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Snowstorm Database

Metadata Updated: September 19, 2023

The Snowstorm Database is a collection of over 500 snowstorms dating back to 1900 and updated operationally. Only storms having large areas of heavy snowfall (10-20 inches or greater) are included. The spatial extent includes the contiguous U.S. but the most storms are in the eastern two thirds of the U.S. This is the only comprehensive data set with starting and ending dates along with daily and total storm snowfall for large snowstorms from 1900 to the present. The data is archived in shapefile format, one shapefile per storm. Shapefiles are a non-proprietary spatial format widely used in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Each shapefile contains daily and storm total snowfall for weather stations that were affected by the snowstorm. The snowfall data comes from the Global Historical Climatological Network - Daily (GHCN-D).

Access & Use Information

License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Date June 23, 2023
Metadata Created Date October 28, 2022
Metadata Updated Date September 19, 2023
Reference Date(s) November 30, 2012 (publication)
Frequency Of Update asNeeded

Metadata Source

Harvested from ncdc

Graphic Preview

RSI map based on Snowstorm Database

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date June 23, 2023
Metadata Created Date October 28, 2022
Metadata Updated Date September 19, 2023
Reference Date(s) November 30, 2012 (publication)
Responsible Party NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Guid gov.noaa.ncdc:C00464
Access Constraints Cite as: Squires, Mike(2012). Snowstorm Database [Indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. [Access date], Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives., Use liability: NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
Bbox East Long -66.0
Bbox North Lat 50.0
Bbox South Lat 24.0
Bbox West Long -125.0
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update asNeeded
Graphic Preview Description RSI map based on Snowstorm Database
Graphic Preview File
Graphic Preview Type JPEG
Harvest Object Id 8728c5e1-471b-49e0-95ce-fcb7512ec634
Harvest Source Id 2cb3ef77-1683-4c2a-9119-dc65e50917c6
Harvest Source Title ncdc
Licence Shapefiles are processed and made available as soon as possible after a snowstorm event. The database does not update on a regular basis as snowstorms arrive irregularly.
Lineage The Snowfall Database uses Global Historical Climatatology Network - Daily (GHCN-D), which has automated quality control built into its processing. Once the starting and ending dates of a snowstorm are identified, daily data from GHCN-D is extracted and brought into ArcGIS. At that point an analyst removes stations that are not part of the storm. Stations that were part of the storm are checked to ensure that only days with snowfall are included in the snowfall total. The data is then checked for any stations whose total snowfall is statistically different from it's neighbors using Local Moran's Index (see documentation). Stations flagged from this test are checked for spatial consistency. It is assumed that all data is correct unless there is enough evidence otherwise. The station may be kept or rejected, but not values are changed. The analyst then looks for any stations that appear spatially inconsistent with its neighbors. Some of the factors that can make a station or stations appear spatially in consistent are topography, lake effect snow, changes in temperature during the storm (wet vs. dry snow), and spatial variability.
Metadata Language eng; USA
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": [[[-125.0, 24.0], [-66.0, 24.0], [-66.0, 50.0], [-125.0, 50.0], [-125.0, 24.0]]]}
Progress onGoing
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System urn:ogc:def:crs:EPSG::9822
Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 1900-01-01

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