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What winter was like the year you were born

What winter was like the year you were born
1/Canva

What winter was like the year you were born

The United States has seen a wide range of winters over the past century—everything from warm, mild years where folks could stroll leisurely through parks in February, to turbulent, frigid seasons where people had to hunker down inside. There were years where blizzards swept in unannounced, covering huge swaths of the country in blankets of snow while other years storms have raged, bringing hurricane-force winds to cities and towns across the nation.

The Midwest region is particularly susceptible to cold winters, especially in states like Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Michigan. In these places, residents lie in the path of both the low-pressure systems that originate in Alberta and travel southward (sometimes called “Canadian clippers”) and the shortwave low-pressure systems that come from the southwest, traveling northeast toward the Great Lakes region (also called “Panhandle hooks”). Additionally, some winters, particularly in recent years, see the polar vortex in the north sending giant masses of freezing Arctic air southward. These often settle over the Midwest, causing jarring drops in temperature.

The Midwest isn’t the only place in America that’s vulnerable to blustery, bitter-cold winters, however. New England experiences a large number of hurricane-level storms and cyclones, mainly from nor’easters that form in Canada and travel south. The Rocky Mountains are prone to extreme temperature lows as well as heavy blizzards, especially in states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana (the latter of which can reach temperatures of 50 degrees below zero in the thick of winter). Alaska is another place that sees freezing, storm-filled winters that often break records for lowest temperatures and heaviest snowfalls. And the western states often get hit with torrential rainstorms that cause widespread flooding and damage. In contrast, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas enjoy some of the mildest winters in the U.S.

To give you an idea of how these winters have played out over time, Stacker put together a slideshow featuring information and statistics for each year of the past century, beginning in 1920. In addition to average highs and lows, we’ve included major weather events like storms, blizzards, or other occurrences that captured headlines those years. Much of the data was compiled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA) in July 2019. The average, maximum, and minimum temperatures and average precipitation data for each year were gathered from the Climate at a Glance: National Time Series. This data describes winters (designated by NOAA as December of the preceding year through February of the current year) in the contiguous U.S. The record one-day snowfall data were gathered from Snowfall Extremes.

Take a look at the slides see what winter was like the year you were born.

You may also like: States with the most hailstorms

1920: North Dakota blizzard
2/North Dakota State Government

1920: North Dakota blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 30.57° F (#10 coldest year; 6.6% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.85° F (#11 coldest year; 5.5% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.28° F (#13 coldest year; 8.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.63 in. (#7 coldest year; 17% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Jackson County, SD on Jan. 5 (48 in.)

The winter of 1920 was a particularly cold season—the seventh-coldest on record—however, it was North Dakota that felt it the most. The Peace Garden state suffered a devastating March blizzard that killed 34 people and took down telephone service between Devils Lake and Fargo.

1921: The Great Olympic Blowdown
3/Forest Health Protection // Flickr

1921: The Great Olympic Blowdown

- Average winter temperature: 34.8° F (#16 hottest year; 6.3% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.16° F (#16 hottest year; 4.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.42° F (#16 hottest year; 9.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.63 in. (#46 coldest year; 2.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Boulder County, CO on April 15 (76 in.)

In contrast to the previous season, the winter of 1921 was an abnormally warm year with an average temperature of 34.8 degrees throughout the United States. The Library of Congress even has a photograph of people swimming in the ocean in Miami Beach on Jan. 2. Still, the Pacific Northwest experienced a brief but powerful storm in January, known as the Great Olympic Blowdown, that resulted in thousands of dollars in damage in the towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam.

1922: The Knickerbocker Storm
4/Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

1922: The Knickerbocker Storm

- Average winter temperature: 31.28° F (#24 coldest year; 4.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.84° F (#23 coldest year; 3.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.73° F (#19 coldest year; 6.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.71 in. (#48 hottest year; 1.1% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Los Angeles County, CA on Feb. 24 (40 in.)

In January of 1922, a fierce blizzard tore through the Mid-Atlantic section of the United States, crumbling the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington D.C. and causing other damage. The weather event, which came to be known as the Knickerbocker Storm, resulted in the deaths of 98 people and 133 additional injuries.

1923: Major snowfall in Sault Ste. Marie
5/Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Archive

1923: Major snowfall in Sault Ste. Marie

- Average winter temperature: 32.57° F (#47 coldest year; 0.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.16° F (#46 coldest year; 0.1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.99° F (#50 coldest year; 1.2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.97 in. (#37 hottest year; 2.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Sanders County, MT on Dec. 9 (29 in.)

The winter of 1923 was a brutal year for folks in the Midwest, where temperatures were especially low and snowfall was intense. In Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., where snowfall typically averaged around 70 inches, they received a staggering 105 inches. By April, the city had amassed more than 9 feet of snow, and residents reportedly had to use horses to clear the streets.

1924: Blizzard in Milwaukee, WI
6/Sheldon, Charles // Shorewood Historical Society

1924: Blizzard in Milwaukee, WI

- Average winter temperature: 32.48° F (#43 coldest year; 0.8% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.16° F (#46 coldest year; 0.1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.81° F (#44 coldest year; 2.1% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.66 in. (#47 coldest year; 1.8% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Kenai Peninsula Borough, AK on Dec. 13 (36 in.)

As the 1924 Winter Olympics was wrapping up in Chamonix, France, residents of Milwaukee, Wis., experienced their own winter storm on Feb. 4 when 20.3 inches of snow fell in 24 hours. The intense weather event, which caused more than $1 million in damage, marked the largest volume of snow in a one-day period in Milwaukee since 1884.

1925: Alaska’s Great Race of Mercy
7/Brown Brothers // Wikimedia Commons

1925: Alaska’s Great Race of Mercy

- Average winter temperature: 31.66° F (#29 coldest year; 3.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.49° F (#35 coldest year; 1.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.83° F (#22 coldest year; 6.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.69 in. (#49 coldest year; 1.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Johnson County, WY on March 21 (49 in.)

In 1925, the remote town of Nome, Alaska, suffered its worst winter in 20 years. With intense blizzards and sub-zero temperatures raging, an outbreak of diphtheria required emergency vaccine supplies to be delivered via dog sled to the isolated town. The event came to be known as the Great Race of Mercy, and its lead sled dog Balto became a hero memorialized as a statue in New York's Central Park.

1926: Utah mining town avalanche
8/Shipler, Harry // Wikimedia Commons

1926: Utah mining town avalanche

- Average winter temperature: 33.49° F (#32 hottest year; 2.3% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.77° F (#38 hottest year; 1.3% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.23° F (#31 hottest year; 4.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.07 in. (#21 coldest year; 10.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Banner County, NE on Dec. 14 (30 in.)

On Feb. 17, 1926, a devastating avalanche killed 36 people and injured 13 more in a small Utah mining town in Bingham County when more than a dozen cottages and a three-story boarding house were destroyed. “Because the canyon was so narrow, Bingham only had one street,” writes Catherine Armstrong for Only In Your State. “Homes lined the street all the way up the canyon for seven miles. Unfortunately, this narrow topography would prove to be deadly.”

1927: Record snowfall in Raleigh, NC
9/Alin Brotea // Shutterstock

1927: Record snowfall in Raleigh, NC

- Average winter temperature: 33.59° F (#29 hottest year; 2.6% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.68° F (#41 hottest year; 1.1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.52° F (#25 hottest year; 5.6% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.16 in. (#29 hottest year; 5.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Tucker County, WV on Feb. 10 (36 in.)

Although the winter of 1927 was fairly mild throughout the United States, the people of Raleigh, N.C., experienced an extremely intense winter with record-breaking snowfall. On March 2, the city received 17.8 inches of snow in 24 hours—a record that wasn’t broken for more than seven decades until it received 17.9 inches in January of 2000.

1928: A mild winter everywhere
10/Pixabay

1928: A mild winter everywhere

- Average winter temperature: 31.51° F (#28 coldest year; 3.7% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.25° F (#30 coldest year; 2.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.77° F (#20 coldest year; 6.7% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.8 in. (#13 coldest year; 14.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Custer County, ID on Nov. 30 (42 in.)

The winter of 1928 was a season of respite, and folks in blizzard-prone regions were spared major storms and catastrophes. The average temperature for most of the country was above average and even the Atlantic hurricane season that preceded it was mild with no major storms striking U.S. land. This was a major contrast to the previous season, which saw four hurricanes.

1929: Extreme cold in the U.S—and Europe
11/Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

1929: Extreme cold in the U.S—and Europe

- Average winter temperature: 28.72° F (#3 coldest year; 12.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 39.46° F (#4 coldest year; 8.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 17.99° F (#3 coldest year; 19.2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.12 in. (#24 coldest year; 9.8% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Routt County, CO on March 2 (30 in.)

