When can you expect the first snow of the season?

In many areas, it might be earlier than you think

Winter might still be a month away, but many parts of the United States can see their first snow during the fall.

NOAA's Climate.gov created the interactive map below that provides a general idea of when the season's first snow falls in an average year. The data are based on the 1981-2010 climatological averages calculated by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

There are a few caveats that should be noted about the data displayed on the map. These aren't the "average" dates of the season's first observed snowfall. Instead, it’s the date by which there’s a 50% chance at least 0.1 inches of snow will have accumulated. The dates are determined using each location's snowfall history between 1981 and 2010.


 

This map shows the historic date by which there’s a 50% chance at least 0.1 inches of snow will have accumulated, based on each location’s snowfall history from 1981-2010 from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. Double click on the map to zoom in, or use the controls at the upper left. Single click for specific location information. To improve map performance and loading times, station pop-ups appear at zoom levels of 2x or more. (Map by NOAA Climate.gov)

September or earlier

Believe it or not, the highest peaks of the Rockies can see snow as early as late summer.

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By September, the Washington Cascades, Bitterroot Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border, the highest peaks of the Colorado Rockies and the western High Plains see their first flakes in an average year.

October

In the Northeast, the season's first snow typically occurs in October in northern and western New England, upstate New York and from the higher elevations of central and western Pennsylvania down into the central Appalachians.

In the Midwest and Plains, areas from Michigan and northern Ohio into the Dakotas, western and northern Kansas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles see their first snow during October in an average year.

In the West, October typically ushers in the season's first snowfall in Wyoming, eastern Idaho, lower elevations of Montana, Utah's Wasatch Range, Colorado's foothills and mountain valleys and the mountains of New Mexico.

November

Much of the Northeast will receive its first snowfall of the season by November in an average year. This includes the Interstate 95 corridor from Boston to Richmond, Virginia.

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In the Midwest and Plains, November usually brings the season's first snow to much of the Ohio Valley, parts of the southern Great Lakes, the Corn Belt, southern and eastern Kansas and parts of Oklahoma.

In the West, the first snow typically falls in November in southwestern New Mexico, parts of Arizona and the Pacific Northwest.

December

Most areas from the Southern Plains to the Southeast don't usually see their first snowfall of the season until December. This includes the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and Nashville, Tennessee, according to NOAA's dataset.

January or later

Many Southern locations of the U.S. from the eastern Carolinas to central and southern Texas might not pick up any snow in an average year. This is especially true along the Gulf Coast and in Florida.

If it does snow in these places, it's typically not until January or February, when average temperatures dip to their lowest point of the year.

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