Only Four Colorado Locations Crack America’s Snowiest Towns List
In previous years, it would have been reasonable to say that Colorado, generally speaking, is one of the snowiest states in the country; these days, it doesn't look like that statement holds very true.
It's no secret that, over the last several months, Colorado has received less snow than in previous years. La Niña conditions are primarily to blame for the shift in weather patterns we've seen across the state this winter season.
What Is La Niña?
According to the National Weather Service, La Niña refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
La Niña weather events typically occur every 3 to 5 years or so, but on occasion can occur over successive years.
During a La Niña event, the changes in Pacific Ocean temperatures affect the patterns of tropical rainfall from Indonesia to the west coast of South America. However, these changes in tropical rainfall patterns affect weather patterns around the world.
The effects from La Niña are usually strongest during the winter months when the jet stream is strongest over the United States and typically cause colder and stormier than average conditions across the North and warmer and fewer stormy conditions across the South.
The Snowiest Places In Colorado
As per observations via the National Weather Service, the following Colorado towns and cities are the only ones that made the country's snowiest towns list:
America's Snowiest Small Towns (population of 500+)
So far this winter season, Crested Butte - a small Colorado town with a population of 1,339 (as of 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau) has received a total of 127.9 inches of snow.
Winter Park, Colorado - another small ski town with a population of 659 (as of 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau) has seen about ten fewer inches of snow than Crested Butte, coming in at a total of 118.5 inches of snow so far accumulated this season.
While Tahoma, a small town in California took first place in this category, here's where Crested Butte and Winter Park ranked among the other snowiest small towns in its category:
- Tahoma, CA - 113.7"
- Crested Butte, CO -127.9"
- Tahoe City, CA - 119.0"
- Winter Park, CO - 118.5"
- Little Valley, NY - 105.5"
Tahoma earned its first-place ranking thanks to a huge storm cycle that rolled over the area back in December; 9News says the small town received 114 inches of snow in just three weeks.
Crested Butte, CO also got hit by that storm cycle and received 99.5 inches of snow as a result. While the Colorado small town didn't receive as much snow as Tahoma, the total accumulation of snow recorded in Crested Butte still ranks as the town's snowiest December in decades - since 1983.
Winter Park, CO, on the other hand, has rarely had a season in which the town accumulated less than 200 inches of snow.
**If snow totals from Alaska and the Upper Penninsula of Michigan had been accounted for in the rankings listed above, Alaska and Upper Penninsula towns would technically make up the majority of the top 10 small towns with the highest snow accumulations this season.**
You can view the full ranking of America's snowiest small towns, via 9News, here.
America's Snowiest Towns (population of 100,000+)
In this category, one Colorado city typically takes the cake - at this point in time, however, it seems like the same city is falling a little behind in terms of accumulating snow.
Back in 2019-2020, Boulder reigned as America's snowiest town with a population of 100,000, coming in with 152 accumulated inches of snow that winter season.
Currently, though, Boulder is about 10 inches below average so far this year. There is still hope though, as March and April are typically Boulder's two snowiest months, according to 9News.
Among the top ten snowiest towns in this category, Boulder just breaks into the ranking at #10, with a current total snow accumulation of 39.7 inches.
Comparatively speaking, the city in the top spot in this category - Buffalo, NY - has received over 43 inches of snow this season.
America's Snowiest Big Cities (population of 500,000+)
Denver, on average, is one of the snowiest big cities in the country.
Last season, the Mile High City earned the top spot for snow accumulation in this category, recording over 80 inches of snow.
You could say this year, on the other hand, is not quite going to plan, as the city has only recorded 25.7 inches of snow so far. Those measurements, as per 9News, were taken from Central Park Station - if the measurements were taken from Denver International Airport, the city technically accumulated even less snow, with a total of only 21.7 inches recorded.
Even so, both snow totals would still keep the Mile High City in the top 10 rankings for this season.
All in all, it hasn't been a very snowy season for Colorado just yet, but that can very well change.