Chances of Snow on New Year's Day for USA Cities

New Year's Day is often snowy for much of the northeastern United States and the western mountains. Large American cities that are more likely than not have snow on January 1 include Buffalo, Rochester, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The major metro area scoring the best chance of a white New Year's is Minnesota's Minneapolis — St Paul, with its 78 percent probability of having at least an inch of snow on the ground. In fact there's likely to be three inches or more lying around.

Even so, several cities have a higher chance than Minneapolis of shovelling fresh snow on Jan 1. The odds are better than 30 percent that some snow lands on that date in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and near fifty-fifty in Rochester and Buffalo.

The table below gives the probabilties of snow on New Year's Day for 51 US cities.

Other cities with a good likelihood of enjoying a snowy Jan 1st include Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. They all have well over a 40 percent chance of seeing an inch of snow around that day.

More potentially snowy cities then are Pittsburgh, Hartford and Denver, which have better than one in three odds of snow. For St. Louis, Boston and Providence the odds run about one in four.

Overall, any city where it can snow, is more likely to see the white stuff at New Year's than to have a white Christmas.

Probability (%) of having Snow on the Ground of at least 1 inch deep or Snowfall of at least 0.1 inches on January 1.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Atlanta, Georgia 2 2
Austin, Texas 0.5 0.5
Baltimore, Maryland 11 8
Birmingham, Alabama 0.3 0.6
Boston, Massachusetts 24 19
Buffalo, New York 60 48
Charlotte, North Carolina 3 2
Chicago, Illinois 43 24
Cincinnati, Ohio 15 10
Cleveland, Ohio 48 38
Columbus, Ohio 28 26
Dallas, Texas 0.3 1
Denver, Colorado 40 17
Detroit, Michigan 45 30
Hartford, Connecticut 36 18
Houston, Texas 0 0.3
Indianapolis, Indiana 30 22
Percent chance of snow on New Year's Day.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Jacksonville, Florida 0 0
Kansas City, Missouri 19 9
Las Vegas, Nevada 0 0.2
Los Angeles, California 0 0
Louisville, Kentucky 13 11
Memphis, Tennessee 3 3
Miami, Florida 0 0
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 55 28
Minneapolis, Minnesota 78 29
Nashville, Tennessee 4 5
New Orleans, Louisiana 0 0.2
New York, New York 15 10
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 8 5
Orlando, Florida 0 0
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 10 10
Phoenix, Arizona 0 0
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 36 32
Chances of a white New Year (percent)
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Portland, Oregon 5 4
Providence, Rhode Island 26 17
Raleigh, North Carolina 4 2
Richmond, Virginia 7 5
Riverside, California 0 0
Rochester, New York 59 53
Sacramento, California 0 0
Salt Lake City, Utah 56 29
San Antonio, Texas 0.4 0.4
San Diego, California 0 0
San Francisco, California 0 0
San Jose, California 0 0
Seattle, Washington 4 4
St. Louis, Missouri 24 13
Tampa, Florida 0 0
Virginia Beach, Virginia 2 3
Washington, DC 9 7

About the Data

The snow probabilities were calculated by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center based on weather data collected from 1981 to 2010.

These major cities represent the 51 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2010, according to the US Census Bureau. A complete list of America's largest urban centers is available here.


Imke Durre and Michael Squires. 2015. White Christmas? An Application of NOAA's 1981-2010 Daily Normals. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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

US City Snowfall
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