Erie, Pennsylvania, Has Broken Its All-Time Snow Season Record

Linda Lam
Published: February 7, 2018

The record for the snowiest season has been broken in Erie, Pennsylvania, and it's only early February.

This new record has been set because of Winter Storm Liam, which brought snow to the city on Wednesday.

(FORECAST: Erie, Pennsylvania Next 5 Days)

As of 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, the season's snowfall total was 152.1 inches at Erie International Airport, more than 12 feet of snow. This breaks the previous snowiest season of 2000-01 which had 149.1 inches. Snowfall records date back to the 1931-32 winter season, according to the National Weather Service.

This winter is the snowiest on record for Erie, Pennsylvania.

This is quite remarkable considering it is only early February. 

The average snowfall-to-date through Feb. 5 for Erie is 69.6 inches, which is less than half the amount that has fallen.

An average season sees 100.9 inches of snow pile up, indicating that about 30 inches of additional snow are generally expected for the remainder of the season. Any additional snowfall this season would just add to the already impressive season. 

(MORE: Extreme Snowfall Reports: How Reliable Are They?)

This winter season was given a jumpstart when an incredible 65.1 inches of snow accumulated from Christmas Eve through the morning of Dec. 27, courtesy of a stationary lake-effect snow band. For more information on this astounding lake-effect event, see below.

For the snow-fatigued in the area, the good news is that Lake Erie is 93.44 ice covered as of Feb. 4, according to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. When ice forms on the Great Lakes, the ability for lake-effect snow to be produced is greatly decreased.

Christmas Week Historic Lake Effect Snow Recap

From Christmas Eve through the morning of Dec. 27, Erie's snow total was an astounding 65.1 inches. A stationary lake-effect snow band off Lake Erie dumped 34 inches of snow at Erie International Airport on Christmas Day alone, with an additional 26.5 inches on Dec. 26.

(MORE: The Science Behind Lake-Effect Snow)

This prolific event shattered several Erie snowfall records that date to 1893, as well as a Pennsylvania state record, according to the National Weather Service office in Cleveland.

All-time record for two-day snowfall in the state of Pennsylvania: 60.5 inches (Dec. 25-26); previous record was 44 inches in Morgantown on March 20-21, 1958

  • All-time record for snow in any single day in Erie: 34 inches (Dec. 25); the previous record was 20 inches on Nov. 22, 1956
  • 24-hour snowfall record for Dec. 25 in Erie: 34 inches; the previous record was 8.1 inches in 2002
  • 24-hour snowfall record for Dec. 26 in Erie: 26.5 inches; the previous record was 8.2 inches in

Erie's records for two-day, three-day, seven-day and 13-day snowfall were also broken during this lake-effect event.

  • Two-day snowfall: 26.7 inches (Nov. 24-25, 1950; the "Great Appalachian Storm")
  • Three-day snowfall: 30.2 inches (Dec. 29-31, 2002)
  • Seven-day snowfall: 39.8 inches (Dec. 27, 2001-Jan. 2, 2002)
  • 13-day snowfall: 52.8 inches (Dec. 31, 1998-Jan. 12, 1999)

That's not a misprint. Erie picked up more snow in less than 36 hours in this event than its previous 13-day snowstorm record.

Needless to say, the 121.3 inches of snow in December was the city's snowiest single month on record, clobbering the previous record of 66.9 inches in December 1989 by over 4 feet.

That's also more snow in one month than Erie averages in an entire winter season – 100.9 inches.

What's more, this was also the snowiest month on record anywhere in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania state climatologist. The previous record was 113 inches in February 2010 at Laurel Summit in Somerset County.

(MORE: The Great Lakes' Amazing Lake-Effect Snowfall Records)

This wasn't just a record-breaking event in Erie.

In central New York's Tug Hill Plateau, a 48-hour snowfall record for Oswego County may have been broken, with 62.2 inches of snow near the town of Redfield.

Finally, Muskegon, Michigan, picked up 14.7 inches of snow on Dec. 29 alone, good enough for one of its 10 snowiest days on record, according to the National Weather Service.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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