Does It Snow in Alabama? (When and Where)

Known as the Heart of Dixie, Alabama’s position in the Southeastern part of the United States associates it immediately with a mild climate and warm temperatures. However, the state covers 54,219 square miles, so there is plenty of variation in geography and weather influences. With generally mild winters, you’d expect it to never snow in Alabama, but you can never discount it completely.

Does it snow in Alabama, and what are winters in Alabama like? Although the state is classified as humid subtropical, there are many variations in climate and plenty of thunderstorms and precipitation. This means you might find snow there, too.

In this article, we’ll cover the general climate in Alabama, what you can expect from living there all year round, and when we’ve last seen snow there in the winter.

Auburn, Alabama, Snowman

Alabama’s Climate

As we’ve stated already, Alabama is classified as a humid subtropical region, which means the average annual temperature is 64 F (18 C). It has very hot summers, high humidity levels, and mild winters, which also see a good amount of precipitation. The state gets 56 inches of rainfall every year, which also helps the growing season (up to 300 days a year in the southern portion of Alabama).

If you live closer to the southern part of the state and near the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll notice a much higher average temperature throughout the year. Conversely, the northern part of Alabama – especially the famous Appalachian Mountains in the northeast – will be colder.

Alabama is well-known for suffering from heavy thunderstorms, destructive winds, and tornadoes in the summer. Central and northern Alabama fall within the Dixie Alley, the primary area in the US with relatively high tornado risk outside the traditional Tornado Alley (the Southern Plains).

The Appalachian Mountains

This mountain range is an important feature of Alabama’s geography and probably one of its best-known one. Covering a wide range of Canadian provinces and American states, the mountain range is 1,500 miles long and formed about 480 million years ago.

The northern part of Alabama is home to the Appalachian Mountains. These are some of the oldest natural landmarks in the US with astounding natural beauty that draws large numbers of hikers and visitors every year. They influence a humid climate.

When Does It Snow In Alabama?

Old Town Helena, Alabama, Snow

The question of whether it snows in Alabama has been settled by a few different weather events, most recently in early 2021 when single-digit temperatures were reported in the northern and central parts of the state. These low temperatures led to surprise snow for many, such as in Montgomery, where the strong winter storm that swept through the nation brought significant snowfall (compared to normal expectations).

However, snow is rare in most of the state, and the average annual snowfall is only about 2 inches per year in places like Birmingham, AL.

2021 Alabama Snow

The beginning of 2021 saw serious snowfall (compared to the norm) throughout Alabama. Light snow fell across the Tri-County area while northern parts of the state struggled under the strong storm conditions. However, this wasn’t enough to cause travel problems or more serious disruptions.

Ice and snow were prevalent on the state’s northern end and lower than usual temperatures affected many households. This is why it’s become customary not to disregard the possibility of snow and how it could affect Alabamians from throughout the state territory. You can see visual media of what the 2021 Alabama snow episode looked like here.

How Can You Prepare For an Alabama Winter?

The incidence of snowfall, although rare, and some colder temperatures leading to icy conditions, especially in the northern parts of the state, have led to Alabamians preparing more seriously for snow and wintery conditions.

Every year, a Winter Weather Awareness Week takes place in Alabama, falling on November 14-19 in 2021. Organized by the National Weather Service in partnership with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, this event raises awareness and informs the population how to deal with wintery conditions. Hazards are covered, including ice, snow, and extreme cold.

Learn more about this event at

National Weather Service Support

The National Weather Service has four offices covering Alabama, each following different criteria for winter watches, warnings, or advisories. Huntsville is the location of the North Alabama service, while a Birmingham office covers central Alabama. The Mobile office covers southwest Alabama, and five counties in southeast Alabama are under the watch of the weather service covering Tallahassee, FL.

There are a few different types of reports and warnings these services might offer. The winter storm watch is very well-known in many parts of the United States, and you can expect a winter storm warning as well. Ice storm warnings and winter weather advisories are the others.

As far as standards for these warnings go, north, central and southwest Alabama have a very clear set of criteria:

  • Winter weather advisory: snow from ¼” to 2″, sleet/ice pellets under ½” or freezing rain/drizzle or a combination of all. This is issued up to 36 hours before the event could take place.
  • Winter storm watch: potential for snow over 2″, sleet/ice pellets over ½,” freezing rain/drizzle over ¼” or a combination. This is issued 12-72 hours ahead.
  • Winter storm warning: includes serious snowfall and sleet or ice pellets or a combination issued up to 36 hours ahead.
  • Ice storm warning: refers to freezing rain/drizzle over ¼” and is issued up to 36 hours before the event is expected to take place.

Coming into the 2021-22 winter, the NWS expected near-average temperatures with above-average precipitation for Alabama. In theory, this suggests no snow but rather the potential for rainfall throughout the winter. However, this doesn’t mean that snow is unlikely, as small cold weather bursts could dramatically change things.

Does It Snow In Alabama? Yes… Maybe!

Winter Snow, Alabama

Although there is no guarantee of snowfall in Alabama, which is especially rare in its central and southern parts, we have seen snowfall as recently as the beginning of 2021 in the northern counties. The National Weather Service monitors Alabama snow forecasts and winter weather events in general from four different offices covering different parts of the state. If you live in Alabama, it’s a great idea to follow their social media accounts for updates and forecasts, which can change significantly throughout the winter.


Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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