First Snow in Massachusetts: The Earliest & Latest First Snows on Record

Written by August Croft
Updated: December 20, 2022
© iStock.com/mscornelius
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Whether you are planning on visiting this winter or simply want to know when the first snow in Massachusetts typically occurs, this New England state is certainly a winter wonderland. With Boston resting along the eastern coastline and the rest of the state a beautiful place to explore and enjoy, what can you expect out of a winter season in Massachusetts and when does snowfall typically occur? 

In this article, we will address everything you need to know about the first snowfall that occurs in Massachusetts, including some records that go against the norm. We will go over how much it typically snows in Boston and other cities as well as what the average temperatures are like depending on where you are in the state. Let’s get started and talk all about Massachusetts now! 

Understanding First Snow in Massachusetts 

first snow in massachusetts
The further west you go, the more snow you are likely to experience in Massachusetts.

©John Phelan / Creative Commons – License

Massachusetts Snowfall Facts
Earliest First SnowfallOctober 10 (1979)
Latest First SnowfallDecember 5 (2020)
Average Temperature15-40 degrees Fahrenheit
Largest Average Snowfall108 inches (2015)
Smallest Average Snowfall6 inches (1973)
Places to Enjoy the SnowBoston, Berkshire East, Shrewsbury

Depending on where you are located within Massachusetts, the average snowfall varies from east to west. However, the average snowfall in Boston is anywhere from 30 to 50 inches annually, which is certainly nothing to scoff at in terms of winter weather! The further west you go, the more snow you are likely to experience in Massachusetts, something to keep in mind if you plan on visiting or living in this state. 

But when does snow first fall in Massachusetts on average, and what might some abnormal statistics be when it comes to winter weather in the state? Let’s take a closer look at the figures now. 

Earliest and Latest Snowfalls in Massachusetts 

first snow in massachusetts
October 10th, 1979 is largely credited with the earliest first snowfall in Boston in particular.

©Dean Pennala/Shutterstock.com

There are a few different records suggesting when the earliest first snowfall occurred within Massachusetts, October 10th, 1979 is largely credited with the earliest first snowfall in Boston in particular. This is extremely early, especially when you consider the fact that most snow happens within the state of Massachusetts sometime during the month of November or December

Speaking of December, this month is currently credited with the latest first snowfall in the state of Massachusetts. December 5th, 2020 heralded the very first snowfall of the 2020 winter season, a date that isn’t necessarily abnormal, but certainly still later than average. However, this date is largely associated with snowfall in Boston rather than other parts of the state, so it’s hard to say if this was an accurate date of the first snowfall for everyone! 

Largest and Smallest Snowfalls in Massachusetts 

If you live in Massachusetts currently, you likely know that your winters are extreme and nothing to scoff at. There are many record-breaking snow storms in Massachusetts’ history, but the largest annual snowfall amount happened during the 2015 season. In fact, roughly 108 inches fell across Massachusetts during this storm, and 25 inches fell on Boston overnight! 

Extreme snowfall and winter weather are more prominent in Massachusetts rather than limited snowfall and dry winters. However, 1973 totaled the smallest amount of annual snowfall in the state, with only 6 inches in some locations. Compared to over 100 inches of snow, this was a particularly mellow winter when you consider other storms in Massachusetts’ history! 

Winter Temperatures in Massachusetts 

first snow in massachusetts
Extreme snowfall and winter weather are more prominent in Massachusetts rather than limited snowfall and dry winters.

©Gray Moeller/Shutterstock.com

No matter where you live in Massachusetts, the winter is going to be a bit cold. 0 degrees Fahrenheit and colder are probable temperatures, depending on winter weather conditions. However, what are the average temperatures like throughout the state? Let’s take a closer look at the different regions of Massachusetts and what winter is like. 

Western Massachusetts 

Full of ski resorts and natural wonders, western Massachusetts is undoubtedly the coldest part of the state. Depending on where you live, the average temperature in western Massachusetts during the wintertime ranges anywhere from 15 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, maintaining freezing temperatures for much of the winter season. 

Central Massachusetts 

Central Massachusetts is slightly warmer compared to western Massachusetts, but not by much. The average winter temperatures throughout December and January range from 18 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit, with winter weather conditions likely. 

Eastern Massachusetts 

The most populated city in Massachusetts is located to the east, along the coast. While Boston is warmer compared to other cities in the state, it still experiences frigid winters and plenty of winter weather. The average temperature in the city of Boston ranges anywhere from 24 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, though colder temperatures are common during December and January. 

Winter Wildlife in Massachusetts 

first snow in massachusetts
No matter where you live in Massachusetts, the winter is going to be a bit cold.

©iStock.com/Jillian Cooper

It’s common enough to see wildlife in more rural areas of Massachusetts, even in the wintertime. If you choose to visit Boston and venture into the great outdoors during this chilly season, you may witness the following animals in their natural habitat:

  • White-tailed deer
  • Beavers
  • Moose
  • Coyotes
  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Bats
  • Fishers
  • Black bears

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The Featured Image

winter
Beautiful winter scene with snow covered mountains and a frozen river with blue sky.
© iStock.com/mscornelius

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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Sources
  1. Health consequences of the snow disaster in Massachusetts, February 6, 1978., Available here: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.69.10.1047