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When the First Snow of the Season Typically Falls

2020-2021 Season Ended Up Slightly Below Normal In Snowfall
The first snowfall can vary greatly from year to year in southern Wisconsin.
The first snowfall can vary greatly from year to year in southern Wisconsin.(WMTV)
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Are you eager for the first snowfall of the season? With Halloween coming and going, that means we are well into November and on our way towards the winter season. It is that time of year where storm systems start to bring not only rain chances, but also the chance of that fluffy white stuff.

A couple of days into November and we are already approaching an inch deficit in the snowfall department. With October being a mild one up until the end, it isn’t a surprise that we ended the month without any snow. However, it isn’t uncommon for October’s go without seeing snow. A trend that usually reverses as we head through the month of November.

As of early November, snowfall was running below normal.
As of early November, snowfall was running below normal.(WMTV)

While not a lot, October does average a little under an inch of snow. Average snowfall tops out around three inches November. From there it climbs to a foot in December and over a foot in January, our snowiest month in Madison. We average snowfall all the way through the month of May, even if it is just a tenth of an inch by then. The average annual snowfall in Madison comes in at 51.8 inches, based on the 1991-2020 climate period.

So what does history tell us? Well, the current climate period says that we should see our first flurries by October 15th. Our first measurable snow, under an inch, should happen by November 12th. Finally, that first inch or more of snow typically arrives by November 25th.

Madison averages 51.8 inches of snowfall over an 8 month period.
Madison averages 51.8 inches of snowfall over an 8 month period.(WMTV)

Being a transition time of the year, the first snowfall of the season can vary greatly from year to year. Since snow records started back in 1884, we have had the first flurries of the year as early as September 23rd and as late as November 28th. The earliest accumulating snow was October 6th with the latest being January 1st. The earliest one inch or more snowfall was October 10th with the latest being February 6th.

As for the 2021-2022 winter season, I think we are going to be on the late end of most of these dates. With a calm and mild pattern heading towards Thanksgiving, it doesn’t bring a lot of opportunity for snowfall other than perhaps a few flurries.

Think you can predict the first snowfall? Enter our 1st Snowfall contest!

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