Unveiling December’s Snow Mystery: Does it Really Snow in Atlanta, Georgia?

Ever wondered if Atlanta, Georgia gets to enjoy the winter wonderland scene during December? Many associate the southern states with warmth and sunshine, but does that rule out the possibility of snowfall in Atlanta? Let’s delve into the climatic patterns of this bustling city and find out.

Atlanta’s weather can be quite unpredictable, raising the question: does it snow in December? We’ll explore this topic further, drawing on historical weather data and local insights. So, whether you’re planning a holiday visit or just curious, you’re in the right place to uncover this frosty mystery.

Key Takeaways

  • Atlanta, Georgia experiences a Humid Subtropical climate with mild to cool winters and hot, humid summers. The weather can be quite unpredictable, with the possibility of snow in December.
  • Despite popular belief, Atlanta does get snow, though infrequent and in smaller quantities. Historic events like Snow Jam 1982 and Snowpocalypse 2014 illustrate that snowfall in Atlanta is indeed possible.
  • Documented instances of December snowfall exist, such as in 1882, 1935, 1989, 2000, and 2017. However, these events are sparse, rendering snow during December a relatively rare phenomenon.
  • While Atlanta experiences the most significant snowfall episodes in January and February, December has witnessed occasional snowfalls. For example, on December 8, 2017, the city saw a snowstorm that laid down 2.3 to 12 inches of snow in different areas.
  • Despite the sporadic occasional snowfalls, in most Decembers, Atlanta enjoys cool to mild temperatures, usually ranging from the 40s to lower 60s Fahrenheit.
  • Even minor snowfall can significantly disrupt Atlanta, due to its limited snow removal capabilities. Infrequent snow incidences cause road closures, school and business closures, and travel plan modifications.
  • Pitted against other US cities, Atlanta’s December climate presents less likelihood of experiencing snowfall. For instance, its average December snowfall of 0.3 inches contrasts sharply against cities like Chicago or Denver, known for their significant December snowfalls.

Understanding Atlanta’s Weather

Diving further into the nuances of Atlanta’s weather can provide on-point answers. Atlanta experiences a Humid Subtropical climate category, defined by mild to cool winters and searing, humid summers. Yet, unpredictable voltage sways of weather tend to challenge this seemingly elementary classification.

Examining the historical weather data validates the existence of these weather oscillations. For instance, the lowest recorded temperature in Atlanta dips to a freezing -9 degrees Fahrenheit in 1985, even as most winters hover around the 40s. Contrastingly, sweltering summers spike above the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark. December falls snugly within the city’s winter stretch, marked typically by cool to cold conditions.

Precipitation in the form of rain vs. snow becomes a fascinating detail of Atlanta’s winters. Contrary to popular belief, mentions of ‘Snow in Atlanta’ aren’t as rare as they might appear. Records indicate snowfalls do occur, albeit infrequently and in fewer amounts. Given corroborated instances like Snow Jam 1982 and Snowpocalypse 2014, it’s evident that snow isn’t an alien concept to Atlanta.

Admittedly, the rarity of snow during December slightly builds on the challenge. While there have been periods featuring December snow, they represent a minuscule percentage. Take, for instance, December 2017 – a year that saw Atlanta under a 2-inch thick snow blanket, an event causing the city to declare a state of emergency. Yet, the last decade averaged less than a day of December snow, underscoring the infrequency.

Seasons shape Atlanta’s weather, flinging it from one extreme to another. Nonetheless, looking at the larger climate canvas, snow isn’t entirely absent; it’s an elusive element. Armed with this knowledge, you’re better equipped to debunk the myth of ‘Snowless Atlanta’ or strategically plan your potential winter getaway.

Historical Instances of Snow in Atlanta

Over the years, surprises by Mother Nature graced Atlanta. Specific moments, like Snow Jam 1982 and Snowpocalypse 2014, sent vast flurries across the city. Snowfall is a rare spectacle in Atlanta, its occurrence infrequent, and its volume generally low. However, several instances mark snow sailing down Atlanta’s skies in December.

