The Transylvania Times -

Picturing The Past: Weather Records Reveal Number Of Snowy Christmases


December 18, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Snowy scene from the past on West Main Street, early 1920s.

The State Climate Office of North Carolina has operated through the University of North Carolina system for more than 40 years. Since 1980 it has been under the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at N.C. State University.

Their website,, offers a wide range of information related to our weather. Many of the records date back to 1870, although for Transylvania County record keeping begin in 1902.

The Weather Extreme database is searchable by location and date. It includes high and low temperatures, temperature changes, and warmest and coldest weather stations. It also identifies highest precipitation amounts within a day, a 24-hour period, and within a calendar year, along with wettest and driest weather stations.

Lake Towaway is the wettest weather station across the state with 91.72 inches of precipitation annually. Rosman ranks third with 79.06. Highlands in Macon County is second. The state record for highest amount of precipitation in one calendar year is held by Rosman with 129.60 inches in 1964.

The recent unexpected snowfall was recorded as 8.5 inches in Pisgah Forest on Dec. 9, which ranked 4th on the state-wide greatest amount of snowfall for that day over all years. It should be noted that information for 2017 was only available through Dec. 9 at the time this article was written.

The top five one-day snowfall events for Transylvania County since 1902 are 17 inches in Brevard on Dec. 3, 1971; 16 inches in Rosman on March 3, 1942; 15 inches at Lake Toxaway on Dec. 4, 1971; 14.7 inches at Lake Toxaway on Jan. 22, 2016; and 14 inches in Rosman on Jan. 8, 1988.

Courtesy Photo

Digging out near the Clayton Hotel on West Main and Caldwell streets, late 1920s.

The website also contains a White Christmas section that shows the probability of snow on Christmas Day by weather station. Over 104 years of records, Brevard has had a snowy Christmas just seven times, Rosman recorded six snowy Christmases in 80 years, and Lake Toxaway five in 61 years.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at or (828) 884-1820.)


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