Big Bear Lake Snowfall Totals & Snowstorm Averages

This page pulls together information on when, how much and how often Big Bear Lake, California has snow.

There are data and descriptions of how many days it snows and the total amount of snowfall that Big Bear Lake usually gets. There are also monthly and yearly counts of the days that the resort town normally has heavy snowstorms. Plus there's information on when Big Bear Lake 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 30-year averages, based mainly on weather data gathered from 1991 to 2020 at Big Bear Lake, a mountain town in the San Bernardino National Forest of southern California. The snow depth data are for 1981 to 2010.

How Often it Snows in Big Bear Lake

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 in Big Bear Lake, 2010 to 2019
Days   Inches Centi­metres
2.5 January 16.8 42.7
1.9 February 11.2 28.4
1.7 March 8.4 21.4
0.3 April 1.4 3.5
0.5 May 0.8 2.0
0.0 June 0.0 0.0
0.1 October 0.3 0.8
1.1 November 5.6 14.3
3.0 December 12.1 30.7
11.4 Year 52.7 133.8
30-year snowfall averages in Big Bear Lake, 1991 to 2020
Days   Inches Centi­metres
3.5 January 13.4 34.0
3.5 February 14.3 36.3
2.7 March 11.7 29.7
1.2 April 3.0 7.6
0.3 May 0.6 1.5
0.1 June 0.0 0.0
0.3 October 1.2 3.0
1.1 November 3.4 8.6
3.3 December 11.0 27.9
16.0 Year 58.6 148.8

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

In December, for instance, one in four years totals over 18.1 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years receive no more than four inches for the month.

Similarly in January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years amounts to over 21 inches, while the lightest years get less than four inches.

New snow for February ranges from over 22 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 3.2 inches in light years.

When Big Bear Lake Has Its First & Last Snowfalls

The first snowfall of winter for Big Bear Lake can arrive as early as October or as late as December. Often the snow starts flying in November.

The season's last snowfall for the ski resort town usually happens in March or April, although some fresh snow can arrive in May.

Big Bear Lake is normally free of snow every year from June to September.

How Many Snowstorms Big Bear Lake Gets

Most days of snowfall in Big Bear Lake leave at least an inch of fresh snow. For eight days a year on average, the amount of new snow totals three inches or more.

Snowstorms of over five inches a day normally occur four or five times a year. Typically one or two of these storms are major blizzards that dump ten inches or more. Snow events this severe can descend on the town anytime from November to March.

Number of days per month and year on average in Big Bear Lake 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
3.0 2.0 January 1.1 0.4
3.2 2.0 February 1.1 0.4
2.5 1.4 March 0.9 0.3
0.9 0.3 April 0.2 0.0
0.2 0.1 May 0.0 0.0
0.2 0.1 October 0.0 0.0
1.0 0.6 November 0.1 0.1
2.8 1.6 December 0.9 0.2
13.8 8.1 Year 4.3 1.4

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 (NCEI). Climate Normals.

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