When can we expect the first snow of the season?

Winter may still be nearly three months away, but many parts of the United States will see their first snowfall in the fall.

We can’t tell you exactly when the first snowflakes of the season will hit your home, but we can give you an idea of ​​when that usually happens based on average weather conditions over the years.

The map below shows the average days of first measurable snowfall for the 48 contiguous U.S. states according to the most recent 30-year climatological averages (1991-2020) from NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information.

Measurable snow is defined as snow cover of at least 0.1 inches, so if the first snow does not adhere to the ground, it is not considered official first snow in weather records.

However, be aware that the weather is not always normal. A strong cold front could bring the first snow days or weeks earlier than shown in the map below. On the other hand, if the upper high pressure continues into the fall, the first snow may arrive later than the dates shown on the map.

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Average first snow map

Average days of the first snow of the season.

Believe it or not, the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains see snow in late summer.

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By September, the Washington Cascades, the Bitterroot Mountains along the border of Idaho and Montana, the highest peaks of the Colorado Rockies, and the western High Plains will see the first flakes in a normal year.

In the Northeast, from the higher elevations of northern and western New England, northern New York, central and western Pennsylvania to the central Appalachians, the first snow usually falls in October.

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In the Midwest and Plains, areas from northern Michigan and Ohio to the Dakota, western and northern Kansas, and the Panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma typically see their first snow in October.

In the west, the first snow usually falls in October in Wyoming, eastern Idaho, the lowlands of Montana, the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, the hills and mountains of Colorado, and the mountains of New Mexico.

Many areas in the Northeast typically see their first snowfall of the season by November. This includes Interstate 95 from Boston to Richmond, Virginia.

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In the Midwest and Plains, the first snow usually falls in November over 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, southwestern New Mexico, parts of Arizona, and the Pacific Northwest usually get their first snow in November.

In most areas from the southern plains to the southeast, the first snow is usually not seen until December. This includes the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Nashville, Tennessee, according to NOAA-calculated averages.

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Many parts of the southern United States, from eastern Carolina to central and southern Texas, may not get any snow in a typical year. This is especially true along the Gulf Coast and in Florida.

If it snows in these places, it usually lasts until January or February. average temperature drops to the lowest point of the year.