Washington DC Snowfall Totals & Accumulation Averages

This page pulls together information on when, how much and how often Washington DC has snow.

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

The first set of monthly snow totals are averages for 2010 to 2019. All the other numbers are long-term historical averages based on weather data gathered from 1981 to 2010 at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

How Often it Snows in Washington

The next two tables list monthly and yearly totals for amount of snow and how many days it snows at least 0.1 inches (0.25 centimetres).

10-year snowfall averages at Washington DC, 2010 to 2019
Days   Inches Centi­metres
1.2 January 6.0 15.3
1.6 February 6.1 15.6
0.8 March 2.7 6.7
0.0 April 0.0 0.0
0.1 November 0.1 0.4
0.2 December 0.6 1.5
3.9 Year 15.6 39.6
30-year snowfall averages at Washington DC, 1981 to 2010
Days   Inches Centi­metres
3.0 January 5.6 14.2
2.4 February 4.8 12.2
0.9 March 1.3 3.3
0.1 April 0.0 0.0
0.2 November 0.5 1.3
1.5 December 2.3 5.8
8.1 Year 14.5 36.8

These averages don't show how much the snowfall in Washington varies from year to year.

In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 2.5 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive no snow for the month.

Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 6.4 inches, while the lightest years get less than 1.9 inches.

New snow for February ranges from over 5.7 inches in heavy snowfall years to under one-quarter of an inch in light years.

When Washington Has Its First & Last Snowfalls

The first snowfall of winter for Washington usually arrives in December, although one in four Decembers sees no snow. In rare years, November does get snow.

The snow season ends most often in March. For one out of four years, Washington's last snowfall occurs as early as February. Occasionally a few snowflakes fall in April.

Washington is normally free of snow every year from May to October.

How Many Snowstorms Washington DC Gets

About half the days with snowfall in Washington leave just a skiff, amounting to less than an inch, of fresh snow on the ground. For four days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals at least an inch.

Snowstorms of over five inches a day don't happen every year. But major blizzards that dump ten inches or more in one day are even rarer events that occur about twice a decade.

Number of days per month and year on average in Washington DC 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
1.6 0.6 January 0.2 0.1
1.3 0.6 February 0.3 0.1
0.4 0.1 March 0.1 0.0
0.1 0.0 November 0.0 0.0
0.7 0.2 December 0.1 0.0
4.1 1.5 Year 0.7 0.2

How Much Snow Normally Accumulates in Washington

Snow mostly accumulates in Washington during January and February. Typically, on one or two days in January and in February, the snow covering Washington gets to five or more inches deep.

Average total days per month and year in Washington DC 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
4.5 2.5 January 1.7 0.6
4.5 2.6 February 1.5 0.6
0.8 0.4 March 0.1 0.0
0.2 0.1 November 0.1 0.0
2.0 1.0 December 0.4 0.1
12.0 6.6 Year 3.8 1.3

Jay Lawrimore, Ron Ray, Scott Applequist, Bryant Korzeniewski, Matthew Menne. 2016. Global Summary of the Month and Year, Version 1.0. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. 1981-2010 U.S. Climate Normals. (Data Access. FTP.)

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