A look back at biggest March snowstorms in Boston history

A mail carrier walked through the snow on Newbury Street in Boston.
A mail carrier walked through the snow on Newbury Street in Boston.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Believe it or not, it looks like this winter — even with all its record-breaking warmth — will wind up being snowier than usual.

The National Weather Service, as of Monday morning, said it expects the city will receive between 12 and 18 inches of snow from Tuesday’s storm.

Only three times has a foot or more snow fallen in Boston during a single day in March, according to weather service records that date back more than 125 years: March 4, 1891 (12 inches); March 13, 1993, (12.3 inches); March 19, 1956, (13.2 inches).

But none of those hold the record for late-season snowfall on a single day. That distinction goes to April 1, 1997, often called the April Fool’s Day Blizzard, when a whopping 22.4 inches fell.


While Tuesday’s storm is expected to start and end on the same day, snowstorms can often overlap days.

Even when accounting for that, foot-or-more snowstorms this late in the year are fairly uncommon.

Boston has received a foot or more of snow over the course of two consecutive days in March or later just seven times.

Boston normally receives snow between November and April. Historically, the city has averaged about 43 inches total over those months, with the bulk falling in January and February. March averages about 7.4 inches, and April 1.3 inches.

Winter got off to a bit of a slow start with below average snowfall totals during the first few months.

Still, 21.5 inches fell in Boston last month, which was well above normal for February, and there has been another 2.9 inches so far in March.

That puts the total since November at 39.2 inches, and it appears Tuesday’s storm will easily push that total above the historical norm for November through April, with several weeks still to go before we reach May.


Even though parts of the snowy-season have felt more like mid-summer, we seem poised to still somehow wind up with more snow than usual.

Biggest one-day snowfall totals in March or later Data are for the city of Boston.
Inches Year Date
22.4 1997 04-01
13.2 1956 03-19
12.3 1993 03-13
12 1891 03-04
11.4 1960 03-04
10.8 1982 04-06
10.5 2013 03-08
10.2 1944 03-20
9.9 1967 03-07
9.4 1977 03-18
Biggest two-day snowfall totals in March or later Data are for the city of Boston.
Inches Year Start End
25.4 1997 03-31 04-01
19.7 1960 03-03 03-04
14 1891 03-03 03-04
13.3 1982 04-06 04-07
13.3 1956 03-19 03-20
13.1 2013 03-07 03-08
12.8 1993 03-13 03-14
11.1 1939 03-12 03-13
10.8 1967 03-06 03-07
10.7 1944 03-19 03-20
SOURCE: National Weather Service

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele