Does It Snow In Seattle? How Much Snow Does Seattle Get?

The city of Seattle is known for many things, like the first Starbucks location and the grunge music scene, but people rarely talk about the weather. If you’re planning to visit Seattle over the winter months, one question you may have is “does it snow in Seattle?

Seattle can get very cold during the winter months, leading to snow on an annual basis. Even though it does snow in Seattle, the city doesn’t get as much snow as other areas in the US. Most people that visit Seattle in the winter are more surprised by how cold the temperature is than how much snow is on the ground.

How To Become An Expat

Before you head to a new city, you should always be familiar with what to expect from the weather. On this page, we’re going to discuss how often it snows in Seattle and what winters are like in this famous city. Keep reading to learn more.

Does It Snow In Seattle?

Seattle is home to the very first Starbucks location. This has led to coffee culture becoming a very big thing in the city. One of the best ways to warm up on a cold wintery day is with a hot cup of coffee. Residents of Seattle of no strangers to snow, as they expect snow to fall every winter season.

Even though Seattle, WA does get snowfalls every year, this city doesn’t get as much snow as other cold regions across the country. This can be said for the entire state of Washington. Although winters are very cold, the amount of snow, Washington state doesn’t get nearly as much snow as Michigan or New York.

All of the weather in Seattle is determined by the Pacific Ocean. While the temperature in the city doesn’t change too drastically, the city is prone to cold spells. The cold air travels in through the Frasier Gap, which is right by Bellingham.

As the cold air comes in off the ocean, it collides with a low-pressure system. This causes the cold air to linger, which also results in snow and ice forming. 

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When Does It Snow In Seattle?

Seattle is a very wet city that receives a lot of precipitation. Generally, November will receive the most precipitation. This is also when the cold front will begin, so it’s common for the first snowfall of the year to take place in November. The snowy season can last from November through to March. However, this doesn’t mean you will see snow all season long.

In a way, the snowy season in Seattle isn’t consistent. There are winter seasons where the city will receive no snow during a particular month. There could be a late winter, where the snow doesn’t begin until December or January. There could also be an early spring, where there is no snow in March, or a late spring when snow falls in April or May.

Fortunately for people that live in Seattle, meteorologists are able to accurately predict weather based on the Pacific Ocean. 

  • December is typically the coldest month in Seattle, WA, with the average daily temperature being between 38 F and 47 F (3 to 8 F).
  • February is the snowiest month of the year in Seattle. This is the one month when residents can always expect to see snow. Most of the snowstorms and blizzards occur during this month.

How Much Snow Does Seattle Get?

While Seattle receives snow, it’s generally not enough snow to lead to people having to cancel their plans. In fact, many snowfalls in Seattle rarely last more than a day. On average, the city receives 5 inches of snow each year. That isn’t very much compared to the average for all of the US, which is 28 inches.  

While Seattle can get cold in the winter, it’s more of a wet city than a snowy city. The city gets an average of 38 inches of rain each year and only 152 sunny days per year. It’s more common for Seattle to rain in the winter months than snow. In fact, the city gets 65 percent of its rainfalls during the winter months. 

If you want to visit Seattle to experience some of the things that make this city famous, but want to avoid damp and cold weather, the best months to visit are June, July, and August. It hardly ever rains during this 3-month period.

  • Residents of Seattle can expect the heaviest rainfalls to occur from January through May. It can also rain a lot in October and December. 
  • There is usually only one day per year that there will be more than 3 inches of snow on the ground in Seattle. 
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Does It Snow Consistently in Seattle?

The snow in Seattle isn’t consistent. Most snowfalls are on the light side and don’t stay on the ground for too long. However, the city has received heavier snowfalls. Seattle is prone to experiencing snowstorms that can leave around 6 inches of snow on the ground. Luckily for people living here, the snowy conditions don’t last more than a day.

A snowfall of 21.5 inches was recorded in 1916. However, that isn’t what is believed to be the largest snowfall ever in Seattle. Before official records were kept, there was allegedly a storm that brought 4 feet of snow. This is believed to have occurred in 1880, but can’t be proven because there is no real record.

While the city of Seattle only receives snow sporadically, the mountain areas of the city have more constant snowfalls. If you want to participate in winter activities, you should visit the Leavenworth area. 

Is There a Ski Resort In Seattle?

Technically, there isn’t a ski resort within the city of Seattle. However, residents aren’t out of luck. There are many great ski resorts near Seattle that aren’t a far drive away. Three of the most popular ski resorts near Seattle are Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal Mountain, and Stevens Pass.

Snoqualmie Pass

Snoqualmie Pass is one of the top choice ski resorts that Seattle residents visit in the winter. This mountain is also known as Seattle’s home mountain. If you enjoy skiing and snowboarding, there is a location called The Summit on this mountain. It has been operating since the 1930s.

This location is only 52 miles from central Seattle. There is snow all winter season, with an average of 426 inches each year.

Crystal Mountain

A slightly further drive is Crystal Mountain, which is located 85 miles from central Seattle. This ski resort has enough rides and activities to keep guests busy all day long. It receives an average of 480 inches of snow every year, making it one of the best of Washington’s winter locations. 

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Crystal Mountain is also a very scenic ski resort. It’s located directly across from Mount Rainer, and it’s also right beside the tallest volcano peak in the state. 

Stevens Pass

Roughly 80 miles from the center of Seattle, you’ll find another great ski resort called Stevens Pass. This location receives an average of 460 inches of snow each year. This is one of the best spots for Seattle residents who are well-experienced in skiing and snowboarding to visit. There are over 1,000 acres of terrain and the ski resort has 52 different runs.

There is even an option for night skiing at Stevens Pass. People can spend all day enjoying the different runs on this mountain, especially since there are many spots to stop and enjoy a bite to eat and a beverage.

Other Ski Resorts Within 3 Hours of Seattle

  • White Pass Ski Resort
  • Mount Baker Ski Resort
  • Mission Ridge
  • Wenatchee

What Is Winter In Seattle Like?

Although residents can expect the odd snowy day in Seattle, winters aren’t that extreme. During the winter months, the temperature can be anywhere from 30 to 50 F. Temperatures are generally moderate, but the city does experience a few freezing cold days that will have people putting on a few extra layers of warm clothing before heading out.

The same can be said about the summer season. While summers are warm, they typically don’t get too hot. There will only be a few days each year that have people sitting by the air conditioner with an ice cream cone in one hand and a cold iced tea in the other. 

Final Thoughts

Does it Snow in Seattle? Yes, it does snow every winter in Seattle. While residents can expect cold fronts in the city, they generally don’t last very long. The city can expect snow anytime from November through March, but the snow won’t last long. It’s not uncommon for a month to go by in the winter season without snow.

February brings the most snow to the city. On average, there will be 5 inches each year. However, it’s rare for more than 3 inches to stay on the ground for longer than 24 hours. Seattle actually experiences more rain than snow during the winter season, which is why snow doesn’t last long.


Marta Kovachek
About the author: Marta Kovachek graduated from the university with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.