WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

What is the largest snowfall ever to hit the viewing area?

Posted December 13, 2008

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Noah,      For the bulk of the WRAL viewing area, including the Triangle, the winter storm of January 24-25, 2000 was the topper when it comes to snowfall. That system produced  snowfall amounts across the region that ranged between 12 and 24 inches, including an all-time record for RDU of 20.3 inches, and was part of a January that was the snowiest month on record for Raleigh, with 25.8 inches. You can see a nice summary of the storm, including an accumulation map, at http://www4.ncsu.edu/~nwsfo/storage/cases/20000125/

Although I haven't made an exhaustive search of all other possible storms, I would guess a close second to that system would be the storm of March 1-2, 1980. The axis of greatest snow accumulation for that system was over the eastern sections of our viewing area, and the Triangle ended up with 10-15 inches, while a band from about Nash County up through Northampton county along and east of the northern I-95 corridor received about 19-27 inches. The highest amounts in this storm didn't cover as much area as in the 2000 storm, but it illustrates that your perspective about the "largest" can depend on how you evaluate it, not to mention where you live! You'll see one report of 27 inches from the 1980 storm over eastern Northampton County, which is higher than anything recorded in the 2000 storm. However, Northampton is not technically a part of the "Designated Market Area" for TV-5, so I wouldn't use that number in choosing the largest event, impressive though it was. The map for that storm is also online, at http://www4.ncsu.edu/~nwsfo/storage/cases/maps/accum.19800302.gif - I was home on spring break in Rocky Mount for that storm, and we measured 19 inches in the front yard when it was over, which was probably a little short of what fell due to settling/compaction before we got out a yardstick to check it.

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  • sicks Dec 15, 6:17 p.m.

    I sure wish we could get 2 feet again. that would be great. But we're in North Carolina and nothing that good happens here.

  • Sleepy20_98 Dec 15, 3:32 p.m.

    In 2000 my wife and I woke up to almost 2 foot of snow and at the time my wife was 7 months pregnant and we were unable to leave the house because of the snow! The funny part (now) of this story is that day while she was napping I ate the last bit of chocolate in the house...needless to say it was not a pleasant experience for me when she woke up and went looking for that pack of Rolo's, LOL

  • yukonjohn3 Dec 15, 1:55 p.m.

    I remember the storm of March 1927...no, actually I remember my Grandfather telling me about it. He worked out by where Foxfire Country Club is today and he said that the snow was up to his crotch.

  • jschick Dec 15, 1:16 p.m.

    I remember these dates, HOWEVER, I also remember my Grandfather and Grandfather-in law talking about some time in the 1930's or 40's when it was 5 or 6 feet high! Can anyone find a date and measurement for this time-frame?

  • Tom Morrow Dec 15, 12:50 p.m.

    I lived in Hillsborough and it was 27 inches in 2000 for me. And that was not drifts, that was just flat out deep snow.

  • NeverSurrender Dec 15, 12:47 p.m.

    The one I really remember was the storm from 22-24 Dec 1989...we got over 15" on the ground in front of the house in Fayetteville.

  • lawpirate is still around Dec 15, 11:41 a.m.

    I remember that 2000 storm. We had some really deep drifts. It's the most snow I'd seen and I was here in 80 too.

  • drjones74 Dec 15, 10:39 a.m.

    The 2000 storm had more like 24 inches up and down the center of Wake County.

  • Beach Music Forever Dec 15, 9:14 a.m.

    1980 was by far the largest I remember in the state of North Carolina. 16-18 inches all over the eastern part of the state.

  • planter Dec 15, 8:42 a.m.

    I remember the 1980 storm. I dhave never seen it snow that hard for that length of time. It also had a lot of lightning and thunder. I heard stories that there was quite a bit of flooding on the Outer Banks due to the high winds. As I recall the satellite picture of the storm resembled a hurricane...the storm appeared to have an eye.

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