The Top 19 Snowstorms in U.Va. History

Snow on Grounds 2010

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are predictions of a big snow on the horizon in Charlottesville. How will it stack up to past snows from U.Va.’s nearly 200-year history?

The University’s McCormick Observatory has been recording snowfall since 1894, and U.Va. climatologist Jerry Stenger provided this run-down of the biggest snow events on record, with a bonus pre-University 1772 snow from Mr. Jefferson’s own records at Monticello. Click for a bigger version:


Here’s an additional look at some of them:

1) 24 inches on Jan. 27, 1922

The biggest storm recorded at McCormick, the “Knickerbocker Storm,” made headlines in Charlottesville’s Daily Progress. The Jan. 28, 1922, edition (conveniently available as part of a U.Va. Library archive) reported that overnight snowfall made “the world around look like real winter.” The front page:



3) 21 inches on Jan. 7-8, 1996


4) 20.5 inches on Dec. 19-20, 2009

dec 2009


5) 18 inches on Feb. 13, 1899

From the Daily Progress, “The believers in the ground hog theory are the only ones probably who felt any sense of elation over the terrible weather that has occured”:


6) 16.5 inches on March 6-7, 2013

(and check out a Storify of student posts from that storm)

March Snow on Grounds

9) 14.7 inches on Feb. 5-6, 2010

Snow on Grounds 2010

Have photos or records of the storms we are missing? Send them to



4 Comments on “The Top 19 Snowstorms in U.Va. History

  1. I believe the moniker for #4 on the list was “Snowpocalypse” and #9 was referred to as “Snowmageddon”

  2. I was there for the 1987 snow and remember classes being cancelled and hearing that it was a “first” for the University.

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