After two fairly mild winters in a row, 1929 came in with a vengeance, hammering the United States with the third-coldest winter in the last century. It was even worse across the pond, where Europe experienced one of its coldest winters in history. Berlin, for example, was hit with the worst ice wave since 1719, and Vienna saw its lowest temperatures since 1775. As the cities dealt with ice-cold conditions, Europe's 1,770-mile Danube River froze over completely.

1930: Another moderate season
12/Grand Canyon National Park // Wikimedia Commons

1930: Another moderate season

- Average winter temperature: 32.53° F (#46 coldest year; 0.6% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.37° F (#49 hottest year; 0.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.69° F (#42 coldest year; 2.6% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.53 in. (#40 coldest year; 3.7% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Marquette County, MI on Oct. 23 (27 in.)

The winter of 1930 was a big year for innovation: The diesel engine made its first auto voyage, and the first field-effect transistor patent was granted. The season was fairly uneventful weather-wise, though. Temperatures were mild, with an average of 32.5 degrees and no major storms or blizzards to note.

1931: Pleasant Hill Bus Tragedy
13/Ed Bierman // Wikimedia Commons

1931: Pleasant Hill Bus Tragedy

- Average winter temperature: 34.03° F (#23 hottest year; 3.9% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.38° F (#23 hottest year; 2.7% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.68° F (#23 hottest year; 6.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 4.68 in. (#2 coldest year; 31% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Aleutians West Census Area, AK on Feb. 28 (30 in.)

Average precipitation made the winter of 1931 the second-coldest in the past century. In southeastern Colorado, an especially fierce March blizzard stranded a school bus in freezing temperatures for 33 hours, claiming the lives of five children along with the driver. The tragedy received national attention and led to many safety reforms and a great deal of school bus legislation that’s still in place today.

1932: Snowfall in Los Angeles
14/Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

1932: Snowfall in Los Angeles

- Average winter temperature: 34.44° F (#19 hottest year; 5.2% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.31° F (#26 hottest year; 2.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.57° F (#14 hottest year; 10.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.86 in. (#3 hottest year; 30.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Conejos County, CO on Nov. 22 (40 in.)

While Los Angeles is usually sunny and warm, the winter of 1932 brought a unique snowstorm to Hollywood, covering the region in a blanket of white snow. At the time, the LA Times called it the “first official snowfall recorded in the United States Weather Bureau’s fifty-four year existence in the city.” It was only 2 inches, yet it remains the largest amount of snow the city has ever seen. Elsewhere in the country, temperatures were moderate with no major blizzards.

1933: Long Beach earthquake
15/W.L.Huber // Wikimedia Commons

1933: Long Beach earthquake

- Average winter temperature: 31.1° F (#19 coldest year; 5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.94° F (#24 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.28° F (#13 coldest year; 8.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.11 in. (#35 hottest year; 4.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Tulare County, CA on Jan. 19 (60 in.)

Although there weren’t any significant blizzards in 1933, the Long Beach earthquake struck Los Angeles County that winter, resulting in the second-deadliest on record in the contiguous states (after San Francisco’s 1906 quake). The devastating 6.4 magnitude event, which occurred on March 10, resulted in an estimated 115 to 120 deaths and caused roughly $40 million in damage.

1934: South Dakota’s first Dust Bowl storm
16/United States Department of Agriculture // Wikimedia Commons

1934: South Dakota’s first Dust Bowl storm

- Average winter temperature: 35.28° F (#13 hottest year; 7.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.43° F (#7 hottest year; 7.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.14° F (#20 hottest year; 8.4% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.13 in. (#25 coldest year; 9.6% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Sublette County, WY on May 7 (36.5 in.)

The winter of 1934 was another year that spared the United States any major blizzards; however, South Dakota suffered an intense dust storm leading up to it on Nov. 11. The giant cloud that swept through the Midwestern state was the first to kick off the Dust Bowl, which lasted several years as drought plagued the region.

1935: Times Square blizzard
17/Lass // Wikimedia Commons

1935: Times Square blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 33.4° F (#34 hottest year; 2% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.87° F (#33 hottest year; 1.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.92° F (#37 hottest year; 2.9% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.02 in. (#20 coldest year; 11.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Clearwater County, ID on Nov. 27 (30.5 in.)

In 1935, a blizzard struck New York City, burying Times Square under nearly a foot-and-a-half of snow. As the Big Apple dealt with its extreme weather situation, places like Baltimore, Newark, and Philadelphia also got pummeled, receiving between 10 and 16 inches of snow.

1936: North American Cold Wave
18/Seattle Municipal Archives // Flickr

1936: North American Cold Wave

- Average winter temperature: 27.78° F (#2 coldest year; 15.1% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 38.01° F (#2 coldest year; 12% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 17.53° F (#2 coldest year; 21.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.27 in. (#26 hottest year; 7.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Okanogan County, WA on Jan. 21 (52 in.)

Known as the 1936 North American Cold Wave, this year saw strikingly low temperatures throughout the country—the second-coldest in the past century. The Midwest was affected most as Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota experienced their coldest winters on record. February was especially brutal, marking the coldest February on record in the contiguous United States.

1937: Snowstorms in Oregon
19/Beaverton Oregon Historical Photo Gallery // Wikimedia Commons

1937: Snowstorms in Oregon

- Average winter temperature: 30.35° F (#7 coldest year; 7.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.59° F (#8 coldest year; 6.1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.09° F (#9 coldest year; 9.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.66 in. (#4 hottest year; 27.7% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Tehama County, CA on Feb. 4 (39 in.)

Although it’s typically a fairly mild state weather-wise, Oregon received a huge amount of snow over the winter of 1937. Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, a heavy blizzard dumped nearly 17 inches in Portland and 2 feet in Salem—a number that remains the latter’s record snowfall. Meanwhile, as the cities dug themselves out, giant snow drifts blocked highways throughout the Cascade Range.

1938: Michigan’s great snowstorm
20/Bill Brinkman // NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

1938: Michigan’s great snowstorm

- Average winter temperature: 33.61° F (#28 hottest year; 2.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.43° F (#47 hottest year; 0.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.79° F (#22 hottest year; 6.8% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.95 in. (#40 hottest year; 2.5% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Archuleta County, CO on Feb. 17 (39 in.)

Michigan was the recipient of nature’s frigid fury in 1938, when the Upper Peninsula region was pounded with 50 mile-per-hour winds during a storm NPR called “surreal.” The blizzard trapped students in schools, stalled trains, and caused several fires. Damages in the city of Marquette—the epicenter of the vicious weather—amounted to what would be about $6.5 million today.

1939: Washoe County snowfall record
21/State Archives of North Carolina Raleigh, NC // Flickr

1939: Washoe County snowfall record

- Average winter temperature: 32.7° F (#49 coldest year; 0.1% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.39° F (#48 hottest year; 0.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.02° F (#49 hottest year; 1.1% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.13 in. (#31 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Washoe County, NV on Feb. 11 (41 in.)

Although plenty of storms blew through in 1938, the following year was fairly mild with moderate temperatures and semi-average precipitation. The people of Washoe County in Nevada, however, saw record one-day snowfall on Feb. 11 when the region was pummeled with 41 inches—almost 3.5 feet.

1940: Armistice Day Blizzard
22/National Weather Service

1940: Armistice Day Blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 31.8° F (#33 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.94° F (#24 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.65° F (#41 coldest year; 2.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.79 in. (#47 hottest year; 0.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Oxford County, ME on March 13 (38 in.)

The Armistice Day blizzard was a disastrous, far-reaching storm that pelted the Midwest with snow and 50-mile-per-hour winds from Nov. 10 to 12, 1940. The blizzard caused 145 fatalities, many of which came from a large group of duck hunters who became stranded on the Mississippi River as 5-foot waves washed out their encampments. Some froze while others drowned. One notable survivor was Gerald Tarras, a Minneapolis boy who huddled between two labrador retrievers. His father, brother, and uncle froze to death, but the dogs’ body heat from is credited with the child’s survival.

1941: Ides of March blizzard
23/ildirettore // Wikimedia Commons

1941: Ides of March blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 33.93° F (#25 hottest year; 3.6% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.62° F (#44 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.24° F (#17 hottest year; 8.9% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.69 in. (#49 coldest year; 1.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Colfax County, NM on Nov. 24 (36 in.)

On Mar. 15, 1941, a brutal storm tore through the Red River Valley along the Minnesota-North Dakota border, killing 72 people. A large number of folks who perished in what came to be known as the Ides of March blizzard were stranded motorists. “It slammed into the valley virtually out of nowhere with the force of a tornado or a hurricane, and turned what had been a bright, sunny, warm springlike day into a raging nightmare,” wrote Kevin Bonham for Inforum.

1942: Midwestern New Year’s blizzard
24/Ross Dun // Flickr

1942: Midwestern New Year’s blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 32.23° F (#41 coldest year; 1.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.49° F (#35 coldest year; 1.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.95° F (#46 coldest year; 1.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.39 in. (#34 coldest year; 5.8% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Lake County, MN on Jan. 7 (36 in.)

