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Top 10 snowfalls per decade - Detroit, MI - Eastern US Weather Forums

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Top 10 snowfalls per decade - Detroit, MI


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#1 Michsnowfreak

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:31 PM

The winter climate of the Detroit area is characterized by frequent snowfall and snowcover, often having a chance to build a decent snowpack with successive snowfalls. But the huge snowstorms are few and far between. DTW averages 1.3 snowstorms per winter of 6"+.

Here is a look at the top 10 snowstorms officially for Detroit for each decade. The 1940s and their futility are nothing short of amazing.

Though it has nothing to do with a snowstorm, I included the average yearly snowfall for each decade.

Also included the number of 6"+ snowstorms, and the 2000s had the most 6"+ snowstorms of any decade the last 100 years.

2000s (avg yearly snow 45.3”) -- 16 storms of 6"+

01) 12.2" - Jan 22, 2005
02) 9.0" - Dec 15/16, 2007
03) 8.9" - Dec 22/23, 2004
04) 8.5" - Feb 14/15, 2007
05) 7.9" - Dec 19, 2008
06) 7.6" - Jan 30/31, 2002
07) 7.5" - Mar 4/5, 2008
08) 7.3" - Feb 22/23, 2003
09) 7.3" - Mar 21/22, 2008
10) 7.2" - Apr 5/6, 2009

1990s (avg yearly snow 37.2”) -- 11 storms of 6"+
01) 11.3” – Jan 2/3, 1999
02) 11.1” – Jan 14, 1992
03) 10.3” – Jan 6/7, 1994
04) 8.3” – Mar 4/5, 1999
05) 7.6” – Dec 6/7, 1994
06) 7.5” – Mar 10, 1993
07) 7.1” – Mar 21/22, 1992
08) 6.8” – Feb 13/14, 1991
09) 6.6” – Mar 4, 1993
10) 6.4” – Feb 7/8, 1994

1980s (avg yearly snow 45.2”) -- 11 storms of 6"+

01) 11.8” – Jan 30/31, 1982
02) 8.6” – Feb 10/11, 1981
03) 8.2” – Feb 11/12, 1988
04) 8.1” – Jan 9/10, 1987
05) 7.6” – Dec 21/22, 1981
06) 7.6” – Apr 5/6, 1982
07) 7.3” – Mar 20/21, 1983
08) 7.2” – Dec 28, 1987
09) 6.9” – Feb 27/28, 1984
10) 6.1” – Mar 4, 1982

1970s (avg yearly snow 45.6”) -- 14 storms of 6"+

01) 19.3” – Dec 1/2, 1974
02) 11.2” – Dec 19/20, 1973
03) 10.1” – Jan 25-27, 1978
04) 9.9” – Mar 16/17, 1973
05) 8.3” – Mar 17/18, 1977
06) 7.0” – Jan 1, 1978
07) 6.6” – Jan 9/10, 1977
08) 6.5” – Dec 25/26, 1975
09) 6.4” – Dec 5, 1977
10) 6.4” – Dec 8/9, 1977


1960s (avg yearly snow 31.8”) -- 5 storms of 6"+

01) 11.0” – Feb 24/25, 1965
02) 7.7” – Mar 22/23, 1968
03) 7.6” – Jan 13/14, 1968
04) 6.0” – Feb 24/25, 1960
05) 6.0” – Nov 2/3, 1966
06) 5.7” – Dec 18/19, 1966
07) 5.2” – Dec 10, 1966
08) 4.8” – Feb 21, 1962
09) 4.8” – Dec 31, 1969
10) 4.7” – Dec 6/7, 1962

1950s (avg yearly snow 37.8”) -- 5 storms of 6"+

01) 9.0” – Jan 9/10, 1957
02) 6.8” – Dec 17/18, 1951
03) 6.6” – Feb 28/Mar 1, 1954
04) 6.3” – Nov 25/26, 1950
05) 6.2” – Dec 25, 1951
06) 5.7” – Nov 6/7, 1951
07) 5.6” – Feb 21/22, 1950
08) 5.5” – Mar 19, 1951
09) 5.4” – Dec 14/15, 1951
10) 5.3” – Mar 23, 1956

