When does the First Measurable Snow Occur in the Northeast?

November 9, 2021 // Article by: Brad Miller

Now that we are into November, many of us here in the Northeast are busy preparing for the upcoming winter season. Winter has already arrived across parts of the country and several Certified Snowfall Totals® have been completed.  Let’s take a look back to see when our first snow usually occurs in comparison to some impressive records. As the table below shows, those along the I – 95 corridor typically do not see any snow before Thanksgiving.

And although New England typically receives its first accumulation of snow before the end of November, most of the Northeast has to wait until mid-December.  However, it can snow well before these average "first snow" dates.  Check out some of these snow amounts from just last year as an early season Nor'easter impacted much of New England the day before Halloween.

There were some other rather impressive early season snowfalls.  One in particular occured on October 10, 1979 when a snowstorm swept up the East Coast. In fact, the storm canceled one of the World Series games between the Orioles and Pirates in Baltimore.  Of course, when it comes to some of the largest and most damaging October snow events, that honor goes to October 2011. In this storm, heavy, wet snow accumulated over a foot across portions of the interior Northeast (over 2 feet at some elevations in New England) and led to numerous downed trees along with a massive amount of power outages. It’s important to note that early season snow events are especially dangerous because snow covered leaves will weigh down trees causing them to snap rather easily. Once these trees hit the power lines, trouble obviously ensues.

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