You are here

Snow and Winter Weather

Snow and Winter Weather in Mecklenburg County Before 1878

See also

The entire list is available in chronological order and by day of the month, to make anniversaries easier to discover.


  • January 19, 1826, Ten to Twelve Inches of Snow – The Catawba Journal (January 24, 1826) reported that 10 to 12 inches of snow fell. It mentioned that “so large a body of snow has not fallen in this county at any one time for many years.”
  • 1829-1830, A Mild Winter - The Charlotte Democrat (March 29, 1878) published an article about the weather in which aged resident remembered the mild winter of 1829 to 1830 when farmers ploughed every month and no snow fell until February 2, 1830.
  • May, 1830, Snow in May - The Charlotte Democrat (March 29, 1878) The mild winter of 1829-30 was followed “by a cold, backward spring with a snow storm in May, which killed the returning swallows.“
  • 1834-1835, Worst Winter in Many Years - The Charlotte Journal (March 4, 1835) reported that last winter was notable for its cold Saturdays and deep snows. Brevard Davidson recorded in his diary that on his northeast Mecklenburg county farm there was three inches of snow on February 27, 1835, a second snow of about three inches on March 3, 1835 and a very deep snow of nine or ten inches on March 5, 1835. He commented that it was the deepest snow he ever saw and the deepest since the death of Washington in 1799. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017). A Salisbury paper, The Western Carolinian (February 14, 1835), reported that the weather this winter is said to have been the coldest since the winter of 1779- 1780 when the Yadkin River was iced over and could be crossed by loaded wagons. It mentioned a temperature of seven degrees below zero on February 8 in Salisbury. The Weekly Raleigh Register (January 20, 1835) stated in an article on the severe weather throughout the county that “This is probably the greatest degree of cold ever registered in the United States.”
  • February and March, 1836, Sleet or Hail on Five Sundays - The Charlotte Journal (March 4, 1836) reported that during the last eight weeks there were five hail storms on Sundays. They average from a half to three inches in depth. The paper stated that one hail storm was followed by the temperature falling much below freezing. [Although this news report refers to hail it could have been sleet. Sleet is liquid that freezes into pellets before hitting the ground and usually falls in winter. Hail forms in a cloud and tends to fall during thunderstorms in spring and summer]
  • March 30, 1841, Eight to Ten Inches Snow The Charlotte Journal (April 1, 1841) described the eight to ten inch snow as the deepest snow of that winter. There was no mail from the north due to the snow blocking the railroad. The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (March 30, 1841) stated that snow began on the 30th at 10 pm and continued until 10 pm the next day.
  • November 29, 1842, Early Snow The Charlotte Journal (December 8, 1842) reported quite a storm of snow and several days of severe cold.
  • March, 1843, Three snows in the month – The Charlotte Journal (March 23, 1843) reported that as of March 23rd there had been three snows and as a result of the bad weather for the entire month the farmers were "hindered in their business." The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (March 21, 1843) mentioned snow on March 16 and another snow of 2.5 inches on March 19.
  • 1844-1845, Winter Mild with no Snow – Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary on March 19, 1845 that it had been a remarkable mild winter with no snow and no very cold weather. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • April 15, 1849, Five Inches of Snow – Dr. J. B. Alexander in The History of Mecklenburg County wrote that it snowed five inches in Charlotte on this date. “All vegetation was killed, no fruit that was in bloom escaped being killed.” A decade later The North Carolina Whig (May 04, 1858) article referred to this storm when the roses were already in bloom and trees green as one of the latest and heaviest snows remembered by residents. The snow was reported in other parts of North Carolina with five inches in Wilmington (Wilmington Journal April 20, 1849), eight inches in Tarboro (Tarboro Press April 21, 1949) and five inches in Fayetteville (North Carolinian April 21, 1849). Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary that it was a two-inch snow at his farm in northwest Mecklenburg County. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017).