1940s (avg yearly snow 27.6”) -- 1 storm of 6"+
01) 6.3” – Feb 10/11, 1944
02) 5.5” – Dec 10/11, 1944
03) 4.8” – Jan 18/19, 1943
04) 4.4” – Dec 14/15, 1947
05) 4.2” – Apr 9/10, 1942
06) 4.2” – Dec 21, 1946
07) 4.1” – Mar 27, 1940
08) 3.8” – Nov 29/30, 1940
09) 3.8” – Nov 28/29, 1942
10) 3.7” – Dec 17, 1942

1930s (avg yearly snow 32.9”) -- 9 storms of 6"+

01) 11.1” – Mar 7/8, 1931
02) 9.2” – Mar 26/27, 1934
03) 9.0” – Nov 15/16, 1932
04) 7.6” – Jan 30/31, 1939
05) 7.5” – Mar 21/22, 1932
06) 7.3” – Jan 8/9, 1930
07) 6.5” – Feb 4, 1932
08) 6.0” – Mar 24/25, 1930
09) 6.0” – Mar 25, 1933
10) 4.6” – Feb 24/25, 1939

1920s (avg yearly snow 46.1”) -- 14 storms of 6"+
01) 13.8” – Dec 18/19, 1929
02) 12.1” – Jan 13/14, 1927
03) 10.0” – Dec 14, 1922
04) 8.9” – Feb 12/13, 1926
05) 8.6” – Feb 18/19, 1926
06) 7.2” – Dec 4/5, 1926
07) 7.0” – Feb 26/27, 1921
08) 6.7” – Dec 26/27, 1920
09) 6.6” – Jan 14/15, 1929
10) 6.2” – Nov 15, 1925 & Dec 23/24, 1925

1910s (avg yearly snow 39.7”) -- 9 storms of 6"+
01) 12.3” – Feb 9, 1911
02) 11.4” – Jan 13/14, 1910
03) 9.0” – Mar 14/15, 1912
04) 9.5” – Mar 21/22, 1916
05) 8.0” – Dec 24/25, 1915
06) 7.0” – Jan 31, 1914
07) 6.5” – Mar 26/27, 1913
08) 6.1” – Jan 3/4, 1914
09) 6.0” – Jan 21, 1917
10) 5.8” – Mar 8/9, 1919

#2 tamarack

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:59 PM

The Maine foothills get about 20% less snow than the nearby mts, but are nearly as good at catching large events. Here are the decadal top 10s, with dates only for top 5s (except for 2000s). Average snow season over the full 116 yeears is 89.9".

1890s (7 yr)
Decade avg: 103.1 Storms 10"+: 16
19.0...2/22-24/98
16.0...2/15-16/98
14.0...3/22-24/99
12.8...1/20-21/97
12.5...2/20-21/98 (2/98 totaled 63.5", 2nd snowiest month ever.)
4 @ 12.0, 10.5

1900s
Decade avg: 91.7 Storms 10"+: 23
21.0...3/1-2/00
20.0...4/9-10/07
16.0...12/5/00
16.0...1/17/09
15.0...11/13-14/01
14.5, 14.0, 2 @ 12.5, 2 @ 12.0

1910s
Decade avg: 84.9 Storms 10"+: 11
15.5...1/15-16/12
15.5...12/1-2/17
14.0...2/27/12
13.0...2/14/14
11.5...12/24/13
11.5...12/15-16/16
2 @ 11.0, 2 @ 10.0

1920s
Decade avg: 101.6 Storms 10"+: 18
23.0...2/5-7/20
19.0...3/1-4/2/22
18.5...4/22-24/28
18.0...12/28-29/22
17.0...4/12-14/29
16.0, 14.0, 13.5, 2 @ 13.0

1930s
Decade avg: 84.8 Storms 10"+: 15
25.0...3/14/39
22.0...1/22/35
14.0...2/18-19/31
14.0...3/9-10/31
14.0...1/1-2/35
14.0...1/1-2/38
2 @ 13.5, 2 @ 13.0

