Winter can be a magical season, blanketing landscapes in a serene layer of snow. However, for some states in the United States, winter takes a more challenging turn, unleashing powerful snowstorms that can pose risks to both life and property. Whether you're a seasoned prepper or just someone interested in staying safe during the colder months, understanding which areas are at higher risk of snowstorms is crucial. In this guide, we'll explore the top 15 states most susceptible to these wintry tempests.

Understanding Snowstorms

Before we delve into the list, let's grasp the basics of what causes a snowstorm. Snowstorms occur when rising moist air encounters low-pressure areas or extratropical cyclones. The process involves tiny icy crystals in the clouds coming together to form snowflakes. The amount of snowfall is influenced by factors such as the speed of warm air rising over cold air, the availability of water vapor for precipitation, and the speed of the storm (slower storms tend to produce more snow).

Top 15 States Prone to Snowstorms

~1. Vermont

~~- Average annual snowfall: 89.25 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the Great White Hurricane, remains Vermont's largest snowstorm, claiming 400 lives. Vermont got a staggering 40 inches of snow over 2 days.

~2. Alaska

~~- Average annual snowfall: 74.6 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Blizzard of 1963 dropped 6 feet of snowfall to Alaska in a single day, leaving 3 people dead and causing $700,000 in damages.

~3. Wyoming

~~- Average annual snowfall: 64.5 inches.

~~- Notable Event: Wyoming’s Blizzard of 1949, with strong winds and heavy snow, is considered one of the worst in the Northern Plains.

~4. Michigan

~~- Average annual snowfall: 63.7 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Massive Blizzard of 1978 in Michigan resulted in 20 fatalities and over 100,000 cars abandoned.

~5. Colorado

~~- Average annual snowfall: 60.2 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Big Snow of 1913 paralyzed Denver with nearby town Georgetown, CO getting over 86 inches of snow.

~6. New Hampshire

~~- Average annual snowfall: 60 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The 100 Hour Snowstorm in 1969 lasted for 100 straight hours, dumping 26.3 inches of snow.

~7. Utah

~~- Average annual snowfall: 53.6 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Blizzard of 1949, with strong winds and heavy snow, affected Utah as one of the worst storms in the Northern Plains where daytime temps never got over -8 degrees.

~8. Minnesota

~~- Average annual snowstorm: 50 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 claimed 154 lives and resulted in $2.2 million in damages.

~9. Massachusetts

~~- Average annual snowfall: 47 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Massive Blizzard of 1978 impacted Michigan and Massachusetts, causing 50 fatalities and over $100 million in damages.

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~10. Maine

~~- Average annual snowfall: 45 inches.

~~- Notable Event: Winter Storm Nemo (Blizzard of 2013) brought severe snowfall and hurricane-level winds to Maine.

~11. Wisconsin

~~- Average annual rainfall: 45 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Big Snow of 1881 brought massive blizzards to Wisconsin – two battering the state in just 7 days –, shutting down roads and railways.

~12. New York

~~- Average annual snowfall: 40+ inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Great Blizzard of 1888 brought 40 to 50 inches of snow to New York, claiming over 400 lives.

~13. South Dakota

~~- Average annual snowfall: 38.6 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Northern Plains Blizzard of 1966 remains one of the most perilous, causing power outages and travel halts, and killing 112 people.

~14. Connecticut

~~- Average annual snowfall: 37.2 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The Great Blizzard of 1888 covered Connecticut in over 30 inches of snow and 12-foot snow drifts.

~15. Rhode Island

~~- Average annual snowfall: 35.1 inches.

~~- Notable Event: The massive Blizzard of 1978 hit Rhode Island, causing 50 fatalities and around $100 million in damages.

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Dos and Don’ts for Being Prepared in a Snow Storm

Being adequately prepared and understanding the potential risks and hazards that can manifest during a snowstorm is paramount for ensuring safety and well-being. In the face of wintry conditions, foresight and readiness can be the keys to navigating the challenges that arise. Awareness of weather forecasts and warnings provides crucial information, allowing individuals to anticipate the severity of the storm.

