We’ve had some warm winters without snow and some cold ones and some snowy ones. Temperature records go back to 1878 and official snow records back to at least 1949 but with some missing data.
The record shows that Atlanta winters are typically mild with little or no snow. I’ve lived here 33 years and I can attest to that.
The long-term average is just 2 inches of snow falling on an average of one day in January and one day in February. In the winter of 1968 it snowed on seven days.
The most snow in one day officially in Atlanta was 8.3 inches on January 23, 1940.
YEARLY AVERAGE SNOW AMOUNT:
Last winter the NW suburbs saw about 5 minutes of heavy snow then the sun came out. There was also some snow in Central Georgia. That was it for last years warmer than normal winter:
The year before 2017 the NW suburbs got 6-12 inches while the city got 2.3 and the East and Southeast suburbs got zero.
Other notable (top 10) official snow amounts since 2000 are: 2009 4.2, 2010 3.6, 2011 3.7, 2014 2.6, 2018 2.9 inches. Most were in January followed by February then March.
For the last 18 years this mild trend has been true with the Fall and early part of winter (October-December) averaging warmer than normal:
AVERAGE WINTER (December-February) TEMPERATURE DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL SINCE 2000:
The coldest part of winter has on average come late winter into early Spring:
So you can see for yourself that since 2000 alone winters here are mild on average, NOT cold and snowy.
Winter precipitation since 2000 has averaged near-normal in most of the state:
How about the most recent decade?
WINTER AVERAGE SINCE 2008:
So an increase in precipitation (mostly rain) since 2000 and quite a bit warmer than normal December-February since 2000.
7 out of the past 20 winters ( 35% have been colder than normal, 13 of the past 20 (65%) have been warmer than normal.
Since the year 2000 the yearly official snowfall at Hartsfield has averaged 2.04 inches, pretty much the same as the average dating back to 1928.
YEAR AND TOTAL SNOW THAT YEAR:
Note: winter is December-February but calendar year is Jan-January that’s why it looks like we had 2.4 last winter in chart above, but that’s calendar year not winter only. So far 2019 has had no snow at Hartsfield officially.
So clearly snow is the exception to the no-snow rule and we usually don’t get much when it happens. If it’s going to happen January is the most likely month followed closely by February and March in that order.
WINTER TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES SINCE 2000:
So there you have it. I love snow. But dreaming of a White Christmas or snow and cold anytime of winter when we live in the South is a fools errand. Enjoy it when it comes if you like it. But if you need it then a move North of the Ohio River is in order lol, or at least up way high in the mountains of the Carolina’s or TN.
My first estimate of what THIS winter might bring will be at the end of this month.
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