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 (≥0.01 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).