The Midwest was once again the subject of winter’s wrath in 1942 when a blizzard swept across the region, burying it beneath 2 feet of snow in some places. The storm, which occurred on New Year’s Day, kicked off a cold spell that plunged temperatures into single digits. Ames, Iowa, hit a frigid 24 degrees below zero. A photographer who became stranded in the blizzard turned his experience into a two-page magazine spread.

1943: Northern Rockies storm in January
25/Seattle Municipal Archives // Flickr

1943: Northern Rockies storm in January

- Average winter temperature: 32.89° F (#49 hottest year; 0.5% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.04° F (#31 hottest year; 1.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.74° F (#43 coldest year; 2.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.48 in. (#37 coldest year; 4.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Washington County, MD on March 29 (31 in.)

From Jan. 18 to 25, 1943, a dangerous Category 5 storm spread across the Northern Rockies and Plains, affecting residents in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Apart from this major storm, that winter was fairly mild, with an average temperature of about 33 degrees.

1944: California storm inspires a famous photo
26/redeyexxx // Flickr

1944: California storm inspires a famous photo

- Average winter temperature: 33.04° F (#45 hottest year; 0.9% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.64° F (#43 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.44° F (#43 hottest year; 0.8% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.28 in. (#30 coldest year; 7.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Chelan County, WA on Jan. 20 (44 in.)

It was a relatively warm year in 1944; however, the aftermath of a light snowstorm in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains inspired one of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ better-known images: “Clearing Winter Storm.” As the name suggests, the photograph depicts snowfall and swirling clouds as a storm clears in Yosemite National Park.

1945: Great Midwestern snowstorm
27/Pixabay

1945: Great Midwestern snowstorm

- Average winter temperature: 32.15° F (#39 coldest year; 1.8% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.32° F (#32 coldest year; 2.1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.97° F (#48 coldest year; 1.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.61 in. (#44 coldest year; 2.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Wasatch County, UT on Feb. 15 (28 in.)

Although 1945 wasn’t a cold winter overall, a December blizzard early in the season created havoc in the Midwest, killing 25 people and dumping snow onto a large swath of the U.S. and southeastern Canada. “Airports were clogged, flights were cancelled, and cars were stranded while inch after inch of snow blanketed the entire United States,” wrote Jessica Hilburn for Titusville’s NWPA Stories.

1946: Moderately warm temperatures nationwide
28/Mennonite Church USA Archives // Flickr

1946: Moderately warm temperatures nationwide

- Average winter temperature: 31.78° F (#32 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.68° F (#39 coldest year; 1.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.89° F (#23 coldest year; 6.2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.3 in. (#25 hottest year; 7.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Mariposa County, CA on March 30 (36 in.)

The winter of 1946 was a moderate year with temperatures that were warmer than average, particularly in Kansas, Nebraska, and Montana which had enjoyed the warmest January to March period on record up to that time. “ Temperatures during 1946 averaged higher than usual over practically the entire country, with the exception of California and Oregon,” wrote Robert N. Culnan for the Monthly Weather Review.

1947: Colorado blizzard
29/sergios // Shutterstock

1947: Colorado blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 33.12° F (#41 hottest year; 1.2% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.07° F (#30 hottest year; 2.0% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.17° F (#47 hottest year; 0.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.4 in. (#5 coldest year; 20.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Huerfano County, CO on Nov. 4 (48 in.)

During the 1947 winter season, temperatures were average throughout most of the country and precipitation was lighter than normal. In the months leading up to the winter, Colorado’s Eastern Plains experienced one of the biggest blizzards in the state’s history. On Nov. 2, 1946, a storm swept the state. Denver reported 30.4 inches—about 2.5 feet—while other parts of the state received up to 3 feet of snow.

1948: North American blizzard of 1947
30/National Archives and Records Administration // Wikimedia Commons

1948: North American blizzard of 1947

- Average winter temperature: 30.81° F (#15 coldest year; 5.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.47° F (#17 coldest year; 4.0% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.14° F (#10 coldest year; 9.6% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.51 in. (#39 coldest year; 4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Bergen County, NJ on Dec. 26 (29.1 in.)

This historic storm has come to be known as the “North American blizzard of 1947” because it began in late December of that year; however, it occurred at the beginning of the 1948 winter season. During the sensational weather event, record-breaking snowfall blanketed most of the country, though most states were spared heavy winds. The snowfall began on Christmas Day and continued through Dec. 26, during which time New York’s Central Park received more than 2 feet of snow.

1949: Nebraska’s great blizzard
31/National Weather Service

1949: Nebraska’s great blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 30.14° F (#6 coldest year; 7.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.47° F (#6 coldest year; 6.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 19.81° F (#8 coldest year; 11% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.15 in. (#10 hottest year; 20.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Colusa County, CA on Dec. 27 (26 in.)

It was Nebraska that fell victim to some of the country’s more intense weather during the winter of 1949—one of the worst on record for the Cornhusker State. On Nov. 18, heavy winds whipped through the Great Plains, pounding the entire region with snow and sleet. Writing for the Ganzel Group, Claudia Reinhardt and Bill Ganzel described the storm as such: “Roads were blocked, schools closed, snow drifted over rooftops and livestock were stranded. Travelers filled hotels to overflowing. Trains were stuck, and telephone service was disrupted. The Weather Bureau called the storm ‘one of the most severe blizzards on record.’”

1950: Arctic storms in the Pacific Northwest
32/Seney Natural History Association // FLickr

1950: Arctic storms in the Pacific Northwest

- Average winter temperature: 33.08° F (#43 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.18° F (#29 hottest year; 2.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22° F (#50 hottest year; 1.2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.81 in. (#15 hottest year; 15.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Jackson County, SD on Jan. 5 (48 in.)

On Jan. 13, 1950, the Pacific Northwest—particularly northern Washington—was pounded by one of its heaviest winter storms on record. Not only did several feet of snow pummel the region, it was accompanied by hurricane force winds and frigid, single-digit temperatures. To make matters worse, the January storm was only the first in a series of arctic storms that would disrupt the area all winter long.

1951: Great Appalachian Storm
33/National Weather Service

1951: Great Appalachian Storm

- Average winter temperature: 32.58° F (#48 coldest year; 0.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.66° F (#42 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.51° F (#38 coldest year; 3.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.54 in. (#42 coldest year; 3.6% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Sitka City and Borough, AK on March 11 (42 in.)

In November of 1950, as the 1950–51 winter season was getting underway, a historically massive storm hit the Appalachian region of the U.S. on Thanksgiving weekend. NOAA called it “one of the most damaging and meteorologically unique winter storms to strike the eastern United States.” When all was said and done, the weather event had covered the region in 57 inches of snow—nearly 5 feet—earning the title of the most costly storm on record at that time.

1952: February 1952 nor'easter
34/Fortepan // Wikimedia Commons

1952: February 1952 nor'easter

- Average winter temperature: 32.9° F (#48 hottest year; 0.5% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.29° F (#50 hottest year; 0.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.48° F (#42 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.56 in. (#20 hottest year; 11.5% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Yuba County, CA on Jan. 14 (75 in.)

New England experienced the brunt of the 1952 winter when a Category 1 storm rolled in, hammering the area with hurricane-force winds and heavy snow. 42 people were killed and more than 1,000 motorists were stranded on highways. Offshore, at least two ships cracked amid the strong winds.

1953: Warm temps in the U.S. as Europe is hammered
35/Agency for International Development // Wikimedia Commons

1953: Warm temps in the U.S. as Europe is hammered

- Average winter temperature: 35.25° F (#15 hottest year; 7.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.61° F (#13 hottest year; 5.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.88° F (#11 hottest year; 11.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.15 in. (#30 hottest year; 5.4% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Kodiak Island Borough, AK on Jan. 28 (24 in.)

In the United States, the winter of 1953 was a warm year with above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation. Even its record one-day snowfall was lower than usual, with 24 inches in Kodiak, Alaska. Europe, however, suffered one of its fiercest storms in history. Striking off the East Coast of England, it resulted in the deaths of hundreds, and caused widespread flooding.

1954: Montana sets record for coldest day
36/George Marks // Getty Images

1954: Montana sets record for coldest day

- Average winter temperature: 35.33° F (#12 hottest year; 7.9% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.51° F (#6 hottest year; 7.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.15° F (#19 hottest year; 8.5% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.53 in. (#40 coldest year; 3.7% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Lassen County, CA on Jan. 17 (38 in.)

Although the nation as a whole experienced a warmer-than-average winter in 1954, Montana set an all-time record for the coldest day in recorded history of the contiguous U.S. The record occurred on Jan. 20 when a temperature of 70 degrees below zero was clocked at Rogers Pass. Precipitation was also lower than usual that year, with an average of just over 6.5 inches.

1955: Historical Wyoming blizzard
37/Glenn // Wikimedia Commons

1955: Historical Wyoming blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 31.44° F (#27 coldest year; 4% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.04° F (#26 coldest year; 2.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.82° F (#21 coldest year; 6.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.91 in. (#16 coldest year; 12.9% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Mason County, WA on Jan. 25 (36 in.)

