Fact Sheet - Record Greatest Snow Depth in Kentucky
Glen Conner
State Climatologist Emeritus for Kentucky
 
When air or ground temperature is above freezing, snow depth may not equal snowfall because some of the snow may melt. A typical January day in Kentucky has a morning low temperature that is below freezing and an afternoon high that is above freezing. Under those conditions, Kentucky snow seldom persists for more than a few days. Conversely, when air temperature is below freezing throughout the day and the ground is frozen, snow may accumulate to significant depth from one or more days of snowfall. Those conditions defined the winter of 1977-1978. Snow covered Kentucky for long periods with most of January and February days reporting some amount on the ground. On each of the 28 days of that February, 65 of 89 reporting stations reported one inch or more on the ground. None compared to Williamstown in Grant County where, beginning on 8 January 1978, 74 consecutive days with a trace or more of snow on the ground was reported.

The greatest snow depth ever recorded in Kentucky was the product of several days of accumulation. On 20 January 1978, La Grange in Oldham County measured snow depth of 31 inches. Not quite as deep, but still memorable, was the April snowfall in 1987. By dawn on 3 April, snow had accumulated to a depth of four inches at Freeburn in Pike County. There, snowfall continued each day until it reached its greatest depth of 28 inches on 5 April. Gusty winds accompanied this snowstorm and snowdrifts ten feet high were reported in Letcher County. Melting from the rapid warming that followed resulted in severe flash flooding in Letcher and Pike Counties.

The March 1993 snow storm produced 6-30 inches over the eastern and southeastern Kentucky and the single day March snowfall record at Hazard. The same storm event produced a record accumulation of snow at Paintsville that was 27 inches deep on 13 March 1993. Ashland had 24 inches, London 22 inches, and Jackson 20 inches. The I-64 highway from Lexington eastward to West Virginia and I-75 southward to Tennessee were closed for two days. Snowdrifts in some areas were 6-10 feet deep.
 
Kentucky Record Greatest Daily Snow Depth
Record Low
Location
Day
Year
Data Source
Month and Day Indicated
January
31"
La Grange
20
1978
Climatological Data, Kentucky
February
21"
La Grange
18
1978
Climatological Data, Kentucky
March
27"
Paintsville
13
1993
Climatological Data, Kentucky
April
28"
Freeburn
5
1987
Climatological Data, Kentucky
May
5"
Springfield
20
1894
Monthly Weather Review
June
0"
 
July
0"
 
August
0"
 
September
0"
 
October
9"

Cumberland

2
2012
Climatological Data, Kentucky
November
18"
Cynthiana
27
1950
Climatological Data, Kentucky
December
21"
Lewisport
23
2004
Climatological Data, Kentucky