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Downtown Seattle Snowfall By Year


BLI snowman

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With the downtown Seattle data now available on NCDC back to 1894, just thought I'd take the time to officially post all of the city of Seattle's official snow data for each winter and also highlight each winter's ENSO state. Red means El Nino, blue means La Nina, neither is neutral.

 

1890-91: 15.3"

1891-92: 2.2"

1892-93: 58.0"

1893-94: 19.0" (NCDC database records begin on 1/1)

1894-95: 17.1"

1895-96: 10.5"

1896-97: 31.2"

1897-98: 6.9"

1898-99: 37.0"

1899-00: 1.3"

1900-01: 16.1"

1901-02: 15.0"

1902-03: 11.3"

1903-04: 15.0"

1904-05: 4.1"

1905-06: 4.7"

1906-07: 16.0"

1907-08: 3.0"

1908-09: 15.6"

1909-10: 15.4"

1910-11: 5.7"

1911-12: 10.2"

1912-13: 15.8"

1913-14: 1.1"

1914-15: 0.0"

1915-16: 60.9"

1916-17: 16.0"

1917-18: 6.0"

1918-19: 0.0"

1919-20: 3.4"

1920-21: 9.0"

1921-22: 12.9"

1922-23: 30.3"

1923-24: 2.2"

1924-25: 7.3"

1925-26: 0.0"

1926-27: 5.7"

1927-28: 5.1"

1928-29: 18.1"

1929-30: 11.3"

1930-31: 0.0"

1931-32: 7.9"

1932-33: 2.3"

1933-34: 0.0"

1934-35: 17.6"

1935-36: 7.8"

1936-37: 19.1"

1937-38: 6.3"

1938-39: 2.0"

1939-40: 0.8"

1940-41: 0.0"

1941-42: 1.0"

1942-43: 18.4"

1943-44: 0.2"

1944-45: 0.2"

1945-46: 5.0"

1946-47: 9.5"

1947-48: 1.2"

1948-49: 20.0"

1949-50: 34.0"

1950-51: 7.5"

1951-52: 8.6"

1952-53: 0.0"

1953-54: 16.9"

1954-55: 1.0"

1955-56: 16.7"

1956-57: 21.3"

1957-58: 0.0"

1958-59: 6.5"

1959-60: 6.5"

1960-61: 4.5"

1961-62: 8.4"

1962-63: 1.8"

1963-64: 1.4"

1964-65: 13.1"

1965-66: 8.4"

1966-67: 6.0"

1967-68: 8.5"

1968-69: 36.2"

1969-70: 0.0"

1970-71: 15.6"

1971-72: 15.3" 

1972-73: 8.7" (WB office moves across I-5)

1973-74: 3.0"

1974-75: 7.5"

1975-76: 1.0"

1976-77: 1.0"

1977-78: 0.3"

1978-79: 6.0"

1979-80: 14.4"

1980-81: 1.5"

1981-82: 5.2"

1982-83: 0.0"

1983-84: 1.4"

1984-85: 6.9"

1985-86: 11.1"

1986-87: 0.3"

1987-88: 0.0"

1988-89: 16.1"

1989-90: 6.0"

1990-91: 9.8"

1991-92: 0.0"

1992-93: 3.0"

1993-94: 2.0"

1994-95: 2.5"

1995-96: 1.3"

1996-97: 22.8" (*November measurement is too low)

1997-98: 3.0"

1998-99: 2.0" (WB office closes, used Sandpoint data from here)

1999-00: 0.0"

2000-01: 4.7"

2001-02: M (no official Seattle snow data between 2001 and 2007!)

