The major factors that determine which cities in the U.S. get the most snow, are altitude, temperature, wind, and moisture. These same factors cause the high mountain and lake effect snows which produce massive amounts of precipitation year after year.
The honors for the snowiest cities in the U.S. are debatable, depending on which survey you find, but the following cities, and areas, are pretty much in the top ten, if you exclude Alaska.
There are, of course, other New York, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio cities that would take exception to this list, since they also hold national records of their own. Any city in or near the Tug Plateau, east of the Great Lakes, has had it’s share of excessive snowfall.
1. Blue Canyon isn’t a city, but, according to the National Weather Data Service, this area in the Sierra Mountains, holds the record for yearly snowfall at 240.8 inches.
2. Marquette, Michigan on Lake Superior, is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula, and averages between 128 and 144 inches of snow annually.
3. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, another city on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula averages between 116 and 128 inches a year. In 1995, 28 inches of snow fell in one 24 hour period.
4. Syracuse, New York is well known for its abundant lake effect snow. Located south of the Tug Hill Plateau, it repeatedly wins awards for the most snowfall in the shortest period of time. It is not uncommon for Syracuse to have averages of over 111 inches per year. Syracuse is not only effected by the lake effect snow, but is also in the path of nor’easters from Canada.
5. Caribou, Maine is another city that receives over 110 inches annually, but set a record in 2007-2008 when it’s snowfall reached 197 inches.
6. Mount Shasta, California is in the right place to receive the moisture that is pushed up the mountain, turning it into snow. Other cities in the same area actually get less snow. Snowfall at Mount Shasta is about 104 inches.
7. Lander, Wyoming is seventh with an average of 102.5
8. Flagstaff, Arizona has a semi-arid climate, but, occasionally, a sudden storm system that originates in the Pacific will produce large amounts of snow, which usually melt within a few day. The average snowfall is 99 inches.
9. Sexton Summit, Oregon is actually a weather station, located in Josephine County. It has an average of 97.8.
10. Muskegon, Michigan, on Lake Michigan, is also a victim of lake effect weather, receiving over 97 inches annually.