Stormiest Cities in United States

While many American cities often put on wild displays of wicked weather, no single large city outperforms the rest for all types of storms. New York, New Orleans and Miami, among others, all sit high in the ratings for stormiest cities in the USA.

Here you'll find lists ranking major cities in the United States that most often have heavy rainstorms, severe snowstorms, thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Buffalo excels at enduring massive snowstorms. The city normally has four days each winter when fresh snowfall totals five inches or more. One of those days on average amounts to at least ten inches. But Buffalo doesn't rank among the top cities for other kinds of major storms.

Making the top rankings on three of the stormiest city lists is New York City. It's among the cities which most often have major snowstorms, heavy rains and even hurricanes. New York stands out as the only city to appear on the lists for both rain and snow storms.

Several cities do make three lists for their high counts of major rainstorms, thunderstorms and hurricanes. All are cities in Florida or along the Gulf Coast: Houston Texas, New Orleans Louisiana and the Florida cities of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Of these, Miami leads the pack as the only city to make the top three for how often it has all types of storms.

The major cities included in these weather rankings represent the 56 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2020, according to the US Census Bureau.

You can also look at rankings for America's cities with the calmest weather.

Most Heavy Rainstorms

Miami and New Orleans top the list of US cities that tolerate the greatest number of major rainstorms a year. These cities average over 20 days annually when an inch or more of rain pelts down.

Altogether, 12 American cities put up with over 13 days a year of heavy rain.

Average number of days a year with 1 inch (25 millimetres) or more of precipitation
City Days
Miami, Florida 20.6
New Orleans, Louisiana 20.1
Memphis, Tennessee 17.9
Birmingham, Alabama 17.7
Houston, Texas 17.0
Tampa, Florida 15.0
Atlanta, Georgia 14.9
Orlando, Florida 14.4
Jacksonville, Florida 13.7
New York, New York 13.6
Nashville, Tennessee 13.6
Virginia Beach, Virginia 13.2

Most Severe Snowstorms

Buffalo most often digs out from under heavy, single-day dumps of snow, typically four times a year. It's neighboring city, Rochester is close behind.

These 15 American cities endure over one day a year when at least 5 inches of snow lands.

Total days annually on average with 5 inches (12.7 centimetres) or more of snowfall
City Days
Buffalo, New York 4.4
Rochester, New York 3.9
Boston, Massachusetts 3.1
Grand Rapids, Michigan 3.0
Hartford, Connecticut 2.9
Cleveland, Ohio 2.5
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2.1
Minneapolis, Minnesota 2.1
Salt Lake City, Utah 2.1
New York, New York 1.9
Providence, Rhode Island 1.7
Denver, Colorado 1.7
Detroit, Michigan 1.7
Chicago, Illinois 1.4
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1.1
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1.1

City links take you to more detailed information on snowfall, snowstorms and snow accumulation for that location.

Most Frequent Thunderstorms

Tampa offers your best chances in a major American city for watching electrical storms. Tampa typically sees lightning on 83 days a year.

These ten cities have the most thunderstorms, all at over 50 days a year.

Average number of days annually with thunderstorms
City Days
Tampa, Florida 82.7
Orlando, Florida 81.8
Miami, Florida 72.3
Jacksonville, Florida 68.4
New Orleans, Louisiana 67.2
Houston, Texas 60.9
Birmingham, Alabama 58.8
Memphis, Tennessee 53.4
Nashville, Tennessee 51.7
Kansas City, Missouri 51.4

Most Hurricanes

Miami is the clear leader at suffering through hurricanes. From the years 1900 to 2011, the city saw 22 hurricanes approach within 50 miles. Most of these were category H1 and H2 storms, with winds up to 95 knots or 109 miles per hour (176 kilometres per hour). But Miami also had more category H3 to H5 storms than did any other large US city.

These are the 11 cities that three or more hurricanes approach close during those 112 years.

Total number of hurricanes to approach within 50 miles (80 kilometres) between 1900 and 2011
All City H1 - H2 H3 - H5
22 Miami, Florida 13 9
14 Orlando, Florida 10 4
14 Houston, Texas 8 6
10 Tampa, Florida 5 5
7 New Orleans, Louisiana 5 2
6 Jacksonville, Florida 5 1
4 Virginia Beach, Virginia 4 0
4 Hartford, Connecticut 4 0
3 New York, New York 3 0
3 Boston, Massachusetts 3 0
3 Providence, Rhode Island 3 0

The snow and rain numbers here are averages based on weather measurements collected for the US National Centers for Environmental Information from 1991 to 2020. The thunderstorm data use 1961 to 1990 averages.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Historical Hurricane Tracks.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.

World Meteorological Organization. Standard Normals. Number Days with Thunder.

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