1940s
Decade avg: 80.0 Storms 10"+: 13
30.0...11/22-23/43
18.0...1/6-7/44
16.5...4/21-22/40
16.0...12/28-30/46
13.5...3/12/41
12.5, 12.4, 2 @ 11.0, 10.3

1950s
Decade avg: 83.5 Storms 10"+: 15
22.8...2/17-18/52
16.0...2/17-18/54
15.8...3/15-17/58
15.6...2/17-18/55 (Wonder if they expected a big storm on 2/17-18/56.)
15.3...2/28-3/1/58
15.0, 12.8, 12.2, 2 @ 11.0

1960s
Decade avg: 93.0 Storms 10"+: 22
43.0...2/25-28/69 (Snow depth 84" at the end of this one.)
21.0...2/19-20/60
19.0...1/7-8/69
18.0...11/21-22/61 (Est. from nearby locs, as snow was msg.)
17.0...2/26/66
16.0, 15.5, 15.0, 14.0, 13.0

1970s
Decade avg: 108.4 Storms 10"+: 26
22.0...2/6-7/78
20.0...4/3-5/75
19.0...3/17/76
18.0...1/17-18/79
15.0...12/1/72
15.0...1/14-15/78
5 @ 14.0

1980s
Decade avg: 72.8 Storms 10"+: 19
23.0...3/14-15/84
13.0...3/5-6/86
13.0...1/3/87
13.0...1/11-12/87
13.0...2/13-14/88
12.0, 4 @ 11.0

1990s
Decade avg: 91.5 Storms 10"+: 19
18.0...3/14/93
17.0...2/22-24/93
16.0...1/30-31/90
15.0...3/6-7/93
15.0...1/18/94

2000s
Decade avg: 93.9 Storms 10"+: 23
40.0...12/6-7/03 (Still don't believe it; 25-30 more reasonable)
26.6...2/22-23/09
24.0...2/5-6/01
23.0...2/14-15/07
19.3...12/21-22/08
19.0...1/4/03
19.0...2/10-11/05
18.0...3/30-31/01
18.0...4/4-5/07
16.0...3/8-9/05
Nine of ten in odd-numbered years, not a good sign for this winter, though we're now into the next decade.

#3 Michsnowfreak

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 07:21 PM

Wow very impressive numbers tamarack. You really are in the perfect location. I usually get more snowcover that the midatlantic and much of the east coast, and they usually get the bigger storms...but you get to enjoy both.

Of course many of the storms on the list where DTW's official total you see listed here was 7-12", many nearby reports were in the 10-16" range, but that goes without saying in any storm for any place that the official station will not usually be representative of the best part of the storm in the area.

Ill add Detroits 10"+ snowstorms from 1870-1909 (I dont have complete enough data to compile a top 10). 1870-79 snowfall data was inconsistent (ie missing data) so not considered official until 1880.

1900s (avg yearly snow 46.3"):
1) 16.1" -- Mar 4/5, 1900
2) 14.0" -- Feb 28/Mar 1, 1900
3) 12.6" -- Feb 19, 1908
4) 11.2" -- Feb 3/4, 1901
5) 10.0" -- Feb 4, 1900

1890s (avg yearly snow 42.7"):
1) 12.8" -- Feb 12/13, 1894
2) 12.3" -- Mar 3/4, 1895
3) 11.4" -- Mar 4/5, 1899
4) 10.6" -- Dec 4/5, 1898

1880s (avg yearly snow 47.3"):

1) 24.5" -- Apr 6, 1886
2) 12.5" -- Jan 31/Feb, 1881

1870s:
1) 15.7" -- Jan 31/Feb 1, 1878
2) 14.0" -- Feb 28/Mar 1, 1875
3) 11.7" -- Jan 7/8, 1874

#4 Collinsville

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 07:35 PM

View PostMichsnowfreak, on 18 January 2010 - 10:31 PM, said:


11.0 Feb 24/25, 1965

11.1 Mar 7/8, 1931


I'd be swinging from the rafters if I ever went 34 years without a 10" storm.