In December 1882, Atlanta experienced one of the earliest snow events, with snow accumulating up to 7.5 inches. This incident stood as the record snowfall for December for over a century. However, 1935 shattered the previous record with a 10-inch snowfall.

Similarly, the unexpected snow area cover on Christmas Eve 1989 was astonishing. Yes, there’s a chance for a white Christmas in Atlanta! The city observed 2.1 inches of snow, attracting media attention and transforming Atlanta into a winter wonderland.

Fast forward to 2000,and another December snow occurrence, though minor, was logged. There was a 2-inch snowfall, interrupting the usual routine in Atlanta and temporarily painting the city white.

The 21st century showcased few December snowfalls. Notable among them was December 8, 2017, when Atlanta was hit by a snowstorm. A significant 2.3 inches of snow fell, surprising residents and causing various disruptions across the city.

Remembering these instances, you can see that while snowfall in Atlanta during December remains a rare phenomenon, it’s not entirely out of the question. Hence, visitors planning a winter trip should not entirely discount the possibility of a snowy surprise. This narrative presents a different perspective about December weather in Atlanta. Reinforce its variability and the city’s occasional dabble in snowy escapades. Despite popular beliefs to the contrary, Atlanta’s December weather has showcased snowfall, though on sparse instances.

Does it Snow in Atlanta in December?

Observing Atlanta’s historic weather data, it’s evident that snowfall in December occasionally dots the city’s annual climate calendar. With a probability of 10%, it’s a relatively low chance, but not an insignificant one, making Atlanta’s weather intriguingly unpredictable when you’re planning your winter travel.

Atlanta experiences its most significant snowfall episodes in January and February; however, December has not been exempt from snowfall. Statistically, each December in Atlanta records about 0.3 inches of snow. It reaffirms the unpredictability, considering the city only sees an average snowfall of 2.3 inches annually.

For instance, on December 8, 2017, Atlanta witnessed a significant snowstorm that deposited an impressive 2.3 to 12 inches of snow across different parts of the city. In the context of Atlanta’s overall snowfall statistics, this particular event way surpassed the city’s December norm, demonstrably underlining that snowfall in December, while being rare, can surprisingly even match the annual average.

Contrarily, during most Decembers, Atlanta enjoys cool to mild temperatures, which usually fall between the 40s to lower 60s Fahrenheit. It ensures that during a standard December, you’d be more likely to encounter rain than snow in Atlanta. In essence, while the statistical possibility of enjoying a white December in Atlanta exists, the city generally offers a more temperate winter wonderland.

Overall, if you’re yearning for a guaranteed white December, Atlanta might not be your dream destination. But, if unpredictable weather patterns and occasional snowy extravagances interest you, December in Atlanta could make for an intriguing visit!

Bear in mind, however, that even a slight dusting of snow can lead to significant disruptions in travel plans given Atlanta’s limited snow removal capabilities. As such, watching the local forecast closely and preparing for changeable conditions underlines any December travel plans to Atlanta.

Impact of Snowfall on Atlanta

Atlanta’s occasional snowfall represents a significant influence on the city’s infrastructure and residents’ routines. As rare as it occurs, even the slightest snow accumulation incurs considerable impacts on Atlanta.

When snow does fall, Atlanta often encounters a direct hit due to a lack of snow removal equipment. For example, in 2014, a mere 2 inches of snow paralyzed the city, resulting in 12-hour-long gridlocks and stranding countless motorists. Atlanta’s response to snow events indicates an evident lack of preparedness, rooted in the city’s subtropical climate and infrequent snowfall.

Road closures often constitute the most immediate effect of snowfall in Atlanta. The shutdown of numerous roads, highways, and bridges mandates that residents and visitors adjust their travel plans. As an example, the notorious Snow Jam in 1982 witnessed thousands of drivers abandoning their vehicles on the highway, as the snowfall rendered roads inoperable.

