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It’s November: Shouldn’t it have snowed by now?

MinnPost photo by Craig Lassig
What are you waiting for, winter?

We’re about a week deep in November and the Twin Cities metro has yet to see its first snowfall of the year. In fact, it was just a few days ago that temperatures hit more than 70 degrees in Minneapolis.

If this strikes you as a little unusual, please take a moment to applaud your adept powers of perception.

gif of people applauding

Over the past 100 years, the first snow of the year fell in the Twin Cities just about half the time by today's date, according to data from the Department of Natural Resources. Pity the hardy souls living here in 1985; that year saw its first snowfall on September 24.

First snows in the Twin Cities metro, 1915-2015
In the chart below, each bar represents the number of times that day — October 15, say — was the first day of snow in the past 100 years. For example, November 3 was the first day snow fell in 1935, 1970, 1990 and 2003, so its bar reaches up to 4.

The latest date for first snow? In 1928, the first snow was recorded on December 3.

But in general, one could count on snow to fly in the Twin Cities in November. In fact, the most common first days of snow in these years have been November 7th and 8th — this coming weekend — according to the data.

But don’t plan on busting out the shovels just yet. According to current projections by AccuWeather, we’re not going to get accumulation for a while. Minneapolis and St. Paul are expected to see a light snowfall on November 19, then nothing until December 11.

For a statewide and national perspective, check out this map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, based on slightly different data (the 30-year normals from 1981-2010):


For much of Minnesota, it generally starts snowing at some point in October.

Random Acts of Data is an occasional series by MinnPost reporter Andy Mannix and news editor Tom Nehil. The goal: to answer questions about all things Minnesota using the vast amount of data at our disposal. If you have a question you’re wondering about, send an email to with the subject line, “Random Acts of Data.”

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Joseph Stans on 11/06/2015 - 11:41 am.


    Quiet! Go to you room.

  2. Submitted by Julie Barton on 11/06/2015 - 02:13 pm.


    I admit it: I’m ready.

  3. Submitted by joe smith on 11/06/2015 - 02:43 pm.

    There will be snow on the ground in N Minn within the next 15 days (deer season) only twice in the past 50 yrs has there not been at least a trace of snow. That according to log/weather book at camp. Good luck and be safe hunters?

  4. Submitted by tom kendrick on 11/06/2015 - 06:18 pm.

    November no snow

    I love Minnesota and I love the four seasons, from glorious buggy summer to freezy sneezy winter to blustery flustery fall to springy spring. Why do the radio people and others in the media talk about how it’s going to be a “great day” because it’s going to be 50 degrees in November, as if personal comfort was our only concern? Fifty or seventy in November is not great; it’s troubling. I like warm air on my skin, too, but I like it in May when I am starved for the sun. What character building can happen when we start drifting toward Missouri winters? Where are our our collective backbones?
    What about the raw wind in November, the smell of snow on the air, the crunch of leaves and dry grass underneath when the sky is heavy gray and is making plans to change your plans – isn’t that exciting? What about that first significant snowfall where the giant paintbrush blows out of the western sky and completely redesigns our familiar world – isn’t that a remarkable gift? Who would wish that away? Move to Phoenix if you don’t want the weather to startle you, and to make your home all the more homey because it’s a respite from some dynamic stuff happening out there.

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