Ryan’s Take: Does a Snowy October Mean a Snowy Winter?

Sylvia Maieli

Does a snowy October mean a snowy winter? Are we going to get clobbered after Thursday's snowfall? I have good news for you - don't panic! Brad crunched some of the numbers last night at 11 p.m. and here's some of what he found.

1.5" of snow in the Hartford area (measured at Bradley Airport) yesterday makes this the 3rd snowiest October on record and only the 5th time on record measurable snow has been recorded on or before Halloween. In the hills, where October snow is more common, the 2.5" at the Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk makes 2016 the 6th snowiest winter on record!

At least in the Hartford Area the 2 Octobers that have been snowier have gone on to produce horrible duds for snow lovers like myself. I mean absolutely hideous winters. 2011-2012 managed to drop 26.7" of snow for the whole season! The 12.3" on October 29th was the biggest storm of the season. The 1979-1980 winter was even worse - 16.7" of snow fell making it the 3rd least snowy winter on record. Brutal. 

Of course, this is a very small sample size and there really aren't many conclusions you can draw from it. The two other Octobers with measurable snow - 1972 and 1925 - weren't memorable winters either with 35.2" and 45.7", respectively over the season. 

In Norfolk, where the sample size is larger, the results are more mixed. The 10 snowiest Octobers have gone on to produce near normal winters on average. The long term average in Norfolk is around 90" for the season and the winters following snowy Octobers managed 83.0" on average - with some big duds and above average years in the sample. The 1987-1988 and 1962-1963 dropped 116.4" and 125.2", respectively up in the Icebox of Connecticut. 

So - don't freak out and expect a snowy winter since this October storm dropped an inch or two of snow. But, don't be fooled into thinking this winter will be a cake walk either. The numbers don't really support any argument about how much snow we'll see this season based on one storm in October. More importantly, just be glad you didn't lose power for 11 days after this October snowstorm :-)

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