2002-03: M

2003-04: M

2004-05: M

2005-06: M

2006-07: M

2007-08: 3.1"

2008-09: 11.9"

2009-10: 0.0"

2010-11: 6.3"

2011-12: 7.7"

2012-13: 0.0"

2013-14: 2.9"

 

 

Longterm average (1890-2014): 9.1"

Longterm median (1890-2014): 6.3"

 

El Nino average: 5.3"

La Nina average: 11.1"

Neutral average: 10.8"

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1890-91 - 15.3"

1891-92 - 2.2"

1892-93 - 58.0"

 

Those are official numbers even though they're not recognized in the database for some reason.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Pretty D**n amazing how few winters had less than 10" during the first 20 or so years of record.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Good to know. 1893-94 might be missing some data as well, since I'm fairly sure that snow fell in November 1893.

Yes...

 

Nov 1893 - 3.0"

Dec 1893 - 2.3"

 

5 consecutive months had over 1 inch that winter.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Interesting that they averaged under 6" from 1923-1948.

No doubt there was a big rebound in the 1950s. It's interesting to note some areas of Western WA did a lot better in the 1923 to 1948 period though.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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I'm sure the 19th century average was close to 25".

From the records I have been able to scrape together I'm confident that the 1880 to 1900 period averaged around 25 inches for the central Puget Sound. Pretty insane how even a 10 inch winter is hard to come by now.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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From the records I have been able to scrape together I'm confident that the 1880 to 1900 period averaged around 25 inches for the central Puget Sound. Pretty insane how even a 10 inch winter is hard to come by now.

 

Borderline climates get screwed hard by the planetary warming. Thing is, although we used to get slightly more big upper level arctic airmasses, they weren't that much more common than in these last few decades. The main thing is that Seattle (and Portland) used to be a lot better at getting wet snow in borderline 32-33 degree situations. 

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Borderline climates get screwed hard by the planetary warming. Thing is, although we used to get slightly more big upper level arctic airmasses, they weren't that much more common than in these last few decades. The main thing is that Seattle (and Portland) used to be a lot better at getting wet snow in borderline 32-33 degree situations.

There has been a glaring lack of huge events like 1892-93, 1915-16, 1936-37, 1949-50, and 1968-69 also. Even a 1928-29 type winter would be amazing by today's standards. It is puzzling how we still manage to get Arctic air masses fairly regularly in spite of everything.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Borderline climates get screwed hard by the planetary warming. Thing is, although we used to get slightly more big upper level arctic airmasses, they weren't that much more common than in these last few decades. The main thing is that Seattle (and Portland) used to be a lot better at getting wet snow in borderline 32-33 degree situations. 

 

Very valid point. A climate which is warmer overall by 1-2 degrees would squeeze out a lot of past borderline snow events.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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There has been a glaring lack of huge events like 1892-93, 1915-16, 1936-37, 1949-50, and 1969-69 also. Even a 1928-29 type winter would be amazing by today's standards. It is puzzling how we still manage to get Arctic air masses fairly regularly in spite of everything.

 

Part of it is location and luck too. Salem to Eugene had two major events last winter. Not on par with the winters you mentioned, but for those more southerly locations, at least the most significant winter in over 20 years. Just a slightly different upper level setup and Seattle could have scored big time.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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Part of it is location and luck too. Salem to Eugene had two major events last winter. Not on par with the winters you mentioned, but for those more southerly locations, at least the most significant winter in over 20 years. Just a slightly different upper level setup and Seattle could have scored big time.

 

But according to a certain snowman, Eugene is the new Redding. Something about global warming forcing climate zones further north...last winter makes no sense at all!

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But according to a certain snowman, Eugene is the new Redding. Something about global warming forcing climate zones further north...last winter makes no sense at all!

 

Redding saw a big snowstorm last winter. And Eugene has been Sacramento lite the last two years, not Redding lite (much hotter at RDD than SMF).

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Redding saw a big snowstorm last winter. And Eugene has been Sacramento lite the last two years, not Redding lite (much hotter at RDD than SMF).

 

Climate change lite?

 

Anyhow, where does last winter rank for EUG and SLE anyhow? Obviously the best since 1992-93. Which was the best for snowfall since 1968-69 or 1970-71.

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Climate change lite?