#5 Michsnowfreak

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 08:08 PM

View PostCollinsville, on 19 January 2010 - 07:35 PM, said:

I'd be swinging from the rafters if I ever went 34 years without a 10" storm.

The 1930s-1960s were a notorious stretch of anemic winters in this area. It really defies climatology of things seen before and since then. Most of the Detroit area eclipsed 10" with the March 1934 storm, and parts of the area did with the Jan 30, 1939 storm...and again much of the area eclipsed 10" on Jan 9, 1957. But it is a reasonable assumption that NO ONE in southeast MI saw a 10"+ snowstorm from 1939 until 1957, or 18 years (few times snow depth exceeded 10" however).

There were a few decent winters in each decade of course, but overall it was just crazy. One oddity was the cold winter of 1947-48 when despite only 26.6" of snow falling, snow literally covered the ground ALL winter long, making it the 3rd most snowcover days on record despite being the 21st least snowy winter on record. Then there was Dec 1951 when 16" covered the ground at Christmas time after successive snowstorms.

But overall this period defies climatology. Look at this decadal breakdown for Detroit:

......avg snw....# 6"+ stms...peak obs time snow depth
1880s---47.3”-------?---------25"
1890s---42.7”-------?---------18"
1900s---46.3”-------?---------26"
1910s---39.7”-------9---------14"
1920s---46.1”------14---------14"
1930s---32.9”-------9---------10"
1940s---27.6”-------1---------11"
1950s---37.8”-------5---------16"
1960s---31.8”-------5---------11"

1970s---45.6”------14---------19"
1980s---45.2”------11---------18"
1990s---37.2”------11---------24"
2000s---45.3”------16---------14"

#6 tamarack

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:25 AM

Edited my earlier post to add decade averages and number of storms 10"+ - 2000s might be 24 if Farmington got 10" on 12/9/09 - 8.5" IMBY but 1.00" LE, so they might have had enough fluff factor to reach double digits. Note that the 1940s were the worst decade for 10"+ storms and 2nd worst for snow. Also interesting is that the best decade for snowfall (1970s) came immediately before the worst.

I chose 10" as the cutoff because of sample size, and because it can be impossible to separate events using just the available numbers. Prime example is this 5-day sequence from 2/1898 (snow depth not recorded):

1898-02-20....27....20....0.35....4.0
1898-02-21....23....12....1.00....8.5
1898-02-22....28....15....0.80....4.0
1898-02-23....32....27....1.20...10.0
1898-02-24....37....27....0.50....5.0

Using the temp data and, especially, data from nearby stations (Gardiner, Lewiston) with 1890s info, I'm quite sure this period had 12.5" from storm #1 and 19.0" from #2.

Trying to carry things to the 6" level is more than I care to attempt. Farmington has recorded 487 calendar days with 6" or more snow. I'd guess that the individual events with multiple 6"+ days about equal the 6"+ storms with no 6" days - 220 events is bad enough; nearly 500, no thanks.

#7 ChescoPaWxman

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:57 AM

I must have had bad luck...I worked periodically in the DTW area from 2004 to 2007 and never saw much snow cover there....certainly more over toward Grand Rapids but usually found more snowcover in the Philly burbs then there.


View PostMichsnowfreak, on 19 January 2010 - 07:21 PM, said:

Wow very impressive numbers tamarack. You really are in the perfect location. I usually get more snowcover that the midatlantic and much of the east coast, and they usually get the bigger storms...but you get to enjoy both.

Of course many of the storms on the list where DTW's official total you see listed here was 7-12", many nearby reports were in the 10-16" range, but that goes without saying in any storm for any place that the official station will not usually be representative of the best part of the storm in the area.

Ill add Detroits 10"+ snowstorms from 1870-1909 (I dont have complete enough data to compile a top 10). 1870-79 snowfall data was inconsistent (ie missing data) so not considered official until 1880.