Wyoming was hit with its worst blizzard in history in April of 1955, when 4 feet of snow dumped down on the Cowboy State in fewer than 48 hours. “It just goes to show, no matter how bad you think the snow is in Wyoming, it could always be worse,” Lisa Jensen wrote for Only In Your State.

1956: New England storms
38/George Marks // Getty Images

1956: New England storms

- Average winter temperature: 31.66° F (#29 coldest year; 3.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.08° F (#28 coldest year; 2.6% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.24° F (#29 coldest year; 4.6% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.13 in. (#31 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Pierce County, WA on Nov. 26 (70 in.)

The winter of 1956 was a significant season for snowfall in New England, which saw three major storms in a 10-day period in March. The blizzards brought snow cover at the Blue Hill Weather Observatory outside Boston to a level of nearly 50 inches. Meanwhile, Pierce County, Wash., set the year’s one-day snowfall record with 70 inches.

1957: Cyclone-level storms in Kansas
39/Pixabay

1957: Cyclone-level storms in Kansas

- Average winter temperature: 33.79° F (#26 hottest year; 3.2% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.32° F (#25 hottest year; 2.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.25° F (#30 hottest year; 4.4% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.21 in. (#29 coldest year; 8.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: El Paso County, CO on April 2 (54 in.)

Between March 23 and 25, 1957, western Kansas was hit with cyclone-level winds mixed with exceptionally low temperatures over the Great Plains. In Dodge City, there was a 44-hour stretch with nonstop heavy snow and less than a quarter-mile visibility, according to NOAA.

1958: New England nor'easter
40/Glenn // Wikimedia Commons

1958: New England nor'easter

- Average winter temperature: 33.53° F (#31 hottest year; 2.4% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.89° F (#32 hottest year; 1.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.18° F (#32 hottest year; 4.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.12 in. (#34 hottest year; 5% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Placer County, CA on April 3 (49 in.)

The winter of 1958 was another year with relatively mild conditions that saw below-average temperatures. In March, a huge storm swept through New England and the Mid-Atlantic, dropping large amounts of snow from Maine to North Carolina.

1959: Mount Shasta Snowstorm
41/Zink Dawg // Wikimedia Commons

1959: Mount Shasta Snowstorm

- Average winter temperature: 31.4° F (#26 coldest year; 4.1% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.34° F (#34 coldest year; 2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.46° F (#17 coldest year; 8.1% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.86 in. (#15 coldest year; 13.6% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Douglas County, CO on Dec. 21 (48 in.)

In 1959, Northern California received record-setting snowfall in February during what became one of the biggest blizzards in U.S. history. In a single storm, Mount Shasta Ski Bowl accumulated 189 inches of snow—almost 16 feet. The staggering number remains the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America’s recorded history, although some argue that 1993’s "Storm of the Century" surpassed it in volume factoring in the expansive area it covered.

1960: Three major storms
42/State Archives of North Carolina Raleigh, NC // Flickr

1960: Three major storms

- Average winter temperature: 31.97° F (#35 coldest year; 2.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.71° F (#21 coldest year; 3.5% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.25° F (#45 hottest year; 0.1% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.07 in. (#36 hottest year; 4.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Anchorage Municipality, AK on Dec. 23 (44 in.)

The winter of 1960 was a brutal season that included three major storms, beginning in December when an enormous nor’easter pounded the Mid-Atlantic and parts of New England. Next, North Carolina and its surrounding areas received a series of five back-to-back blizzards that battered the region between Feb. 13 and March 26. They created “snowdrifts that threatened to swallow houses,” according to Monte Mitchell at the Winston-Salem Journal, and resulted in the snowiest period on record for the Southern Appalachian region. Meanwhile, as Appalachia was dealing with its record snowfall, New England was hit with another nor’easter in March that ranked Category 4 on the hurricane scale.

1961: New York receives 40 inches of snow
43/Harry Morrison // Getty Images

1961: New York receives 40 inches of snow

- Average winter temperature: 32.51° F (#45 coldest year; 0.7% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.48° F (#46 hottest year; 0.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.53° F (#39 coldest year; 3.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.16 in. (#27 coldest year; 9.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Iron County, UT on Oct. 10 (36 in.)

In 1961, temperatures were cold throughout the country and Utah received record one-day snowfall with an early-season October storm that dumped 3 feet. However, it was New York that really got pummeled when a February storm dropped 40 inches of snow in some parts of the state, as well as significant amounts in other parts of New England.

1962: Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962
44/Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

1962: Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962

- Average winter temperature: 30.99° F (#17 coldest year; 5.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.4° F (#16 coldest year; 4.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.59° F (#18 coldest year; 7.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.45 in. (#23 hottest year; 9.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Chaffee County, CO on Oct. 29 (38 in.)

In 1962, as many folks along the Mid-Atlantic coast were preparing to attend church masses for Ash Wednesday, a Category 5 storm was brewing offshore. Between March 5 to 9, an extreme storm came ashore, lashing the region with 85 mile-per-hour wind gusts in some places, along with heavy snow and ice-cold temperatures, When all was said and done, 40 people were dead, more than 1,000 were injured, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage had been done. To date, this weather event still ranks as one of the top 10 worst storms of the 20th century.

1963: Big Freeze of 1963
45/Clive Perrin // Geograph

1963: Big Freeze of 1963

- Average winter temperature: 30.65° F (#12 coldest year; 6.4% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.06° F (#27 coldest year; 2.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 19.25° F (#5 coldest year; 13.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 4.88 in. (#4 coldest year; 28.0% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Penobscot County, ME on Dec. 30 (40.0 in.)

The winter of 1963 was a frigid one in the United States. In terms of average precipitation, it was the fourth-coldest winter in the past century and for the lowest minimum temperature, it was the fifth coldest. Britain also suffered a cold spell, experiencing one of the coldest winters in the history of the country: the “Big Freeze of 1963.” Lakes and rivers froze over as snow drifts piled up to 20 feet. January temperatures averaged two degrees below zero.

1964: New Year's Eve 1963 snowstorm
46/Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

1964: New Year's Eve 1963 snowstorm

- Average winter temperature: 30.4° F (#8 coldest year; 7.1% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.53° F (#19 coldest year; 3.9% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 19.27° F (#6 coldest year; 13.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.47 in. (#6 coldest year; 19.3% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Juab County, UT on March 18 (20 in.)

A low-pressure system moved up from the Gulf of Mexico over the U.S. Appalachians on Dec. 31, pounding Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee with snow and wind. Three people died and damage amounted to roughly $418,500 today. Huntsville, Ala., broke the city’s all-time snowfall record with more than 17 inches.

1965: Albany’s worst ice storm on record
47/Evening Standard // Getty Images

1965: Albany’s worst ice storm on record

- Average winter temperature: 32.12° F (#38 coldest year; 1.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.76° F (#40 coldest year; 1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.47° F (#37 coldest year; 3.6% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.83 in. (#14 hottest year; 15.4% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Socorro County, NM on Feb. 3 (41 in.)

The city of Albany, N.Y., experienced its worst ice storm on record. According to NOAA, on Dec. 4, freezing rain shut down the entire east central part of the Empire State. Power was out in the city and surrounding areas for two weeks, with many residents fleeing to Massachusetts for temporary shelter. Other parts of the region were impacted as well, as the ice spread from Buffalo to Boston.

1966: North American blizzard of 1966
48/Mr. Bill Koch // Wikimedia Commons

1966: North American blizzard of 1966

- Average winter temperature: 31.16° F (#21 coldest year; 4.8% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.33° F (#14 coldest year; 4.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.98° F (#25 coldest year; 5.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.86 in. (#44 hottest year; 1.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: King County, WA on Jan. 2 (45 in.)

The North American blizzard of 1966, which blew across the United States from Jan. 26 to 31, was one of the most notable storms in U.S. history. The nor'easter affected large swaths of the country, wreaking particular havoc on New York City and surrounding areas where winds reached up to 100 miles per hour. At least 200 people perished in the storm, many of whom froze to death or died in fires started by residents trying to warm their homes. Another deadly storm hit North Dakota that March, causing 70-mile-per-hour winds and killing 18 people.

1967: Chicago Blizzard of 1967
49/58follow // Wikimedia Commons

1967: Chicago Blizzard of 1967

- Average winter temperature: 32.89° F (#49 hottest year; 0.5% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.82° F (#34 hottest year; 1.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.95° F (#46 coldest year; 1.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.11 in. (#23 coldest year; 9.9% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Oneida County, NY on Feb. 1 (50 in.)

Chicago was the site of a historic blizzard in the winter of 1967 when the Windy City lived up to its nickname as 50 mile-per-hour gusts blew through the city. The storm—which brought the largest snowfall to date in Chicago’s history—killed 26 people, including a 10-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire of police and looters, and a minister who was run over by a snowplow.

