South Carolina is a beautiful state with a lot to offer, but you probably don’t think of it as a snowy place. You might be wondering: Does it snow in South Carolina?
It does snow in South Carolina, but mainly in the north-western part of the state. Upstate North Carolina is more mountainous and it has quite cold winters, seeing snowfall every year. In the southern part of the state, along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, there is little to no snowfall, even in the coldest months of the year.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the snows of South Carolina and where you might be able to see it throughout the year, all across this fascinating state.
How Much Does It Snow In South Carolina?
Throughout the winter, snow does fall in South Carolina, but it depends a lot on where you are in the state. In the Upstate region, and in part of the Midlands, there is a moderate amount of snow between December and March, but the Lowcountry sees very little of the white stuff.
The average snowfall in Upstate South Carolina can be up to 7 inches in some places, whereas the Midlands will rarely see more than 1.2 inches of snow, no matter where you are. Along the coast and in the Lowcountry of the state, the average snowfall is almost non-existent, ranging from 0 to 0.3 inches.
Where Does It Snow In South Carolina?
The most snow that you will see in the state is in areas of higher elevation, to the north. The Blue Ridge Mountain Area is where temperatures are coldest, as it is the highest altitude and the furthest from the cost.
South Carolina’s coastal regions tend to get much less snow because of the cool currents that come in from the water. Winters on the coast are generally much milder, and snow rarely settles. The major locations that get the highest average snowfall in the state are:
- Blue Ridge Mountains: Average of 12 inches per year
- Caesars Head State Park: Average of 7.3 inches per year
- Greer: Average of 3.9 inches per year
- Longcreek: Average of 2.8 inches per year
- Gaffney: Average of 1.9 inches per year
- Columbia: Average of 1.2 inches per year
- Anderson: Average of 0.9 inches per year
It is rare for Upstate South Carolina to go a winter without at least some snow, but it gets a lot less predictable the further away from the mountains you are.
How Many Snow Days Are There In South Carolina?
When it comes to actual days when the snow accumulates to at least 0.1 inches deep, there are not too many in the populous areas of the state. In most cities, you would be lucky to see more than one actual snow day every year. The number of snow days that you can expect in the snowiest areas of South Carolina every year are around:
- Caesars Head State Park: Average 2.6 days of snow
- Greer: Average 2.6 days of snow
- Longcreek: Average 1.2 days of snow
- Gaffney: Average 0.9 days of snow
- Columbia: Average 0.8 days of snow
- Anderson: Average 0.6 days of snow
Where Is South Carolina?
To understand why South Carolina gets the kind of snow that it does (or doesn’t) we need to know a little bit more about the state, and where it is located in the world. The state is situated in the south-eastern part of the US, bordering North Carolina, Georgia, and the Atlantic Ocean.
It is only the 40th largest state in the country in terms of size, but it is well populated. There are over 5,000,000 Americans that call South Carolina home, making it the 23rd most populous in the US.
South Carolina is also among the most southern states in the country. Located at 33 degrees North of the equator, it is about as far south as Phoenix in Arizona, parts of Israel, and areas of Iraq and Iran. It is no surprise, then, that it is not exactly the coldest place in America.
What Is The Climate of South Carolina?
Although it does get some snow, South Carolina is a pretty warm state to live in for most of the year. It has a humid, subtropical climate and is actually known as the eighth-hottest state in the country. The average yearly temperature is around 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and the summers are generally long and hot in the Lowcountry.
Winters are usually mild on the coast, but it can get pretty cold Upstate, particularly where the elevation is highest. It does rain a lot in South Carolina, but the coastal regions tend to get the worst of it. Large cyclones and tropical storms are not uncommon. They often come in off the Atlantic Ocean, bringing a lot of adverse weather with them.
When Is The South Carolina Winter?
Unlike some states, South Carolina does have four distinct seasons and the temperatures vary noticeably across the year. In the more coastal parts of the state, winters are milder, but you can still tell each season apart by temperature and weather. Although it can change in different regions, the seasons in South Carolina generally fall on:
- Winter: December, January, February
- Spring: March, April, May
- Summer: June, July, August
- Autumn: September, October, November
It will come as no surprise that winter is when the most snow is likely to fall. Although the coldest month of the year is usually January, February often sees the most actual snowfall Upstate.
Are There Mountains In South Carolina?
If you’re looking for snow, mountains are always the best place to be, and South Carolina is no exception. The Blue Ridge Mountains contain the most significant peaks in the state, although they are taller elsewhere.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian range, that extends from Pennsylvania all the way down to Georgia. This mountain range is 550 miles long and crosses through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
There are some very tall mountains in the Appalachian range, but very few of the taller peaks are actually within the borders of South Carolina. Sassafras Mountain is the highest point in the state, at 3,554 feet above sea level, and it is right on the north-eastern border.
Is There Snow On The Mountains Of South Carolina?
Even Sassafras is not quite tall enough to have snow on the top all year round, but it certainly gets a good covering over the winter. In fact, any of the areas that are more than 2,000 feet above sea level are likely to see quite a lot of snow from December to February. The tallest mountains contained entirely within the state of South Carolina include:
- Sassafras Mountain
- Pinnacle Mountain
- Hickorynut Mountain
- Coldbranch Mountain
On the border with North Carolina, you can also find the Saluda subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many of these peaks are taller than 3,000 feet, including:
- Grassy Top Mountain
- Mackerel Mountain
- Corbin Mountain
- Hogback Mountain
A lot of the most scenic areas of high elevation in the state can be found in two state parks: Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park.
Where Can You Go From South Carolina To Experience Snow?
If you’re looking to see some snow in the state, there are lots of exciting places to visit throughout the winter. There are wonderful mountain towns and many high-elevation hiking trails. If you want to go skiing, however, you might need to travel a bit further afield, as there are no ski resorts in South Carolina.
Caesars Head State Park
If you want to get yourself into as much snow as possible, then traveling into the Blue Ridge Mountains is going to be your best bet. Caesars Head State Park is a beautiful, accessible area of natural beauty that contains many exciting hiking trails which are covered in snow over the winter months.
Jones Gap State Park
The other high-altitude State Park in South Carolina is Jones Gap, which covers 13,000 acres of incredible alpine woodlands. Jones Gap and Caesars Head are actually connected so, between the two of them, you have an almost unlimited number of wintery vistas and trails to explore.
Generally considered to be the snowiest city in the state, Greer is a great place to be in the winter. You can expect to see upwards of 4 inches on a good year, and there are lots of fun things to do. It has a population of about 25,000 people and is known as a cultural and metropolitan locale.
A beautiful city in Greenville County, Mauldin is right below the Blue Ridge Mountain area and is over 900 feet above sea level. The city can get as much as 3 inches of snow in the winter and it has many restaurants, lakes, and gardens of its own, as well as being close to State Parks and hiking trails.
In Summary: Does It Snow In South Carolina?
So, does it snow in South Carolina? The short answer is, yes, it does snow in the state of South Carolina. Although it is the eighth-hottest state in the country, the Upstate and Midlands regions see some snow almost every year, particularly in the Blue Ridge Mountain Area.
Most of the snowfall in South Carolina lands on areas that are higher than 2,000 feet, which can average between 2 and 12 inches throughout the winter.
In the Lowcountry, however, snow is much less likely, and it is not uncommon to not see any snow on the ground all winter long.