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Denver closing in on records for latest first snowfall of the season

Latest-ever first snow was Nov. 21, 1934
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Posted at 2:38 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 16:41:14-05

DENVER – Denver’s snow-free fall so far is closing in on breaking records for the latest first measurable snowfall of the season.

Denver International Airport, where official measurements are taken, has recorded just a trace of snow in October and November so far. At least one-tenth of an inch of snow needs to fall for it to be considered measurable snowfall.

And with little-to-no snow currently forecast for the area for at least the next few days, it appears likely that 2021 will move into the record books for the top 10 latest first snowfalls in Denver since 1882, according to National Weather Service records.

The latest-ever first snow in Denver fell on Nov. 21, 1934, so we’re still 11 days out from breaking that record. But if it does not snow before Sunday, Nov. 14, as appears will be the case, this year will make the top 10 list for latest snowfalls:

1. Nov. 21, 1934 – 1 inch
2. Nov. 19, 1931 – 1 inch
3. Nov. 17, 2016 – 1.7 inches
4. Nov. 16, 1894 – 2.6 inches
T-5. Nov. 15, 2010 – 1.5 inches
T-5. Nov. 15, 1988 – 2.5 inches
T-5. Nov. 15, 1987 – 6.1 inches
T-5. Nov. 15, 1902 – 4 inches
T-9. Nov. 14, 2008 – 0.1 inches
T-9. Nov. 14, 1964 – 4.2 inches
10. Nov. 14, 1944 – 0.1 inches

Over the past 129 years, Denver has averaged 1 inch of snow in September, 4.1 inches in October and 7.4 inches in November. By the end of November last year, Denver had already gotten 10 inches of snow. In 2019, Denver saw 26.2 inches of snow by the end of November.

The last time it was this dry to kick off snow season was in 2017, when Denver saw just 2.8 inches of snow in October and a trace in November, and in 2016, when the city got no snow in October and just 1.7 inches in November – on the 17th day of the month, which was good for the third-latest first snow on record.

Both of those winters saw snowfall levels more than 30 inches below normal for the season.

The average first snowfall date is Oct. 18 in Denver. Last year, Denver saw its second-earliest first snowfall of the season when 1 inch fell on Sept. 8.

Statewide, snowpack is slightly above normal for this time of year as several storms have hit the mountains, including this week. But the South Platte basin that includes Denver and the metro area was at 81% of normal as of Wednesday.

Colorado snowpack levels as of Nov. 10, 2021.