What Is the Average Annual Snowfall in Cleveland?

Snow blizzard
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Cleveland, Ohio, is known for its snowy winters, especially early and late in the season when Lake Erie creates buckets of lake-effect snow. It ranks 41 as the snowiest city in the continental United States, which doesn't come close to the city with the most snow, Syracuse, New York, which gets an average of 115.6 inches each year. Since 1950, the average annual snowfall in Cleveland as measured at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport is 60 inches, including late fall and early spring snows.

Lake-Effect Snow

The weather phenomenon known as lake-effect snow happens when cold, dry air picks up moisture and heat when it passes over a warmer body of water, such as Lake Erie. This occurs from late fall until early winter when the temperature of the lake is warmer than the cold air. Once the lake freezes in midwinter, lake-effect snow rarely can develop because there is little warm moisture coming off the frozen lake.

Annual Snowfalls Vary

Snowfall in Cleveland can vary widely from year to year. For example, from fall 2016 through spring 2017, the city received just 30.4 inches of snow. This is one of the lowest amounts of snow in Cleveland on record. The record for the most snowfall in Cleveland recorded at the airport was 117.9 inches during the 2004-2005 season, and the record of the least amount of snow was set in 1918-1919 at 8.8 inches recorded in downtown.

Recent Snowfall Amounts in Inches

  • 2007-2008: 77.2 
  • 2008-2009: 80 
  • 2009-2010: 59.8 
  • 2010-2011: 69.5 
  • 2011-2012: 38.9
  • 2012-2013: 51.7
  • 2013-2014: 86.1
  • 2014-2015: 67.1
  • 2015-2016: 32.8

Snowfall Averages for Other Ohio Cities

Below are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's average snowfall statistics as measured at Cleveland Hopkins Airport and other area airports from 1950 until 2002.

  • Cleveland: 56.9"
  • Akron: 47.1"
  • Mansfield: 42.4"
  • Youngstown: 55.8"
  • Toledo: 37.1"