Annually, Massachusetts experiences a plethora of winter storms and wintry precipitation events. Coastal storms, called Nor’easters, can impact the region because of the state’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, where these storms form. Strong northeasterly winds blow in from the ocean ahead of the storm. In addition to heavy snow and rainfall, the high winds and waves can cause significant erosion along the state’s coastline. The state is also susceptible to blizzards, which are Intense winter storms with heavy snowfall, winds of at least 35 miles per hour and very low visibility.
Average annual amounts of snowfall increase rapidly from the coast westward. About 25 to 30 inches fall over Cape Cod with 60 to 80 inches recorded in the western portions of the State.Variations in snowfall, both seasonal and from place to place cover a wide range. Amounts sometimes are less than four inches for an entire season on Cape Cod to well over 100 inches in many Central and Western locations at higher elevations.
The record amount of snowfall in a 24-hour period is 29 inches observed on April 1, 1997, in Natick, MA (Middlesex County). The record snowfall depth for the state is 62 inches, which occurred in Great Barrington, MA (Berkshire County) in January 1996.