Chances of Snow on New Year's Day for USA Cities

New Year's Day is often snowy for much of the northeastern United States and the western mountains. Large American cities that are more likely than not to have some snow on January 1 include Buffalo, Rochester, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The major metro area scoring the best chance of a white New Year's is Minnesota's Minneapolis — St Paul, with its 77 percent probability of having at least an inch of snow on the ground. In fact there's likely to be three inches or more lying around.

Even so, several cities have a higher chance than Minneapolis of shovelling fresh snow on Jan 1. The odds are 30 percent or better that some snow lands on that date in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and near fifty-fifty in Rochester and Buffalo.

The table below gives the probabilties of snow on New Year's Day for 51 US cities.

Other cities with a good likelihood of enjoying a snowy Jan 1st include Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. They all have over a 40 percent chance of seeing an inch of snow around that day.

More potentially snowy cities then are Pittsburgh and Denver, which have better than one in three odds of snow. For St. Louis, Cincinnati and Providence the odds run about one in five.

Overall, any city where it can snow, is more likely to see the white stuff at New Year's than to have a white Christmas.

Probability (%) of having Snow on the Ground of at least 1 inch deep or Snowfall of at least 0.1 inches on January 1.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Atlanta, Georgia 2 2
Austin, Texas 0 0
Baltimore, Maryland 8 6
Birmingham, Alabama 0 1
Boston, Massachusetts 17
Buffalo, New York 58 46
Charlotte, North Carolina 2 2
Chicago, Illinois 41 25
Cincinnati, Ohio 21 19
Cleveland, Ohio 45 35
Columbus, Ohio 27 24
Dallas, Texas 0 1
Denver, Colorado 34 15
Detroit, Michigan 41 30
Hartford, Connecticut 17
Houston, Texas 0 0
Indianapolis, Indiana 30 20
Percent chance of snow on New Year's Day.
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Jacksonville, Florida 0 0
Kansas City, Missouri 22 12
Las Vegas, Nevada 0 0
Los Angeles, California 0 0
Louisville, Kentucky 12 10
Memphis, Tennessee 2 2
Miami, Florida 0 0
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 50 28
Minneapolis, Minnesota 77 29
Nashville, Tennessee 2 4
New Orleans, Louisiana 0 0
New York, New York 16 9
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 5 4
Orlando, Florida 0 0
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 11 9
Phoenix, Arizona 0 0
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 35 32
Chances of a white New Year (percent)
City Snow on Ground Snowfall
Portland, Oregon 4 3
Providence, Rhode Island 20 15
Raleigh, North Carolina 3 2
Richmond, Virginia 7 4
Riverside, California 0 0
Rochester, New York 56 50
Sacramento, California 0
Salt Lake City, Utah 51 25
San Antonio, Texas 0 0
San Diego, California 0 0
San Francisco, California 0 0
San Jose, California 0 0
Seattle, Washington 3 4
St. Louis, Missouri 20 12
Tampa, Florida 0 0
Virginia Beach, Virginia 3
Washington, DC 6 6

About the Data

The snow probabilities were calculated by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center based on weather data collected from 1991 to 2020.

These major cities represent the 51 metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2010, according to the US Census Bureau. A complete list of America's largest urban centers is available here.


Imke Durre and Michael Squires. 2015. White Christmas? An Application of NOAA's 1981-2010 Daily Normals. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.

US City Snowfall
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