1968: Tennessee snow storm
50/Lisa Zins // Flickr

1968: Tennessee snow storm

- Average winter temperature: 31.31° F (#25 coldest year; 4.4% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.64° F (#20 coldest year; 3.6% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.98° F (#25 coldest year; 5.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.71 in. (#48 hottest year; 1.1% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Plumas County, CA on Jan. 29 (48 in.)

1968 was a moderate year, with below-average temperatures. In late March, Tennessee received a surprise storm that dumped large amounts of snow on Nashville, Memphis, and other major cities—more than 16 inches in 19 hours. The storm caused power outages, traffic injuries, and three deaths.

1969: Big storms in New England
51/Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

1969: Big storms in New England

- Average winter temperature: 30.74° F (#14 coldest year; 6.1% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.51° F (#7 coldest year; 6.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.95° F (#24 coldest year; 5.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.06 in. (#11 hottest year; 18.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Fresno County, CA on Feb. 24 (42 in.)

Two major storms struck the U.S. in the winter of 1969, beginning in February when a strong nor'easter developed over the Mid-Atlantic and New England, burying New York City and surrounding areas in snow. That storm killed 94 people and left thousands more stranded on highways or at airports. In March, another blizzard—this one with 80 mile-per-hour winds—blew into the Gulf of Mexico, up through Georgia, and into New England where it dumped snow on Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts.

1970: Christmas Day tornadoes
52/Unsplash

1970: Christmas Day tornadoes

- Average winter temperature: 31.98° F (#36 coldest year; 2.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.58° F (#38 coldest year; 1.5% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.39° F (#33 coldest year; 3.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.66 in. (#47 coldest year; 1.8% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Coos County, NH on Feb. 25 (49.3 in.)

On Christmas Day, 1969, a powerful nor'easter that began over Texas made its way to the Northeastern U.S., morphing into a series of full-blown tornadoes at it moved and bringing large amounts of snow and freezing rain with it. Homes were destroyed, and dozens of people were killed. In total, 16 tornadoes broke out over three days, making it the largest Christmas Day tornado outbreak on record.

1971: Alaska sets U.S. record for coldest temperature ever recorded
53/Pixabay

1971: Alaska sets U.S. record for coldest temperature ever recorded

- Average winter temperature: 32.16° F (#40 coldest year; 1.8% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.9° F (#41 coldest year; 0.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.42° F (#34 coldest year; 3.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.62 in. (#45 coldest year; 2.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Boise County, ID on Jan. 19 (40 in.)

On Jan. 23, 1971, a cold snap in the north resulted in the coldest-ever recorded temperature in the United States. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the record was set in ice-cold Alaska where a thermometer gauge clocked a reading of 80 degrees below zero in Prospect Creek, just north of Fairbanks.

1972: Mild U.S. winter but the deadliest ever in the Middle East
54/Don Graham // Flickr

1972: Mild U.S. winter but the deadliest ever in the Middle East

- Average winter temperature: 32.49° F (#44 coldest year; 0.8% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.14° F (#45 coldest year; 0.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.83° F (#45 coldest year; 2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.33 in. (#24 hottest year; 8.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Glacier County, MT on Dec. 18 (35 in.)

The winter of 1972 was an average year in the U.S. that featured fairly typical temperatures. One big storm in Minnesota brought in 60 mile-per-hour winds, causing stranded commuters and one train derailment (though no deaths were directly attributed to it). However, it’s worth noting that this was the year in which the deadliest blizzard in history occurred. It took place in Iran, and caused approximately 4,000 fatalities.

1973: The Great Southeastern Snowstorm
55/National Weather Service

1973: The Great Southeastern Snowstorm

- Average winter temperature: 31.01° F (#18 coldest year; 5.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.93° F (#13 coldest year; 5.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.1° F (#28 coldest year; 5.2% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.46 in. (#22 hottest year; 10% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Flathead County, MT on Jan. 20 (44 in.)

While the southern U.S. states rarely see significant snowfall, 1973 was an exceptional year. In early February, a major stormfront brought huge blizzards, showering the entire Southeastern portion of the country in up to 2 feet of snow. The event set records at the time in both Wilmington, North Carolina, and Charleston, S.C. States along the coast from Texas to Florida felt flurries.

1974: Super Tornado Outbreak
56/National Weather Service

1974: Super Tornado Outbreak

- Average winter temperature: 33.15° F (#40 hottest year; 1.3% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.74° F (#39 hottest year; 1.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.55° F (#39 hottest year; 1.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.92 in. (#13 hottest year; 16.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Lawrence County, SD on March 14 (52 in.)

In 1974, the winter months were fairly warm, with temperatures slightly above average. However, just weeks after winter ended and spring began, an outbreak of tornadoes made up for the moderate winter as the weather wreaked havoc on a huge portion of the country, beginning in the Great Lakes region and spreading south. In total, 148 tornadoes were recorded across 13 states, one of which remains on the top 10 list of costliest tornadoes in U.S. history.

1975: Great Storm of 1975
57/U.S. Government // Wikimedia Commons

1975: Great Storm of 1975

- Average winter temperature: 32.92° F (#47 hottest year; 0.6% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.08° F (#44 coldest year; 0.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.76° F (#38 hottest year; 2.2% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.64 in. (#19 hottest year; 12.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Blaine County, ID on Feb. 11 (38 in.)

The Great Storm of 1975 was a catastrophic blizzard that struck large areas of the central and Southeastern United States on Super Bowl Sunday. 58 people died in the Midwest, and 12 more were killed in the Southeast as a cluster of 45 tornadoes raged through the region. During the three days, wind chills were recorded as low as 80 degrees below zero.

1976: Groundhog Day gale of 1976
58/Unsplash

1976: Groundhog Day gale of 1976

- Average winter temperature: 34.59° F (#18 hottest year; 5.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.88° F (#11 hottest year; 6.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.29° F (#29 hottest year; 4.6% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.76 in. (#11 coldest year; 15.1% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Apache County, AZ on Nov. 30 (40 in.)

On Groundhog Day, 1976, a massive winter storm blew through the Northeastern portion of the United States, affecting Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and Vermont. The storm, which was classified as a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 102 miles per hour, caused the Penobscot River in Maine to rise 12 feet, flooding the town of Bangor and submerging more than 200 cars under water.

1977: Snowfall in Miami
59/Jorfer // Wikimedia Commons

1977: Snowfall in Miami

- Average winter temperature: 30.01° F (#5 coldest year; 8.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.78° F (#22 coldest year; 3.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 18.25° F (#4 coldest year; 18% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 4.17 in. (#1 coldest year; 38.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Aleutians East Borough, AK on Feb. 26 (25.3 in.)

The winter of 1977 kicked off with an intense cold snap in the southeastern part of the U.S. that originated from a high-pressure system over the Mississippi River Valley. The frigid weather pattern caused cold air to hover as far south as Florida, prompting the only trace of snow in recorded history to ever fall in Miami. The cold air in the south was also a contributing factor to the blizzard that pounded Western New York at the end of the month with extreme winds and heavy snowfall for five days.

1978: New England Blizzard of 1978
60/Jim McDevitt // Wikimedia Commons

1978: New England Blizzard of 1978

- Average winter temperature: 29.04° F (#4 coldest year; 11.3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 38.64° F (#3 coldest year; 10.6% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 19.44° F (#7 coldest year; 12.7% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.67 in. (#17 hottest year; 13.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Rio Blanco County, CO on Feb. 20 (26 in.)

The New England Blizzard of 1978 impacted Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. However, it was Boston that reeled most from the massive blizzard, accumulating more than 27 inches of snow in less than 48 hours. The snowfall set an all-time record for the metropolitan area.

1979: Hawaii sets a record for coldest day
61/pedrik // Flickr

1979: Hawaii sets a record for coldest day

- Average winter temperature: 26.61° F (#1 coldest year; 18.7% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 36.73° F (#1 coldest year; 15% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 16.51° F (#1 coldest year; 25.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.44 in. (#7 hottest year; 24.4% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Mora County, NM on May 2 (36 in.)

The Aloha State, which has never recorded a sub-zero temperature, isn’t known for cold weather. However, its volcanic regions do get frigid at times and in 1979, the state set an all-time record for coldest temperature when it hit 12 degrees at the Mauna Kea Observatory. The viewing point sits at an elevation of 13,796 feet.

1980: Massive North Carolina storm
62/BMJ // Shutterstock

1980: Massive North Carolina storm

- Average winter temperature: 33.33° F (#36 hottest year; 1.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.6° F (#45 hottest year; 0.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.06° F (#35 hottest year; 3.6% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.43 in. (#36 coldest year; 5.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Shasta County, CA on Dec. 24 (48 in.)

On Mar. 2, 1980, North Carolina was hit by a turbulent winter storm that blew through most of the state, dumping up to 30 inches. Gusts of more than 50 miles per hour were recorded in the eastern part of the state, the largest of which occurred at Cape Hatteras. In addition to killing 13 people and causing nearly $22 million in property damage, the storm cost the poultry industry nearly $10 million.