 

Anyhow, where does last winter rank for EUG and SLE anyhow? Obviously the best since 1992-93. Which was the best for snowfall since 1968-69 or 1970-71.

 

No snow data at SLE, unfortunately, but they weren't a real sweet spot for last winter anyways (2008-09 or 2003-04 may have been better for them). 

 

EUG had 15.7", good enough for 5th best since that station began.

 

Corvallis officially had 18.5", which was their first real blockbuster since 1992-93. 

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SLE and BLI appear to be the last two I-5 corridor airport stations to still not be recording snowfall in the post ASOS era.

 

EUG finally did it again last winter, OLM has been doing it at least sporadically since 2011-12, SEA since 2005-06, and Portland has transferred their snow measuring to the NWS office since 1996. 

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No snow data at SLE, unfortunately, but they weren't a real sweet spot for last winter anyways (2008-09 or 2003-04 may have been better for them). 

 

EUG had 15.7", good enough for 5th best since that station began.

 

Corvallis officially had 18.5", which was their first real blockbuster since 1992-93. 

 

Cool. I think 2013-14 was probably better than 2008-09 or 2003-04 for south Salem (per reports from my dad and brother). Especially considering how long snow was on the ground.

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Cool. I think 2013-14 was probably better than 2008-09 or 2003-04 for south Salem (per reports from my dad and brother). Especially considering how long snow was on the ground.

 

Yeah, there was a sharp cutoff down there with a couple of those events last winter (while the opposite happened in December 2008), so I'm not totally sure. 

 

Bottom line is SLE needs to get their together and actually record snow again.

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South Salem and places towards Stayton and Jefferson did pretty well with the December event last year in terms of snow fall. The airport area only got about an inch though with that. I would guess for the airport location last winter was probably a little below 08-09 and 03-04. 

 

I really wish SLE had recorded snowfall in March 2012. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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I remember the Statesman Journal publishing that Salem had 16.5" of snow in 08-09, though I do not know what their source on that was since SLE doesn't measure. That number sounds about right though. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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Pretty sad showings in 1985-86 and 2008-09, considering how much many places in the Puget Sound region saw those winters.

Yeah...where I live both of those winters had a lot more snow. 2008-09 still didn't make the cut for a top 10% winter for the Portland and Seattle areas collectively though.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Part of it is location and luck too. Salem to Eugene had two major events last winter. Not on par with the winters you mentioned, but for those more southerly locations, at least the most significant winter in over 20 years. Just a slightly different upper level setup and Seattle could have scored big time.

No doubt Seattle is due for a big winter.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Salem if they had been keeping records would have had 3 winters in the 03-04 to 13-14 time frame with 10"+ 

 

Though its not like the past decade was dynamite for snow.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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No doubt Seattle is due for a big winter.

 

How on earth did they only score 11" in 08-09'?! 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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Yeah...where I live both of those winters had a lot more snow. 2008-09 still didn't make the cut for a top 10% winter for the Portland and Seattle areas collectively though.

I got 41" on Bainbridge in 08-09. Really sad Seattle only got 11.9" less than 10 miles away. Hard to believe actually.

Everett Snowfall (510 feet elevation)

Snow since February 2019: 91"

2023-24: 6"

2022-23: 17.5"

2021-22: 17.75"

2020-21: 14.5”

2019-20: 10.5"

2018-19: 24.75"

 

 

 

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South Salem and places towards Stayton and Jefferson did pretty well with the December event last year in terms of snow fall. The airport area only got about an inch though with that. I would guess for the airport location last winter was probably a little below 08-09 and 03-04. 

 

I really wish SLE had recorded snowfall in March 2012. 

 

Seems like they had 5-6" with the big storm, yeah?

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How on earth did they only score 11" in 08-09'?! 

 

Those recent downtown numbers feel pretty suspect to me, downtown Portland was only officially at 14" that winter and that seems like a definite lowball. 

 

Sandpoint for example only measured 1.6" on 12/18/2008, on a day when much of downtown Seattle had 4-5" per reports.