  • January 7, 1854, Eight inches of Snow The North Carolina Whig (January 10, 1854) reported that snow fell to a depth of eight inches. Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary that it was a nine and half inch snow at his farm in northwest Mecklenburg County. (Williams, Ann. (The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017).
  • 1855, Coldest Winter in 20 Years - The North Carolina Whig (February 13, 1855) reported, "it is believed that this has been the coldest winter that has been experienced in this latitude since the one of 1835." Ice houses have been filled. Sleighing is the mode of transportation and ice skaters are making the most of the cold weather. No temperatures were mentioned in the article.
  • January 6-February 5, 1856, Coldest Winter in 40 Years - Both the North Carolina Whig (January 15, January 29, and February 05 1856) and The Western Democrat (January 15, January 29 and February 05, 1856) reported that there had been a cold spell, five snowfalls, and snow on the ground for this entire period. A wooden building 300 feet in length on Trade Street opposite the Presbyterian Church collapsed from the weight of the snow on the roof. It was considered to be the longest spell of cold weather for the last 40 years. Brevard Davidson recorded temperatures of 20 degrees on January 31, nine degrees on February 4 and two below zero on February 5. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017).
  • January 17-27, 1857, Bitter Cold for Ten Days and Two and a Half Feet of Snow on the Streets – An East Coast storm dumped record amounts of snow from Georgia to Maine. In Charlotte The Western Democrat (January. 20 and 27, 1857) reported drifts two and half feet deep on the streets. The “oldest inhabitants” said it was the greatest storm ever in this part of the country. The North Carolina Whig (January 20 and 27, 1857) reported drifts of three to four feet. Passengers on an eastbound train from Charlotte only got as far as Jamestown, N.C. where they were stranded for three days as workers cleared drifts up to 11 feet deep. Norfolk, Virginia reportedly had 20 foot drifts of snow. The Western Democrat (February 24, 1857) gives a summary and additional data about the storm in other parts of the country. The Charlotte Observer (December 29, 1876) reported that the snow in that year was probably the most since the 1857 storm when up to 24 inches fell. Following the record snowstorm of January 17-18, bitter cold gripped the area continuously for ten days. It surpassed the intensity of any previously known cold in Mecklenburg according to The Western Democrat (January 27, 1857). The North Carolina Whig (January 27. 1857) reported that it was two below zero on January 20.
  • December 25, 1857, Christmas Snow – “We had a brisk fall of snow for five hours in this place on Christmas morning” reported The Western Democrat (December 29, 1857).
  • February 12-13, 1858, Dangerous Ice Storm – A severe snow, freezing rain and sleet storm damaged many of the city’s shade trees, especially the elm trees. The North Carolina Whig (February 16, 1858) reported that it was dangerous to ride in the woods due to falling limbs. The Western Democrat (February 16, 1858) reported the measurement of the "snow with a thick crust of ice" at four to five inches.
  • November 16, 1858, Early Snow – There was a “slight sprinkling of snow” in Charlotte. The Western Democrat(November 23, 1858) mentioned that it was unusually early for snow.
  • December 31, 1859- January 10, 1860, Intense Cold and Snow on Ground for Several DaysThe Western Democrat(January 10, 1860) reported that it was intensely cold. Snow fell on December 31, 1859 and remained for eight or ten days. "Ice on the ponds has been in excellent condition for skating."
  • March 20-21, 1863, Late Snow – The Western Democrat (March 24, 1863) reported that there was heavy sleet and some snow. There was fear that early fruit has been injured.
  • March 22, 1864, Late Snow – The Western Democrat (March 29, 1864) reported the heaviest snow we have seen since January 1857 occurred on March 22.
  • December 9, 1864, Early December Snow – The Western Democrat (December 13, 1864 reported that several inches of sleet and snow covered the ground.