1981: A mild winter with a few scattered storms
63/Pixabay

1981: A mild winter with a few scattered storms

- Average winter temperature: 34.73° F (#17 hottest year; 6.1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.05° F (#10 hottest year; 6.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.4° F (#27 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 4.72 in. (#3 coldest year; 30.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Hood River County, OR on Jan. 9 (47 in.)

In 1981, temperatures were significantly warmer than average, and the maximum winter temperature was the 10th-hottest of the past century. Most of the country was spared any major storms, though there were a few scattered throughout the Midwest and the Southeast. One dumped 1.5 feet of snow from Illinois to South Carolina, while another hit Nebraska, killing three people in storm-related car accidents.

1982: A frigid winter with snowfall records in Mt. Shasta
64/Wingchi Poon // Wikimedia Commons

1982: A frigid winter with snowfall records in Mt. Shasta

- Average winter temperature: 30.82° F (#16 coldest year; 5.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.39° F (#15 coldest year; 4.2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.26° F (#12 coldest year; 9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.48 in. (#21 hottest year; 10.3% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: El Dorado County, CA on Jan. 5 (67 in.)

What the winter of 1981 lacked in winter storms, the following year made up for with a vengeance. The 1982 winter season saw practically the entire country buried in snow. In Northern California, the state set a four-day snow record at Mt. Shasta with a staggering 145 inches—more than 12 feet. Meanwhile, the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast all experienced major storms, as well as cold snaps that caused 85 deaths.

1983: Winter flooding in the western states
65/David McNew // Getty Images

1983: Winter flooding in the western states

- Average winter temperature: 35.27° F (#14 hottest year; 7.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.64° F (#21 hottest year; 3.3% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.88° F (#5 hottest year; 16.2% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.52 in. (#5 hottest year; 25.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Benewah County, ID on Jan. 22 (60 in.)

Although temperatures weren’t cold enough for snow everywhere, a series of severe rainstorms from December to March caused major flooding throughout the western United States, resulting in 50 deaths. Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada were affected. In California, El Niño brought record-setting rainfall to the Sierra Mountains, causing landslides and flooding.

1984: A mix of cold spells, storms, and hail
66/Unsplash

1984: A mix of cold spells, storms, and hail

- Average winter temperature: 30.56° F (#9 coldest year; 6.7% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.75° F (#10 coldest year; 5.7% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.39° F (#16 coldest year; 8.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.9 in. (#42 hottest year; 1.7% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Owyhee County, ID on May 2 (60 in.)

The winter of 1983 started out with a heavy cold snap in December that dropped temperatures throughout many parts of the country to freezing levels, leading to 100 deaths. As winter continued, scattered storms affected various regions from the Midwest to the Northeast. In June, after winter had supposedly ended, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska were hit with late-season storms and hail, which added another fatality to the list.

1985: The Freeze of the Century
67/NOAA // Wikimedia Commons

1985: The Freeze of the Century

- Average winter temperature: 30.57° F (#10 coldest year; 6.6% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.86° F (#12 coldest year; 5.4% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.29° F (#15 coldest year; 8.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.01 in. (#19 coldest year; 11.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Bennington County, VT on March 14 (37 in.)

In January of 1985, an early winter cold spell descended on the United States, bringing extreme temperatures to nearly every part of the country. The frigid weather, which The New York Times called “The Freeze of the Century,” contributed to 150 fatalities over the course of the month. In addition to the deaths, it devastated Florida’s citrus crop and forced Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration to be held inside.

1986: Pacific storms and flooding
68/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

1986: Pacific storms and flooding

- Average winter temperature: 33.11° F (#42 hottest year; 1.1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.82° F (#34 hottest year; 1.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.4° F (#44 hottest year; 0.6% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.73 in. (#9 coldest year; 15.5% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Taos County, NM on March 12 (36 in.)

In 1986, most of the winter weather catastrophes involved rain and flooding. The damage largely occurred in the western part of the country, which was battered by storms. In mid-February, a series of torrential rain storms hit the west coast, pounding the region with “a destructive combination of heavy precipitation and moderately high snow levels,” according to NOAA. The 10-day weather event caused devastating floods in the northern part of California and western Nevada.

1987: Warm, but with heavy storms in the Mid-Atlantic
69/Unsplash

1987: Warm, but with heavy storms in the Mid-Atlantic

- Average winter temperature: 34.42° F (#20 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.29° F (#27 hottest year; 2.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.55° F (#15 hottest year; 10.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.5 in. (#38 coldest year; 4.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Greenlee County, AZ on Feb. 25 (38 in.)

Although temperatures were warmer than average in 1987, the Mid-Atlantic part of the country was hit with a major nor'easter in February that wreaked havoc from New York down to West Virginia. Prior to that, Washington D.C. was also pelted with a major winter storm in January that stranded six trains and caused 130 buses to get stuck in the snow.

1988: Offshore blizzard causes Alaska shipwreck
70/Unsplash

1988: Offshore blizzard causes Alaska shipwreck

- Average winter temperature: 32.01° F (#37 coldest year; 2.2% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.57° F (#37 coldest year; 1.5% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.45° F (#36 coldest year; 3.7% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.36 in. (#33 coldest year; 6.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Hot Springs County, WY on Feb. 23 (24.3 in.)

Temperatures were below average in 1988, with a smattering of storms and blizzards throughout the United States. In Alaska, where blustery weather is commonplace, one storm drew attention when a fishing vessel was shipwrecked during a blizzard amid “blinding snow and 60-mile-an-hour wind.” The crew of 15 was rescued near Nikolski Bay, but the Alaska Star sank into the sea.

1989: Extreme Alaska cold spell
71/MASTER SERGEANT ED BOYCE // Wikimedia Commons

1989: Extreme Alaska cold spell

- Average winter temperature: 32.24° F (#42 coldest year; 1.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.06° F (#43 coldest year; 0.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.42° F (#34 coldest year; 3.8% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.75 in. (#10 coldest year; 15.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Lewis County, NY on Jan. 6 (47.5 in.)

Alaska drew attention again in the winter of 1989, this time due to the exceptionally cold temperatures that peaked during a two-week period in January. During this time, experts predicted the state’s record temperature might be surpassed in the town of Tanana, where it reached 76 degrees below zero. In Fairbanks, temperatures hit 51 degrees below, while in Anchorage they hit 30 below. “Fan belts under the hoods of cars snapped like pretzels; the ice fog was thick and smothering, and the city came as close as it ever comes to a halt,” Ned Rozell for the Anchorage Daily News.

1990: Storms and cold snaps countrywide
72/Unsplash

1990: Storms and cold snaps countrywide

- Average winter temperature: 33.64° F (#27 hottest year; 2.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.73° F (#19 hottest year; 3.5% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.54° F (#40 hottest year; 1.2% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.81 in. (#45 hottest year; 0.4% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Schoolcraft County, MI on Dec. 12 (24 in.)

During the winter of 1990, roughly 100 people were killed in December when a series of storms and cold snaps hit the Northeast, Southeast, and southern parts of the U.S. Nearly half of the states in the country were impacted by the storms. Another cold snap surprised Colorado in July, prompting the costliest hail storm in the state’s history.

1991: Ice storm in Rochester, NY
73/gam9551 // Flickr

1991: Ice storm in Rochester, NY

- Average winter temperature: 33.37° F (#35 hottest year; 1.9% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.24° F (#28 hottest year; 2.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.51° F (#41 hottest year; 1.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.7 in. (#50 hottest year; 1.2% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: San Bernardino County, CA on March 27 (36 in.)

The winter of 1991 was fairly average, with typical temperatures across most of the country. A number of storms hit the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast, impacting Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and surrounding states. Among the more notable weather events was a massive ice storm in Rochester, N.Y., that pummeled the city, causing $375 million in damage.

1992: Midwest Halloween blizzard
74/SSEC/CIMSS // Wikimedia Commons

1992: Midwest Halloween blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 36.35° F (#3 hottest year; 11.0% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.32° F (#9 hottest year; 7.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 26.39° F (#3 hottest year; 18.5% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.17 in. (#28 hottest year; 5.7% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: St. Louis County, MN on Nov. 1 (29.0 in.)

Winter arrived early in the 1991–92 season when a blizzard blew through the Midwest on Halloween. The turbulent storm raged for four days, bringing heavy snowfall and ice to parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Twenty-two people died as a result of the storm, and more than 100,000 lost power.

1993: Storm of the Century
75/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration // Wikimedia Commons

1993: Storm of the Century

- Average winter temperature: 31.12° F (#20 coldest year; 4.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.6° F (#9 coldest year; 6% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.63° F (#40 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.17 in. (#9 hottest year; 20.5% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: McKean County, PA on March 11 (30.2 in.)

