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Seattle hit with early November snowfall

Unusually low temperatures brought early snow

A snowy day in December 2016.
Checubus/Shutterstock

Much of Western Washington, including parts of Seattle, were hit by morning snowfall on Friday, marking the first snowfall of the season for the region.

Elevations above 200 feet in the Seattle metro experienced slushy snowfall, even accumulating on the grass in some places. Still, many just saw rain.

For many that saw the snow, it came as a surprise. Models Thursday night showed the possibility of snow, and to the north and in the passes, snow was already falling the previous afternoon.

But early November is much earlier than it typically snows here. Our average first snow is in late December. Last year, the day was dry with a high of 65 degrees. Besides, highs were in the 60s literally earlier this week.

So to get snowfall when it’s barely after Halloween isn’t entirely unheard of. Seattle’s earliest measurable snowfall, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), was in 1971, when snow fell October 27.

Still, today is especially cold. NWS predicted early Friday morning that we’ll set a record for lowest high temperature for the day.

Early snow, NWS cautions, doesn’t necessarily mean an especially snowy winter. While that 1971 snowy season did have high snowfall—almost 30 inches—three out of the five earliest snows ultimately resulted in less than five inches of snowfall for the season.

La Niña conditions this winter could mean a lot of snow, but there are no guarantees.