Wx Blog: What is considered “normal” for the first snow in Rochester?

Snow in October? Oh yeah, it happens. In fact, it’s considered normal for it to happen. Believe it or not, Rochester sees it’s first flakes, on average, around the third week of October.

There are a few caveats with that. First flakes literally means a few snowflakes flying in the air. It doesn’t mean it sticks, and it most definitely doesn’t mean it accumulates to an appreciable amount. Our average first measurable snow doesn’t arrive until early November and our first 1″+ snow holds off until around November 20th.

Rochester has seen snow as early as September in the past, again falling under the category of novelty versus sticking and piling up. During years where Winter decides to arrive a little late, we’ve held off until December before seeing an measurable snowfall. Hard to imagine getting through the entire month of November (and Thanksgiving) without any snow, but it can happen.

Where will this October fall? We’ve been riding a warm streak for many weeks now, but longer range models keep hinting at bursts of colder air lurking toward the second half of the month. Will any of those be enough to produce our first snowflakes? Too soon to tell, but don’t be shocked if it happens. It’s entirely normal for us to have seen flakes before Halloween. Scary, isn’t it?

Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil

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