Few winters in the 20th century compare to 1993, the year the “Storm of the Century” hit. The far-reaching blizzard swept across 26 states and most of eastern Canada, setting record lows in multiple cities and leaving more than 10 million homes without power. 208 people were killed and NOAA estimated that 40% of the nation’s population was impacted by the storm.

1994: Southeast ice storm
76/Brian0918 // Wikimedia Commons

1994: Southeast ice storm

- Average winter temperature: 31.8° F (#33 coldest year; 2.9% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.29° F (#31 coldest year; 2.1% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.32° F (#31 coldest year; 4.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.35 in. (#32 coldest year; 6.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Franklin County, NY on March 14 (42 in.)

One of the costliest storms in U.S. history hit between Feb. 8 and 13, 1994, when a forceful ice storm descended on a large portion of the southeastern United States. Stretching from Texas to North Carolina, the blizzard caused nine fatalities and cost a staggering $5.2 billion, according to NOAA.

1995: California flooding
77/US Army Corps of Engineers

1995: California flooding

- Average winter temperature: 35.56° F (#9 hottest year; 8.6% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.55° F (#14 hottest year; 5.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.56° F (#7 hottest year; 14.8% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.97 in. (#37 hottest year; 2.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Sierra County, CA on March 23 (44 in.)

On the heels of the catastrophic ice storm, 1995 brought another one of the nation’s most expensive weather disasters when California was once again hit with torrential rainstorms and flooding. From January through March, the powerful weather events caused rainfall of 20 to 70 inches, killing 27 people and costing $4.3 billion.

1996: Another East Coast nor'easter
78/Samshawv // Wikimedia Commons

1996: Another East Coast nor'easter

- Average winter temperature: 32.94° F (#46 hottest year; 0.6% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.74° F (#39 hottest year; 1.2% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.13° F (#48 hottest year; 0.6% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.96 in. (#39 hottest year; 2.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Jefferson County, CO on Dec. 21 (48 in.)

In 1996, a massive nor'easter caused damage and destruction throughout the East Coast, earning an “extreme” rating on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS). Four feet of snow dumped down on the region, burying parts of New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New England in snow. In Virginia, eight people died. Meanwhile, powerful rain storms in the west caused severe flooding in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana.

1997: April Fool's Day blizzard
79/Allwham // Wikimedia Commons

1997: April Fool's Day blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 33.3° F (#37 hottest year; 1.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.19° F (#48 coldest year; 0% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.41° F (#26 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.49 in. (#6 hottest year; 25.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Mineral County, CO on Jan. 14 (55 in.)

A late-season storm took folks in the Northeastern United States by surprise on April 1, 1997, when it pummeled the region with sleet and snow. Spanning from Maine to Massachusetts, it was the third-biggest storm in Boston’s history at the time. “Towns already had begun to put away their plows for summer when the storm hit,” wrote Jon Marcus for the Associated Press. “Hardware stores with patio furniture displays had to break out the shovels again.”

1998: Ice storm in the Northeast
80/ROBERT LABERGE/AFP // Getty Images

1998: Ice storm in the Northeast

- Average winter temperature: 35.9° F (#6 hottest year; 9.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.06° F (#17 hottest year; 4.3% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 26.74° F (#1 hottest year; 20.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.99 in. (#2 hottest year; 32.6% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Greene County, NY on April 1 (37 in.)

16 people were killed in January of 1998 when a four-day ice storm tore across parts of the Northeast, leaving 80% of Maine residents without power. The violent storm, which dropped 3 inches of freezing rain, took place from Jan. 5 to 9 and cost $2 billion, making it one of the most expensive storms of the past 40 years.

1999: North American blizzard of 1999
81/MARK J. DYE // Getty Images

1999: North American blizzard of 1999

- Average winter temperature: 36.27° F (#5 hottest year; 10.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 47.07° F (#2 hottest year; 8.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.49° F (#8 hottest year; 14.5% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.13 in. (#31 hottest year; 5.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Clark County, NV on Feb. 24 (30 in.)

Although average temperatures were warm in 1999, two back-to-back blizzards in January left 25 people dead and caused roughly $2 billion in damage. The turbulent storms struck the Midwest, Northeast, and southern states first, followed by the central and eastern states two weeks later. Chicago, which received 22 inches of snow, ranked the storm as the second-worst blizzard of the 20th century.

2000: Holy Week Blizzard
82/National Weather Service

2000: Holy Week Blizzard

- Average winter temperature: 36.48° F (#2 hottest year; 11.4% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 47.5° F (#1 hottest year; 9.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.46° F (#9 hottest year; 14.3% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.99 in. (#17 coldest year; 11.7% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Barry County, MO on March 15 (23 in.)

Most of the winter of 2000 went off without a hitch as warmer temperatures enveloped the country. In late April during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska were hit with a late-season blizzard. Wet, heavy snow rolled in on Apr. 19, tumbling trees and knocking over telephone poles. According to NOAA, “The snow in some locations in the central and southern Black Hills was the greatest amount ever recorded during a single storm, and most of the snow fell in less than 12 hours.”

2001: A cold winter with minimal blizzards
83/Dave Saville // Wikimedia Commons

2001: A cold winter with minimal blizzards

- Average winter temperature: 31.26° F (#23 coldest year; 4.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 41.47° F (#17 coldest year; 4% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.05° F (#27 coldest year; 5.5% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.77 in. (#12 coldest year; 14.9% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Bay County, MI on Dec. 13 (25 in.)

The winter of 2001 was colder than average, and while there weren’t any massive blizzards, there were enough smaller storms and cold spells to keep people on their toes. One notable example was a December storm system that moved from the Texas panhandle up to northwest Ohio and the Great Lakes, bringing wind gusts of 70 to 80 miles per hour, along with snow, rain, and sleet.

2002: Blizzards and ice storms throughout the U.S.
84/Jonathan Blaes // Wikimedia Commons

2002: Blizzards and ice storms throughout the U.S.

- Average winter temperature: 35.66° F (#8 hottest year; 8.9% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.59° F (#5 hottest year; 7.8% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.73° F (#12 hottest year; 11.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.69 in. (#8 coldest year; 16.1% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Belknap County, NH on Feb. 6 (29 in.)

The East Coast received a number of storms during the winter of 2002, the first of which was a New Year’s blizzard that ran from Virginia down to Florida. Thousands of people were stranded in airports and on highways, while at least six people died in storm-related auto accidents. A few weeks later, an ice storm stuck the Central Plains of the U.S. on Jan. 29, causing electric transformers to explode, trees to snap, and more than 650,000 people to lose power. Among the fallen trees were two bicentennials estimated to be more than 200 years old combined.

2003: Presidents' Day storm
85/Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

2003: Presidents' Day storm

- Average winter temperature: 33.56° F (#30 hottest year; 2.5% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.8° F (#36 hottest year; 1.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.32° F (#28 hottest year; 4.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.9 in. (#42 hottest year; 1.7% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Park County, CO on March 19 (38 in.)

Amid the President’s Day storm of 2003, which struck the East Coast between Feb. 17 and 18, Boston set an all-time snowfall record for the city with 27.5 inches. Meanwhile, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were pummeled with snow and ice as well, causing most major airports to shut down and virtually all roadways to come to a halt. Several buildings and structures collapsed, including an aluminum patio roof that killed a 79-year-old woman when it fell under the weight of the snow.

2004: Blizzard in Charlotte, NC
86/James Willamor // Flickr

2004: Blizzard in Charlotte, NC

- Average winter temperature: 33.07° F (#44 hottest year; 1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.22° F (#49 coldest year; 0% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.93° F (#36 hottest year; 3.0% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.8 in. (#46 hottest year; 0.3% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Meagher County, MT on Dec. 27 (48 in.)

The winter of 2004 was fairly uneventful, with moderate levels of precipitation and average temperatures. There weren’t any major blizzards; however, Charlotte, N.C., received a surprising storm on Feb. 26—a rarity for the southern city. By the time it was over, approximately 17 inches had accumulated, making it one of the largest storms in the city’s history.

2005: A cluster of high-wind blizzards
87/Analogue Kid // Wikimedia Commons

2005: A cluster of high-wind blizzards

- Average winter temperature: 35.46° F (#11 hottest year; 8.3% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.51° F (#15 hottest year; 5.3% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.42° F (#10 hottest year; 14.2% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.94 in. (#41 hottest year; 2.3% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Juneau City and Borough, AK on Dec. 28 (32.5 in.)

Temperatures were warmer than average in the winter of 2005; however, that didn’t stop a number of major storms from sweeping in. The first two took place right before Christmas—one in the Ohio Valley and another in Texas. The first one hammered parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio with ice, sleet, snow, and heavy winds. The storms caused $900 million in damage, and 18 people died. The Lone Star State experienced its first recorded white Christmas. A month later, another storm battered the Northeast with high-speed winds and more than 3 feet of snow.

