. It caused white out conditions up to 0 feet in Patrick county.

Winter Storm of 2009 – The Snowpocalypse

  • Recorded December 18 – 19, 2009
  • This snowfall produced a large area of heavy snow with 12-24 inches of snow across Virginia. A state of emergency was declared in Virginia.
  • This snowfall took many creative actions for VDOT to fight the storm. It created a pot hole blitz, the governor declared it a number 1 priority to filling potholes. In March 2010, 55,000+ potholes were filled.

Snow in March? Late Winter Coastal Storm

  • Recorded on March 6 -7, 2013
  • Most of southwest Virginia including Roanoke and New River Valleys were hit with a snowstorm that reached a depth of 15-18 inches of snow.
  • Although people have been known to make of schools closing after a drop of snow, safety is of utmost importance. This marked the third-time classes were cancelled for inclement weather that academic year. It enforced the rescheduling of many midterms.

 

According to newspaper records, here are the top 10 largest storms recorded in Virginia.

  1. Jan. 27-28, 1922 — 24.0 inches
  2. Jan. 7-8, 1996 — 21.0 inches
  3. Dec. 19-20, 2009 — 20.5 inches
  4. Feb. 13, 1899 — 18.0 inches
  5. Mar. 6-7, 2013 — 16.5 inches
  6. Feb. 13-15, 2014 — 15.9 inches
  7. Feb. 5-6, 2010 — 14.7 inches
  8. Dec. 12-13, 1989 — 14.5 inches
  9. Feb. 2-3, 1996 — 14.0 inches
  10. Jan. 22-23, 1987 — 13.0 inches

 

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