1900s (avg yearly snow 46.3"):
1) 16.1" -- Mar 4/5, 1900
2) 14.0" -- Feb 28/Mar 1, 1900
3) 12.6" -- Feb 19, 1908
4) 11.2" -- Feb 3/4, 1901
5) 10.0" -- Feb 4, 1900

1890s (avg yearly snow 42.7"):
1) 12.8" -- Feb 12/13, 1894
2) 12.3" -- Mar 3/4, 1895
3) 11.4" -- Mar 4/5, 1899
4) 10.6" -- Dec 4/5, 1898

1880s (avg yearly snow 47.3"):

1) 24.5" -- Apr 6, 1886
2) 12.5" -- Jan 31/Feb, 1881

1870s:
1) 15.7" -- Jan 31/Feb 1, 1878
2) 14.0" -- Feb 28/Mar 1, 1875
3) 11.7" -- Jan 7/8, 1874


#8 Collinsville

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 05:51 PM

Detroit must do better than the Philly burbs for snow cover??

Anywho here's my snow cover averages (# of days with 1" or more on ground) for the burbs west of Hartford

Nov: 1.3
Dec: 13.2
Jan: 24.2
Feb: 23.3
Mar: 16.5
Apr: 1.3

Year: 79.2 (1999-2000 through 08-09)

Most was 114 in 00-01
least was 32 in 01-02

#9 Michsnowfreak

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:30 PM

View PostChescoPaWxman, on 20 January 2010 - 11:57 AM, said:

I must have had bad luck...I worked periodically in the DTW area from 2004 to 2007 and never saw much snow cover there....certainly more over toward Grand Rapids but usually found more snowcover in the Philly burbs then there.

hmm are you talking deeper snowcover or more lasting snowcover (I was talking more lasting cover)? I suppose if a big storm had just hit Philly the snow could be deeper, and I know the burbs probably get more snow than PHL, but I dont see how its possible for that area to have more snowcover, unless of course as you said you always came at the wrong time.

fwiw I can tell you that snowcover was below normal in 2005-06 and 2006-07. A typical winter will see thaws that periodically reduce the snowcover to patches or at times nothing (the godawful Jan 2006 had like 4 days with 1"+ snowcover)....but the burbs to Detroits NW can very typically see snow cover the ground most to all of the winter. Even in the so-so winters the bare periods have patches and piles.

View PostCollinsville, on 20 January 2010 - 05:51 PM, said:

Detroit must do better than the Philly burbs for snow cover??

Definitely.

1"+ snowcover days......
............DTW....PHL
2009-10...24......8 **thru 1/19/2010**
2008-09...60......9
2007-08...63......3
2006-07...43....15
2005-06...40....10
2004-05...62....23
2003-04...51....25
2002-03...63....43
2001-02...30......3
2000-01...67....21

Also the number of T snowcover days is much higher at DTW. And both areas are subject to usual lower-than-most-of-the-area airport snowcover, as well as their respective NW burbs seeing more anyway. But any way you slice it, there is now way that PHL burbs beat anyplace in SE MI for snowcover (storms are a different story).

#10 Jonger1150

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 03:53 PM

View PostCollinsville, on 19 January 2010 - 07:35 PM, said:

I'd be swinging from the rafters if I ever went 34 years without a 10" storm.


This area doesnt get many big storms. Its the desert of the US during the winter months. We get allot of Lake effect and nickle & Dime snows.

#11 gwhizkids

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 04:05 PM

View PostJonger1150, on 05 February 2010 - 03:53 PM, said:

This area doesnt get many big storms. Its the desert of the US during the winter months. We get allot of Lake effect and nickle & Dime snows.


I'd agree. I lived in the Detroit area for the first 37 years of my life. 10" was a BIG event. It wasn't til I got out here in the East that I realized how much more snow this area gets than Detroit. I've noticed though that it doesn't last as long and most years there's a more pronounced thaw between storms than in Detroit. Of course, this year is the year that proves the exception to the rule! The weather in interior CT has been VERY reminiscent of home this year. Posted Image





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