October Snow Rarely Leads to Snowy Winter

The city has been abuzz with talk of the season’s first flakes this week. While these flakes will be confined to areas North and West of Boston Thursday night, and only minor accumulations are likely, this is a good time to review October snow stats. Interestingly enough, early snowfall often leads to a lackluster snow season.

Since snowfall records began in Boston, October snow has been observed on 29 out of 119 years (24%).

Of those years with at least a trace of October snow, the subsequent winter seasons featured below average snowfall (less than 43.7″) 40% of the time. Snowfall was near normal (between 43.7″ and 47.8″) another 40% of the time. A mere 20% of winter seasons following an October snowfall featured significantly above normal snowfall (greater than 47.8″).

The numbers are even more striking when looking at October’s with measurable snowfall (greater than 0.1″). In those 4 case, all 4 subsequent winters featured below normal snowfall.

So, while conventional wisdom may link early snowfall to an overall snowy winter ahead, Boston’s numbers prove that is rarely the case.