The infrequency of snow in December, averaging a mere 0.3 inches annually, contributes to Atlanta’s struggles with snowy situations. But no amount of statistical typing diminishes the city’s vulnerability during such events. The mishaps of Snow Jam 1982 and Snowpocalypse 2014 suggest that Atlanta wrestles with implementing effective procedures to handle the fallout of sudden snow occurrences.

School and business closures also become commonplace in snowy scenarios. With safety concerns taking precedence, learning institutions and corporate organizations often suspend operations, aiming to prevent potential accidents related to ice-covered roads and sidewalks.

In essence, the unpredictability of snowfall in Atlanta renders the city vulnerable to operational and infrastructural disruptions. Yet, it’s that very unpredictability, the chance of seeing snow-covered evergreens in December, that endears Atlanta to winter enthusiasts. Still, the cautionary note must be struck: Atlanta’s occasional snowfalls inspire awe and sometimes considerable disruption too.

Comparing Atlanta’s December Weather to Other US Cities

Let’s now juxtapose Atlanta’s December climate with other prominent US cities. Like Atlanta, many southern cities such as Austin, Texas, or Phoenix, Arizona share less likelihood of experiencing snowfall in December. For instance, Austin averages 0.1 inches and Phoenix, despite its desertic climate, isn’t entirely snow-proof, with a record snow event of 1.0 inch in December 1998.

Moving up to the Midwest, Chicago, Illinois demonstrates a drastic contrast. Known for its chilling winters, Chicago averages a snowfall of 8.2 inches in December. To the east, New York City averages 4.8 inches, echoing similar Winter Wonderland images as its Midwestern counterpart.

Westward, Denver, Colorado takes the lead. Familiar with its biting winters, Denver averages a whopping 8.5 inches of snow in December. This substantial figure echoes its standing amongst cities with significant December snowfall.

Shifting focus to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, Washington follows a different rhythm. Although its wet weather is infamous, snow is less prevalent, with an average of 1.4 inches in December.

Compare this data back to Atlanta’s 0.3 inch December average and you’ll identify a stark climatic difference. Despite the city’s relatively rare snowfall, remember that December isn’t Atlanta’s snowiest month. That title goes to February, historically known for its surprising snow events. So, as you explore America’s winter climates, understand this comparison not as a measurement of better or worse, but a reflection of the diverse weather patterns that make up this vast nation.


So, you’ve learned that it’s not impossible for Atlanta to see snow in December, but it’s certainly not the norm. With an average of just 0.3 inches annually, it’s a rare treat that can bring both joy and disruption. But remember, Atlanta isn’t alone in its winter unpredictability – cities across the nation experience varying levels of snowfall. While it’s fun to dream of a white Christmas in Atlanta, keep in mind that February is historically more likely to deliver those surprising snow events. So, whether you’re a winter enthusiast or someone who prefers milder winters, Atlanta’s unpredictable weather keeps things interesting. Stay prepared and enjoy the unique charm that Atlanta’s occasional snowfall brings to the city.

1. Does Atlanta experience snowfall?

Yes, Atlanta does experience snowfall events, although they are typically not plentiful. Historic snowstorms such as Snow Jam 1982 and Snowpocalypse 2014 debunk the misconception of an entirely “Snowless Atlanta”.

2. What is the average December snowfall in Atlanta?

The city of Atlanta traditionally gets an average of 0.3 inches of snow in December. This demonstrates the city’s unpredictable climate and propensity for surprise snowfall.

3. How does snowfall impact Atlanta’s infrastructure and routine?

Snowfalls have a significant influence on Atlanta’s infrastructure and the daily routines of its residents. The city often sees road closures and operational disruptions due to lack of preparedness and snow removal equipment. School and business closures are also common during these times.

4. Does Atlanta’s snowfall in December compare to other US cities?

Although average snowfall in December is relatively less in Atlanta compared to cities like Denver, Chicago, New York City, and Seattle, it is worth noting that Atlanta’s relatively rare snowfall can ensure unpredictability.

5. Is February a snowier month for Atlanta?

Historically, February has brought more surprising snow events to Atlanta than December. This again emphasizes the unpredictability and variability of Atlanta’s winter weather.