  • January 8-9, 1866, Ice on Ponds 3.5 Inches Deep The Western Democrat (January 16, 1866) reported that these were the coldest days in many years. The ice on ponds was 3.5 inches thick
  • April 9, 1866, April Snow – The Western Democrat (April 10, 1866) reported that snow fell in sufficient quantity in Charlotte to cover the tops of houses.
  • December 15, 1866, December Snow The Western Democrat (December 18, 1866) “A heavy snow and sleet fell here last Saturday.”
  • December 29, 1866- January 2, 1867, Snow for five Days – The Western Democrat (January 8, 1867) reported that it snowed at intervals for five days covering the ground with several inches. “Such a severe spell of weather has not occurred within the past 10 years.”
  • March 15, 1867, Late Snow The Western Democrat (March 19, 1867) reported a heavy snow. "Peach and other fruit trees were in full bloom, and we fear that fruit will be scarce again this year.”
  • December 15, 1867, December Snow The Western Democrat (December 17, 1867) reported the first snow of the season.
  • December 30-31, 1867, Snow for 48 hours The Western Democrat (January 7, 1868) "Snow, sleet and rain fell alternately for about 48 hours and the whole was frozen into a solid mass on the ground as fast as it fell. The result was that the ground was covered to the depth of several inches. We have not had such a severe spell of weather since January 1857.”
  • December 22-25, 1870, Five Degrees above Zero The Western Democrat (January 3, 1871) reported that the first snow of the season fell followed by three days of colder weather, the thermometer going down to five degrees above zero.
  • November 30, 1871, November Snow The Charlotte Democrat (December 05, 1871) reported the first snow of the season and it was unusually heavy besides being earlier than for many years past.
  • March 1, 1872, Eight-Inch March Snow The Charlotte Democrat (March 5, 1872) reported that there was a heavy snow storm with up to eight inches of snow.
  • December 11, 1872, First snow The Charlotte Democrat (December 17, 1872) reported the first snow of the season. It was "not deep, but cold enough to run wood up to an extravagant figure."
  • December 25, 1873, Christmas Snow The Charlotte Observer (January 30, 1873) reported intervals of snow, sleet and rain "but it did not keep from the streets a large number of those who seek pleasure in popping of the fire cracker, and kindred pastimes."
  • April 29, 1874, Late Snow The Charlotte Observer (April 30, 1874) reported a light snowfall in the city. It was accompanied by a little hail and rain and melted as it fell.
  • December 10, 1874, First Snow The Charlotte Democrat (December 14, 1874) reported the first snow of season. It soon disappeared.
  • March 20, 1876, First Snow The Charlotte Democrat (March 20, 1876) reported the first snow of the season with up to five inches of snow and it was still snowing at 8 am.
  • December 4-10, 1876, Ice Skating on Ponds in Early December The Charlotte Democrat (December 11, 1876) reported that "for the first time in several years the weather was cold enough last week to make ice on the ponds thick enough to afford skating to those who wished to enjoy it. Parks’ Pond near the city was occupied by skaters three or four days." The Charlotte Observer (December 12, 1876) also reported that on December 10 it was unusually cold and that it was a "fine time" for ice skaters.
  • December 10, 1876, First snow The Charlotte Democrat (December 11, 1876) reported the first snow of the season.
  • December 23-24, 1876, Big Snow The Charlotte Observer (December 29, 1876) reported that this two-day snow was "one of the deepest ever known here." It mentioned that the snow of 1857 was up to 24 inches so this was probably the most since then. It measured up to 16 inches in the open fields in the country. The snow lasted through Christmas and by then the small supply of sleighs had been increased with a few new ones that were "manufactured for the occasion." Many people were able to enjoy the pleasure of sleighing on Christmas.
  • January 3, 1877, Coldest day of a Cold Winter The Charlotte Observer (January 4, 1877) reported that January 3 was the coldest day of this very cold winter. "Sleighing was never better here. . . . The cold has kept everyone off the streets except the faithful policemen." The Charlotte Observer (January 5, 1877) stated that it was difficult for two men to agree how many degrees below zero it was on the 3rd.