A pronounced El Niño during the winter months does not always lead to above-normal snowfall in the southeastern United States. However, one of the largest snows in the history of eastern North Carolina occurred during the El Niño of 1972-73. On February 9-11 of 1973, a massive snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow in Wilmington, NC. Southern coastal counties in the WNCT veiwing area picked-up over 15 inches. In fact, measurable snow was reported all the way to Florida.

Like so many of the “big” snowstorms in our state’s history, the 1973 system was a coastal storm. In addition to record-setting cold, high winds were reported in several coastal communities. This lead to snowdrifts, which increased the overall impact to travel.

(images courtesy of NOAA and the Augusta Chronicle)

Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson