What counts as Denver’s first snowfall of the season?

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DENVER (KDVR) — Nearly a week into November and it still hasn’t officially snowed in Denver.

Sure, a few snowflakes have fallen around the city, but the snow has not accumulated enough to be measured.

What defines Denver’s first snowfall? According to the National Weather Service, the snow must be measurable. The NWS considers one-tenth of an inch or more of snowfall as measurable snow.

Here’s another factor to consider: Since 2008, the NWS has measured snow and temperatures for Denver at Denver International Airport, even though downtown Denver is around 20 miles away from DIA.


Snow history

The average date of the first snowfall in Denver is Oct. 18. So, what is the latest date of the first snowfall in Denver?

Answer: Nov. 21, 1934.


Least snowy November?

There was no snow in November of 1949. There have been 8 years that have tied for only trace amounts of snowfall in November, including 2017 and 2005. Both years went on to be drier than normal winters in Denver. They were low snow years.


Snow over the last 10 years

Here’s a look at the list of the first snowfalls during the last 10 years from the National Weather Service:

  • Sept. 8, 2020
  • October 10, 2019
  • October 6, 2018
  • October 9, 2017
  • November 17, 2016
  • November 5, 2015
  • November 11, 2014
  • October 18, 2013
  • October 5, 2012
  • October 25, 2011
  • November 15, 2010

Average snowfall

How much snow can Denver expect this year? It’s too early to guess. The average total snowfall is 56.4 inches.

The lowest snowfall season total over the last 10 years: 21.8 inches in 2016-2017.

The greatest snowfall season total over the last 10 years: 80.2 inches in 2020-2021. The March 2021 blizzard delivered 27 inches of snow to Denver.

Here’s a look at the snowfall season totals for the last 10 years, according to the National Weather Service:

  • 2020-2021: 80.2 inches
  • 2019-2020: 57.6 inches
  • 2018-2019 48.1 inches
  • 2017-2018 25.7 inches
  • 2016-2017 21.8 inches
  • 2015-2016 72.8 inches
  • 2014-2015 57.8 inches
  • 2013-2014 38.4 inches
  • 2012-2013 78.4 inches
  • 2011-2012 55.6 inches
  • 2010-2011 22.8 inches

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