WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

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

Posted December 13, 2008 12:24 p.m. EST

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.