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How on earth did they only score 11" in 08-09'?!

I really have no idea. If they were keeping records at Sand Point it makes zero sense since Kirkland which is just across the lake supposedly had a couple of feet on the ground at one point. It's not like the warmth from the lake would make much difference as cold as it was.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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Those recent downtown numbers feel pretty suspect to me, downtown Portland was only officially at 14" that winter and that seems like a definite lowball. 

 

Sandpoint for example only measured 1.6" on 12/18/2008, on a day when much of downtown Seattle had 4-5" per reports.

Yeah there's no way they actually got less than 3" that day.

 

There was thundersnow throughout Seattle that morning and I think UW got 4-5" which is only a couple miles from Sandpoint.

 

Sandpoint has no elevation and is right on the lake so I can see how they could get less than the rest of the city in borderline setups, but that day was in the upper 20's during the snowfall.

 

They also only recorded exactly 3" on both the 20th and 21st. Seems like lazy measuring.

Everett Snowfall (510 feet elevation)

Snow since February 2019: 91"

2023-24: 6"

2022-23: 17.5"

2021-22: 17.75"

2020-21: 14.5”

2019-20: 10.5"

2018-19: 24.75"

 

 

 

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Those recent downtown numbers feel pretty suspect to me, downtown Portland was only officially at 14" that winter and that seems like a definite lowball. 

 

Sandpoint for example only measured 1.6" on 12/18/2008, on a day when much of downtown Seattle had 4-5" per reports.

I hate dealing with the horribly inaccurate or non existent snowfall numbers around here. You really have to do your homework to get a true picture sometimes.

Death To Warm Anomalies!

 

Winter 2023-24 stats

 

Total Snowfall = 1.0"

Day with 1" or more snow depth = 1

Total Hail = 0.0

Total Ice = 0.2

Coldest Low = 13

Lows 32 or below = 50

Highs 32 or below = 3

Lows 20 or below = 3

Highs 40 or below = 9

 

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I remember the Statesman Journal publishing that Salem had 16.5" of snow in 08-09, though I do not know what their source on that was since SLE doesn't measure. That number sounds about right though.

 

I had 16" in Oregon City just from December 20-22. That's after getting 3" on the 14th. The Salem to Oregon City corridor really maximized snowfall on both the 14th and again with that little system on the 22nd. I wouldn't be surprised if at least parts of Salem topped 20" for the winter.

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Those recent downtown numbers feel pretty suspect to me, downtown Portland was only officially at 14" that winter and that seems like a definite lowball. 

 

Sandpoint for example only measured 1.6" on 12/18/2008, on a day when much of downtown Seattle had 4-5" per reports.

Yeah there's no way downtown Portland had less than 20" that winter.

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Yeah there's no way they actually got less than 3" that day.

 

There was thundersnow throughout Seattle that morning and I think UW got 4-5" which is only a couple miles from Sandpoint.

 

Sandpoint has no elevation and is right on the lake so I can see how they could get less than the rest of the city in borderline setups, but that day was in the upper 20's during the snowfall.

 

They also only recorded exactly 3" on both the 20th and 21st. Seems like lazy measuring.

Yeah I lived about a mile and a half from Sandpoint at the time, and it snowed about 4" that day. There was about a foot on the ground at one point, but if I'm remembering right the highest depth recorded at Sandpoint was just 4" in December 2008. It pretty much always snowed more at my house than they recorded. I'm not sure if it has to do with elevation or consistently faulty recording. 

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I hate dealing with the horribly inaccurate or non existent snowfall numbers around here. You really have to do your homework to get a true picture sometimes.

 

We're one of the few parts of the country it seems where some major cities (Seattle for example from 2001 to 2007) have had no official snowfall data entered into the NCDC network for a number of years. The crappy nature of the COOP stations around here doesn't help, either. You really have to rely on spotter reports and old media info to get a thoroughly accurate picture.

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