CHARLOTTE, NC — First snowfall of the winter. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s pretty much a given every year in the Queen City.
Although it averages only a few inches per year, Charlotte has received at least a trace of the white stuff every winter season since snowfall began in 1893.
But will this century-long streak end soon? Let’s look at the data.
As you already know, the Charlotte area, like most of the country, is getting warmer. Half of the 20 warmest years have occurred since 2007 — including the past seven years in a row.
The mercury in Charlotte has also been much higher since the turn of the millennium. The average temperature in Charlotte Douglas from 2000 to 2022 is about one degree Celsius warmer than before 2000. This may not seem like much, but with thin margins for error along the rain/snow line in the Carolinas, it has a big impact on our snowfall.
During the same two time periods mentioned earlier, average snowfall dropped from 5.6 inches per year to just 4 inches. That’s a drop of more than an inch and a half — which is usually enough to close Char-Meck schools for the day on its own.
So here’s the thing. Snowfall — especially heavy snowfall — is becoming less common in Charlotte. CLT recently went 1,134 days without an inch of snow in Charlotte from December 2018 to just last year, the fourth-longest such streak in history.
If this warming trend continues, our first snowless winter could arrive sooner rather than later.
Is snow in Charlotte getting rarer?
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