Detroit Snowfall Totals & Accumulation Averages

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This page pulls together information on when, how much and how often Detroit, Michigan has snow.

There are data and descriptions here of how many days it snows and the total amount of snowfall that Detroit usually gets. There are also monthly and yearly counts of the days that the city normally has heavy snowstorms and deep snow accumulated on the ground. Plus there's information on when Detroit can expect the first and last snowfalls of the season.

All the numbers are averages, based on climate data gathered from 1981 to 2010 at the Detroit Metroplitan Wayne County Airport, in Detroit's suburb of Romulus.

How Often it Snows in Detroit

This first table lists monthly and yearly totals for amount of snow and how many days it snows at least 0.1 inches (0.25 centimetres).

Average total snowfall and days with fresh snow in Detroit
Days   Inches Centimetres
10.2 January 12.5   31.8
  8.2 February 10.4   26.4
  5.4 March   6.9   17.5
  1.6 April   1.7     4.3
  0.2 October   0.1     0.3
  2.3 November   1.4     3.6
  8.5 December   9.7   24.6
36.4 Year 42.7 108.5

These averages don't show how much Detroit's snowfall varies from year to year.

In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 13.6 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive less than 4.8 inches for the month.

Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 17.8 inches, while the lightest years get seven inches or less.

Snow in February ranges from over 15.1 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 4.4 inches in light years.

When Detroit Has Its First & Last Snowfalls

Detroit's first snowfall of winter usually arrives in November. About one in five years also receive a light snowfall in October.

The season's last snowfall typically happens in April, although at least one in four Aprils receive no fresh snow.

Detroit is normally free of snow every year from May to September.

How Many Snowstorms Detroit Gets

Most days of snowfall in Detroit result in just a skiff of less than an inch of fresh snow left on the ground. For 13 days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals at least an inch.

Snowstorms of over five inches a day usually occur a couple times a year. But major blizzards that dump ten inches or more in one day are rare events that don't happen every year. Storms this severe normally show up only in January.

Number of days per month and year on average in Detroit with a total snowfall of at least 1, 3, 5 or 10 inches
1 inch
2.5 cm
3 inches
7.6 cm
  5 inches
12.7 cm
10 inches
25.4 cm
  3.7 1.1 January 0.4 0.2
  3.3 1.2 February 0.5 0.0
  2.1 0.7 March 0.3 0.0
  0.5 0.2 April 0.1 0.0
  0.5 0.0 November 0.0 0.0
  3.2 0.9 December 0.4 0.0
13.3 4.1 Year 1.7 0.2

How Much Snow Normally Accumulates in Detroit

For just under half of winter days, Detroit has at least an inch of snow on the ground.

Snow mostly accumulates during January. Typically, on six days in January and another three or four in February and in December, the snow covering Detroit gets to five or more inches deep. The city averages a couple of days annually when the snowpack depth tops ten inches.

Average total days per month and year in Detroit with snow depth of at least 1, 3, 5 or 10 inches on the ground
1 inch
2.5 cm
3 inches
7.6 cm
  5 inches
12.7 cm
10 inches
25.4 cm
17.4 11.0 January 5.9 1.3
13.0 7.7 February 3.9 0.9
5.8 3.2 March 1.7 0.0
0.6 0.3 April 0.1 0.0
1.0 0.2 November 0.0 0.0
8.9 5.6 December 3.6 0.3
46.7 28.0 Year 15.2 2.5
Reference

National Climatic Data Center. NOAA's 1981-2010 Climate Normals.

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