Alaska Climate Research Center

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First Snowfall Date

With winter fast approaching, one commonly asked question we get is “What is the average date of the first snowfall of the season?”  The answer is that it depends on the location.  The table below shows the mean date of the first snowfall at 19 first-order weather stations, as well as the earliest and latest first snowfalls recorded.

Table. Mean date of first measurable (≥0.1 in) snowfall.

Region Location Earliest Date Mean Date Latest Date
Arctic Utqiaġvik Aug 8* Oct 2
Interior Fairbanks Aug 25 Oct 2 Oct 29
  Bettles Aug 9 Sep 26 Oct 24
  Delta Junction Sep 2 Sep 29 Nov 6
  McGrath Aug 26 Oct 2 Oct 29
West Coast Bethel Sep 14 Oct 10 Nov 14
  Cold Bay Sep 24 Oct 19 Nov 28
  King Salmon Sep 20 Oct 19 Nov 21
  Kotzebue Aug 30 Oct 3 Nov 6
  Nome Sep 3 Oct 6 Nov 15
  St. Paul Island Sep 17 Oct 17 Nov 24
South Central Anchorage Sep 21 Oct 16 Nov 13
  Gulkana Aug 29 Oct 4 Oct 28
  Homer Sep 21 Oct 27 Dec 2
  Kodiak Sep 21 Nov 2 Dec 31
  Talkeetna Sep 17 Oct 13 Nov 8
South East Juneau Oct 2 Nov 4 Dec 14
  Annette Oct 18 Nov 22 Feb 25
  Yakutat Sep 15 Oct 28 Dec 18

*Calculated with season start date of Jul 1

The earliest first snowfall dates occur in the Arctic region.  In Utqiagvik, snowfall has been observed even during the summer months, with the 30-year summer seasonal average snowfall of 1.7 inches.  For the rest of the state, the mean first snowfall date occurs between the end of September to the beginning of November.  Locations within the Interior and farther north have earlier first snowfall dates than locations along the coast and further south.  The latest dates for the first snowfall occur across the Southeast.  Snowfall records from Annette, which span from 1941 to 2018, show three snow seasons when the first snowfall date occurred after January 1: 1941-1942 (Feb 25), 1969-1970 (Jan 4), and 1989-1990 (Jan 1).

Check out our Snowfall Climate Normals page or download snowfall data from our Data Portal.

1 thought on “First Snowfall Date”

  1. Pingback: The Biggest October Snowstorm in Alaska History Dumped an Absurd Amount of Snow | Brightgram

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