What states have the most winter storms?

Vermont holds the top spot for the most snowfall, though other states along the East Coast and in the Midwest get their fair share of blizzards and freezing temps.

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Winter storms caused a record amount of damage in 2021, resulting in over $15 billion in insured losses. [1] Very few states along the East Coast and in the Midwest were spared from the severe winter storms that plagued the country — even Texas saw record-breaking snowfall and freezing temperatures. 

Fortunately, your homeowners insurance policy covers wind, snow, and ice damage caused by winter storms — whether your roof collapses from snow or your pipes burst in your properly heated home.

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States that experience the most winter storms

Snowfall and blizzards vary by region. The Great Plains region and upper Midwestern states that make up the so-called “blizzard alley” area of the U.S. — Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota — all experience frequent, severe winter storms. 

But one of the costliest winter storms in recent history actually happened in Texas in February 2021, when an arctic cold front and snowstorm hit a large area of the Lone Star State and other parts of the U.S.

States along the East Coast also suffer from winter storm damage, with nor’easters affecting everywhere from Georgia all the way up to Maine.  

What are the different winter storm categories?

Because winter storms can hit multiple states at once, they’re typically categorized by region. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) uses the Regional Snowfall Index (RSI) to calculate the severity of a winter storm based on a 1 to 5 rating system. 

The index takes into account the amount of snow, the spatial extent of the storm, and the population of the affected area. [2]  

RSI storm category descriptions

  • 1: Noticeable

  • 2: Significant

  • 3: Major

  • 4: Crippling

  • 5: Extreme

Top 4 major snow storms of 2021

Here are four category 3 winter storms that hit the U.S. last year:

Groundhog Day nor’easter

From the end of January 2021 to early February 2021, a nor’easter hit most of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, causing blizzard conditions, coastal flooding, and power outages. The state of New Jersey saw some of its heaviest snowfall on record. [3]  

Winter Storms Uri and Viola

Two of the most major and expensive storms in recent history both hit in February 2021. Winter storms Uri and Viola brought ice and snow from coast to coast, severely impacting the South and Northeast. 

At one point, snow covered 80% of Texas. Parts of the state also experienced freezing temperatures and record-setting property damage claims. [4]  

March blizzard

In March of 2021, a blizzard hit the Rocky Mountains and brought heavy snowfall and winds to upper Midwestern states like Nebraska, before traveling east to Wyoming. It set record-breaking snowfall in parts of Colorado and Wyoming. [5]  

Top 10 states with the most snowfall

Here are the top ten states with the most snowfall, along with their average temperature from December 2020 to February 2021, according to data from the NOAA. [6] Keep in mind that these are the estimated inches of snowfall, and the amount of snow can vary greatly within a state.  

RankStateEstimated average annual snowfallAverage winter temperature
1Vermont89"22.2℉
2Maine78"22.4℉
3New Hampshire71"23.8℉
4Colorado67"26℉
5Alaska65"7.4℉
6Michigan61"23.6℉
7New York55"25.2℉
8Massachusetts51"29.8℉
9Wyoming51"21.8℉
10Wisconsin46"18.4℉

More states are seeing snow turn to rain

The EPA found that in many states winter precipitation is now falling in the form of rain instead of snow. But there are a few exceptions — areas near the Great Lakes are seeing a slight increase in snowfall.

Does homeowners insurance cover winter storm damage?

Yes, your homeowners insurance policy covers damage caused by winter storms. This might include: 

  • Roof collapse from snow or ice. If an ice dam forms on your roof or the weight of snow causes it to cave in, your policy should cover the damage.

  • Frozen pipes that burst.  If freezing temperatures cause your pipes to freeze, you might be covered, but only if your home was properly heated at the time.

  • Fallen trees due to severe winds. If a blizzard or nor’easter causes hurricane-force winds that knock trees down on your property, your home insurance policy should cover the damage.

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What winter storm damage is NOT covered by my home insurance policy?

There are two main types of damage that likely aren’t covered by your home insurance policy — even if they’re the result of winter storm damage. These include:

  • Damage caused by lack of upkeep. If you left for vacation and forgot to turn the water off, or if your pipes burst due to lack of upkeep, you likely won’t be able to file a claim.

  • Damage caused by flooding. Standard home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage — you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy to ensure you’re fully protected.