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A look at weather extremes and the big-picture climate connections.

Seattle Sees Nearly a Year’s Worth of Snow in One Storm

The major winter storm affecting the Pacific Northwest today has already dumped about 2 feet of snow in areas southwest of Seattle, with about 4 inches  6.8 inches in the city. This is just shy of the more than the typical annual snowfall for Seattle, which is 5.9 inches, but nowhere near a record storm. The seasonal total is now 9.3 inches.

In the mountains, though, the snowfall amounts are even more impressive, with 5 or more feet likely to accumulate by the end of the week.

Heavy snows are unusual in Seattle due to the mild air flow off the Pacific Ocean. To illustrate the city's snowfall history, Climate Central data analyst Dennis Adams-Smith examined the snowfall data from weather stations in the Seattle area, dating back to 1895. As the interactive chart below shows, heavy snows of more than 6 inches are quite rare.

The chart shows the largest 24-hour snowfall amounts (in inches) for each month dating back for each of the Seattle area observation stations, including Sea-Tac airport and the University of Washington. The straight line across denotes six inches of snow.

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