Does It Snow In Durham, NC? All About Durham Climate

Yes, it does snow in Durham, North Carolina. However, the amount of snowfall can vary significantly from year to year. On average, Durham receives around 6 inches of snow per year, but there are years with higher or lower snowfall totals. Durham’s snowfall is generally less frequent and less substantial compared to regions with colder climates or higher elevations.

Durham, North Carolina, is located in the southeastern part of the United States. It is known for its pleasant climate and mild winters. However, residents and visitors often wonder if snowfall is a regular occurrence in this region. 

This article will explore the historical snowfall patterns in Durham, the factors that influence snowfall, and what residents can expect during the winter months.

Location Overview

Durham is located in the state of North Carolina, United States. It is situated in the central part of the state, about 14 miles northeast of Chapel Hill and 25 miles northwest of Raleigh, the state capital. 

Snow In Durham

Geographically, Durham is situated in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, characterized by rolling hills and a diverse landscape. The city is intersected by the Eno River and the Little River, contributing to its scenic beauty and providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

Durham has a land area of approximately 108 square miles and a population of over 270,000 people, making it the fourth most populous city in North Carolina. The city is known for its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and diverse communities.

Durham is a dynamic and diverse city with a mix of history, education, innovation, and culture. It offers a range of amenities, attractions, and opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Geography and Climate of Durham

Durham experiences a humid subtropical climate. The summers are typically hot and humid, while the winters are mild and generally free from extreme cold temperatures. However, this doesn’t mean that snowfall is entirely absent from the region.

The geographical location of Durham plays a role in its snowfall patterns. Situated inland and at a lower elevation, Durham receives less snowfall than coastal areas or mountainous regions. 

Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream also moderates the climate, reducing the likelihood of heavy snowstorms. The relatively milder temperatures in Durham make it less prone to significant snow accumulation.

Historical Snowfall Record

Durham, North Carolina, has a historical record of receiving an average annual snowfall of around 6 inches. However, snowfall amounts can vary significantly from year to year. Here are some notable dates and snowfall records in Durham, North Carolina:

  • February 13, 1960

Durham experienced its largest snowfall on record, with a total of 19.3 inches of snow.

  • January 17-18, 2000

A significant snowstorm hit Durham, resulting in a total snowfall accumulation of 20.3 inches.

  • December 25, 2010

Durham had a white Christmas with 7.4 inches of snowfall.

  • January 22-24, 2016

A winter storm brought 6.0 inches of snow to Durham over a three-day period.

  • December 8, 2018

Durham received 8.9 inches of snowfall during a winter storm event.

These dates represent specific weather events and may not reflect the average snowfall patterns in Durham. Snowfall can vary significantly from year to year, and these records highlight some of the more notable snow events in the city’s history.

Winter Season & Snowfall Pattern

Durham’s winters are generally mild, with occasional cold spells and brief periods of snowfall. The city typically experiences more rain than snow during the winter months. When snow does occur, it often melts quickly due to the relatively warmer temperatures.

Residents can expect occasional wintry mix events where rain, sleet, and light snowfall may occur, but these are typically short-lived. It is rare for Durham to experience significant snowstorms or blizzards, which are more common in areas with colder climates.

Locations to Enjoy Snow

While snowfall in Durham may not be as frequent or substantial as in other regions, there are still some locations where residents and visitors can enjoy the snow when it does occur. Here are a few places in Durham to make the most of snowy weather:

  • Eno River State Park

This scenic park offers trails and open spaces that transform into picturesque landscapes when covered in snow. Visitors can hike, take nature walks, or simply enjoy the serene beauty of the snow-dusted trees and riverside views.

  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The beautiful gardens at Duke University provide a charming setting to enjoy the snow. The snow-covered paths and gardens create a peaceful atmosphere for a winter stroll and a chance to capture stunning photographs.

  • Parks and Greenways

Durham has numerous parks and greenways that can become winter wonderlands after a snowfall. Places like the American Tobacco Trail, Duke Park, or Durham Central Park offer opportunities for sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen.

  • Forest Hills Park

This park features open fields and slopes that are perfect for sledding when there is enough snow accumulation. Grab your sled or toboggan and enjoy some thrilling rides down the hills.

  • Duke Lemur Center

While not directly related to snow, visiting the Duke Lemur Center during snowy weather can be a unique experience. Seeing the adorable lemurs play and explore their habitats against a snowy backdrop can create memorable moments.

Enjoying the snow in Durham can be a delightful experience, so make sure to bundle up, bring your camera, and embrace the winter magic while it lasts.

Factors Influencing Snowfall in Durham

Several factors influence whether Durham will experience snowfall during the winter months. One crucial factor is the city’s geographic location. Durham is situated inland, which means it is less likely to receive as much snowfall as coastal areas or mountainous regions. 

Additionally, Durham’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream moderates its climate, reducing the likelihood of heavy snowstorms. Another significant factor is temperature. While Durham does experience cold temperatures during the winter, it is often not cold enough for snow to accumulate. 

The average high temperature in January, the coldest month, is around 50 Fahrenheit, while the average low temperature is approximately 30 Fahrenheit. These temperatures are generally too warm for snow to stick, resulting in more frequent occurrences of rain or sleet.


While snowfall in Durham, NC, is not as frequent or substantial as in other regions, the occasional winter weather can add a touch of charm to the city. Durham’s mild winters and moderate climate make it an attractive place for those who prefer milder temperatures. 

So, while snow enthusiasts may have to wait for the occasional wintry mix, residents and visitors can still enjoy the beauty and unique experiences that winter brings to this vibrant city.