2006: New York City Blizzard of 2006
88/Spencer Platt // Getty Images

2006: New York City Blizzard of 2006

- Average winter temperature: 35.49° F (#10 hottest year; 8.4% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.37° F (#8 hottest year; 7.3% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.61° F (#13 hottest year; 10.5% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.42 in. (#35 coldest year; 5.3% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Gila County, AZ on March 11 (32 in.)

New York City’s blizzard of 2006 took place between Feb. 11 and 13, and has been ranked as the eighth-biggest snowstorm of all time. Although it affected a large chunk of the Northeastern U.S., the heavy snow was confined mostly to the Big Apple. It didn’t have the strong winds that are characteristic of other storms in the region; however, the sheer volume of snow was dramatic. At nearly 27 inches, it marked the highest volume of snow New York City had received since 1869.

2007: Valentine’s Day storm
89/Dismas // Wikimedia Commons

2007: Valentine’s Day storm

- Average winter temperature: 33.44° F (#33 hottest year; 2.1% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.8° F (#36 hottest year; 1.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.1° F (#33 hottest year; 3.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.55 in. (#43 coldest year; 3.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Lewis and Clark County, MT on March 9 (51.8 in.)

During the winter of 2007, a massive winter storm heavily impacted the eastern half of the United States for the three days leading up to Valentine’s Day. 37 people died in 13 states, and a 50-mile backup on Interstate 78 stranded drivers for nearly 24 hours. The storm ranked as one of the three largest in the Northeastern U.S since 1940.

2008: Great Coastal Gale
90/Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy // Wikimedia Commons

2008: Great Coastal Gale

- Average winter temperature: 32.73° F (#50 coldest year; 0% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 43.26° F (#50 coldest year; 0.1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 22.2° F (#46 hottest year; 0.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.65 in. (#18 hottest year; 12.8% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: San Juan County, UT on Dec. 23 (36 in.)

In 2008, three back-to-back storms struck the Pacific Northwest between Dec. 1 and 4, impacting large areas of Oregon and Washington. Hurricane-force winds dominated the storm, with gusts up to 137 miles per hour along the coastal region. At least 18 people were killed, and more than 110,000 customers were left without power.

2009: January storms in the Midwest and South
91/Sydney and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

2009: January storms in the Midwest and South

- Average winter temperature: 33.23° F (#39 hottest year; 1.5% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.47° F (#22 hottest year; 2.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.98° F (#49 coldest year; 1.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.99 in. (#17 coldest year; 11.7% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Franklin County, NY on March 14 (42 in.)

On New Year’s Eve, a Canadian clipper hammered the Midwest with wind and snow, particularly around the Great Lakes area. Later in the month, a brutal ice storm in the south followed the blizzard, affecting residents of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, and surrounding areas. 65 people lost their lives, many of whom died of carbon monoxide poisoning from power generators, or hypothermia.

2010: Snowmaggedon in Washington D.C.
92/JEWEL SAMAD // Getty Images

2010: Snowmaggedon in Washington D.C.

- Average winter temperature: 30.7° F (#13 coldest year; 6.2% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 40.06° F (#5 coldest year; 7.3% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.35° F (#32 coldest year; 4.1% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.71 in. (#16 hottest year; 13.7% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Malheur County, OR on April 8 (60 in.)

As the name might suggest, “Snowmaggedon” dumped high volumes of snow onto Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. Between Feb. 5 and 6, the capital received nearly 18 inches at Reagan National Airport, making it the fourth-highest snowfall in the city’s recorded history. The nickname was also applied to two other February storms that followed, including one that hit the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and parts of New England between Feb. 9 and 10. Another spanned Feb. 25 to 27, dubbed "Snowicane.”

2011: Groundhog Day blizzard II
93/Baylor98 // Wikimedia Commons

2011: Groundhog Day blizzard II

- Average winter temperature: 31.74° F (#31 coldest year; 3% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.17° F (#29 coldest year; 2.4% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 21.31° F (#30 coldest year; 4.3% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.08 in. (#22 coldest year; 10.4% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Kern County, CA on March 21 (41 in.)

Similarly to the Groundhog Day blizzard of 1979, this storm took place across the Midwest and northeastern parts of the country. Stretching more than 2,000 miles across 22 states, it was more powerful than its predecessor, with 60 mile-per-hour winds and several tornadoes touching down: 36 people were killed, with the storm causing $2 billion in damage.

2012: A blizzard in the South
94/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration // Wikimedia Commons

2012: A blizzard in the South

- Average winter temperature: 36.34° F (#4 hottest year; 11% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 47.06° F (#3 hottest year; 8.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.63° F (#6 hottest year; 15.1% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.2 in. (#28 coldest year; 8.6% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Haines Borough, AK on Jan. 2 (42 in.)

Two months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeastern United States, a major blizzard struck the south, with winds up to 80 miles per hour. Arkansas and Alabama, the most affected states, saw hailstones measuring more than an inch wide. Thousands of people were left without power.

2013: February nor’easter brings a Category 3 storm
95/Mario Tama // Getty Images

2013: February nor’easter brings a Category 3 storm

- Average winter temperature: 34.31° F (#21 hottest year; 4.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.66° F (#20 hottest year; 3.4% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.96° F (#21 hottest year; 7.6% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 7.27 in. (#26 hottest year; 7.2% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Polk County, OR on March 1 (39.0 in.)

The winter of 2013 brought warmer-than-average temperatures; however, a significant nor'easter led to a Category 3 winter storm in February. The blizzard pounded the Southeast, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic with snow, wind, and ice. 18 people were killed, three of which were attributed to heart attacks while shoveling snow.

2014: California floods and Mid-Atlantic blizzards
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2014: California floods and Mid-Atlantic blizzards

- Average winter temperature: 31.25° F (#22 coldest year; 4.5% below 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 42.33° F (#33 coldest year; 2% below 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 20.18° F (#11 coldest year; 9.4% below 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 5.83 in. (#14 coldest year; 14% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Pennington County, SD on Oct. 5 (35 in.)

The winter of 2014 was another year of giant rainstorms and flash flooding on the West Coast—particularly in California. Other parts of the country, by contrast, saw heavy snow, especially during a Jan. 5 to 8 blizzard that blanketed most of the Mid-Atlantic. Wind chill sent temperatures plummeting to 60 degrees below zero. The storm caused more than $1 billion in damage, and 16 people lost their lives.

2015: A series of blizzards and cold spells
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2015: A series of blizzards and cold spells

- Average winter temperature: 34.29° F (#22 hottest year; 4.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.34° F (#24 hottest year; 2.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 24.24° F (#17 hottest year; 8.9% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.15 in. (#26 coldest year; 9.3% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Erie County, NY on Nov. 20 (47.5 in.)

The winter of 2015 was packed with blizzards and storms, beginning with January’s snow drops over New England. The snow continued through March, when a blizzard and its cold spell broke temperature records as far south as Florida. That said, 2015 was warmer than average in general throughout the country.

2016: Category 5 storm in the East
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2016: Category 5 storm in the East

- Average winter temperature: 36.78° F (#1 hottest year; 12.3% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 46.91° F (#4 hottest year; 8.6% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 26.65° F (#2 hottest year; 19.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.03 in. (#12 hottest year; 18.4% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Worcester County, MA on Jan. 27 (31.9 in.)

A devastating storm lashed the eastern part of the country with snow and heavy winds from Jan. 22 to 24, affecting 11 states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The Category 5 storm, which ranks as “extreme,” caused at least 55 deaths and injured, stranded, or displaced hundreds more. The total cost of the storm was estimated to be between $500 million and $3 billion.

2017: California’s wettest year
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2017: California’s wettest year

- Average winter temperature: 35.9° F (#6 hottest year; 9.7% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 45.85° F (#12 hottest year; 6.1% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 25.94° F (#4 hottest year; 16.5% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 8.21 in. (#8 hottest year; 21.1% above 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Loudoun County, VA on Jan. 24 (36.6 in.)

In 2017, California experienced intense rains that broke previous records, making it the wettest winter in almost a century. Five people died and the road damage totaled more than $1 million. Later in the winter, a late-season blizzard poured snow over the northeastern U.S., hammering states like New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

2018: North American blizzard in January
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2018: North American blizzard in January

- Average winter temperature: 33.99° F (#24 hottest year; 3.8% above 100-year average)
- Maximum winter temperature: 44.88° F (#18 hottest year; 3.9% above 100-year average)
- Minimum winter temperature: 23.09° F (#34 hottest year; 3.7% above 100-year average)
- Average precipitation: 6.32 in. (#31 coldest year; 6.8% below 100-year average)
- Record one-day snowfall: Otsego County, NY on March 15 (35.2 in.)

The Mid-Atlantic once again bore the brunt of a major winter blizzard in January of 2018 when those states, along with parts of New England, were battered by heavy winds and intense snowfall. 300,000 residents lost power as a result. The storm, dubbed a "historic bomb cyclone, caused hundreds of flight cancellations and 22 deaths.

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