Equipping oneself with an emergency kit stocked with essentials such as water, non-perishable food, blankets, and medical supplies serves as a preemptive measure against unforeseen circumstances. Recognizing the dangers of icy surfaces, reduced visibility, and treacherous road conditions underscores the importance of prudent decision-making, such as staying indoors when possible and avoiding unnecessary travel.

Moreover, knowing the risks associated with prolonged exposure to cold temperatures underscores the significance of dressing warmly and taking precautions to prevent hypothermia. In essence, preparedness is not just about tangible supplies but also about cultivating a mindset that acknowledges and respects the potential hazards inherent in a snowstorm, fostering a safer and more resilient community.

The following list of do’s and don’ts may or may not be applicable to your region or area. As always, consult the local agencies that handle emergencies for your state to ensure you have the most adequate and current information. Consider sites like which outline more ways to be safe in a winter storm.

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~~1. Stay Informed: Keep current on weather forecasts and warnings to stay informed about the storm's progress and expected duration.

~~2. Prepare an Emergency Kit: Ensure you have an emergency kit ready, stocked with essentials like water, non-perishable food, blankets, flashlights, batteries, medications, and a first aid kit. Do not wait until the storm hits to stock up.

~~3. Dress Warmly: Wear appropriate winter clothing, including layers, insulated jackets, gloves, hats, and waterproof boots. Choose materials that wick moisture and are made for the elements.

~~4. Drive Cautiously: If driving is necessary, drive slowly, maintain a safe following distance, and use winter tires. Keep your vehicle well-maintained and topped up with fuel. However, it's advisable to stay off roads if conditions are hazardous.

~~5. Clear Snow from Exhaust Pipes: Before starting your vehicle, clear snow from the exhaust pipes to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.

~~6. Use Snow Removal Equipment: Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice to prevent accidents. Use snow shovels, snow blowers, or ice melt as needed.

~~7. Have a Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan with family and friends. Make sure everyone knows how to reach each other in case of an emergency.

~~8. Stay Indoors if Possible: Avoid unnecessary travel during severe snowstorms. If conditions are dangerous, stay indoors.

~~9. Check on Neighbors: Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors to ensure they are safe and have the support they need.

~~10. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even in cold weather, to stay hydrated.


~~1. Don’t Ignore Weather Warnings: Don't disregard weather warnings; take them seriously and make necessary preparations in advance.

~~2. Don’t Drive Without Preparation: Don't drive without making sure your vehicle is prepared for winter conditions. Ensure your tires, brakes, and fluids are in good condition and only on a full tank of gas. If conditions worsen, stay off roads.

~~3. Don’t Forget Warm Clothing: Don't underestimate the cold. Dress warmly and in layers to protect yourself from extreme temperatures. Have boots and thick wool socks by the door or in your car along with hat, gloves, and scarves. 

~~4. Don’t Leave Pets Outdoors: Don't leave pets outdoors for extended periods during a snowstorm; aside from snow and temperatures, wind chill can be fatal. Bring them inside where it's warm and safe.

~~5. Don’t Overexert Yourself: Don't overexert yourself while shoveling snow. Take breaks, and if you have health concerns, consider asking for assistance.

~~6. Don’t Ignore Ice Hazards: Don't ignore the dangers of ice. Be cautious when walking on icy surfaces to avoid slips and falls.

~~7. Don’t Neglect Home Heating Systems: Don't neglect your home heating system. Ensure it's in good working order before the winter season. Have adequate wood stored for fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.

~~8. Don’t Ignore Symptoms of Hypothermia: Don't ignore symptoms of hypothermia, such as shivering, confusion, or slurred speech. Seek medical attention if needed.

~Remember, safety should always be the top priority during a winter snowstorm. If conditions are severe, it's better to stay indoors, avoid unnecessary travel, and take precautions to prevent accidents and health hazards.