Weather Talk: Snow in early October is not unusual at all

There was nothing unusual about the snow on Wednesday, Oct. 10. True, snow does not always fall in the first half of October, nor does it always fall in November or December. With records to 1881, and ignoring little fraction-of-an-inch snows tha...

There was nothing unusual about the snow on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

True, snow does not always fall in the first half of October, nor does it always fall in November or December. With records to 1881, and ignoring little fraction-of-an-inch snows that quickly melt and are just as quickly forgotten, the average date of the first 1-inch snowfall in Fargo-Moorhead is Oct. 31, but this is a statistic that has tremendous year-to-year variability.

The earliest 1-inch snow on record was Sept. 25, 1912. There have been two winters, 1943-44 and 2014-15, when the first inch of snow fell after midwinter on Jan. 27, 1944, and Feb. 10, 2015.

Cold season precipitation tends to come in bursts. The weather will be active for a while and then quiet for a while. To get an early snow, the weather must hit a pattern that is both cold and active at just the right time. The last time there was measurable snow this early in Fargo-Moorhead was 2006, when 2.2 inches fell on Oct. 10.