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

Written by August Croft
Published: November 27, 2022
© DrunkDriver / public domain – License / Original
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Given the fact that the majority of the state is a desert, you may be wondering when the first snow in Nevada happens, if it happens at all. Contrary to popular belief, Nevada experiences a great deal of snow depending on the location within the state, as the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range borders it and brings it a great deal of winter weather. 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the first snowfall dates in Nevada, including some examples that fall outside the norm. We will give you the average snowfall in the states, region by region, as well as where you might be able to enjoy some wildlife in the wintertime. Let’s get started! 

Understanding First Snow in Nevada

first snow in nevada
Some locations of Nevada don’t experience any snow and very little rainfall for that matter!

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Nevada Snow Facts
Earliest First SnowfallSeptember 20 (2017)
Latest First SnowfallNo snow in some locations!
Average Temperature15-60 degrees Fahrenheit
Largest Average Snowfall128 inches (2010-2011)
Smallest Average SnowfallLess than 1 inch (2016)
Places to Enjoy the SnowSierra Nevada Mountains, Reno, Lake Tahoe

Depending on where you are in Nevada, the state as a whole experiences anywhere from 20 to 50 inches of snow annually. Naturally, the majority of snow occurs at the border of California as well as the easternmost portion of the state, alongside Utah. Some locations of Nevada don’t experience any snow and very little rainfall for that matter! 

For the cities and towns in Nevada that get snow, when does the average first snowfall occur? Let’s take a closer look at the statistics now. 

Earliest and Latest Snowfalls in Nevada

first snow in nevada
When it comes to the earliest known first snowfall throughout the state of Nevada, September 20th, 2017 is often credited with this renown.

©LanaG/Shutterstock.com

Depending on your location in Nevada, some towns never experienced the first snowfall for the winter season. In fact, numerous cities located in southernmost Nevada never experienced snow and it isn’t a normal occurrence. However, even Las Vegas gets the occasional snowstorm, with an average snowfall of 5 inches annually.

When it comes to the earliest known first snowfall throughout the state of Nevada, September 20th, 2017 is often credited with this renown. The average first snowfall in Nevada occurs sometime during late November if not early December, so having snow as early as the end of September is extremely rare! 

Largest and Smallest Snowfalls in Nevada

Given its proximity to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and other snowy locations, Nevada has significant differences in its average snowfall amounts. Overall, the state as a whole averages 25 inches annually, though many locations produce far more or far less snow than this number suggests. 

When it comes to record-setting snowfall, the 2010 to 2011 winter season saw 128 inches total in the state of Nevada. Most of this was isolated in the easternmost portion of the state as well as the border of Nevada and California, in the Lake Tahoe area. However, in 2016, some locations of Nevada saw less than one inch of annual snowfall, even in locations that get more snow than this normally! 

Winter Temperatures in Nevada

first snow in nevada
The average first snowfall in Nevada occurs sometime during late November if not early December.

©iStock.com/odluap

Winter weather conditions and average temperatures can vary drastically throughout the state of Nevada. Given its desert and high altitude climates, temperatures swing dramatically depending on the time of day. Let’s take a look at the average temperatures during a Nevada winter, separated by geographic regions of the state. 

Northern Nevada

Elko is likely the largest city in Northern Nevada, with average winter temperatures ranging from 15 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit. A decent amount of snow falls in this region, bordered by Idaho and Oregon to the north. Its dry, desolate areas make it ideal for the outdoor enthusiast in your life! 

Central Nevada

Central Nevada is quite similar to Northern Nevada, with plenty of state parks to explore. However, located at the westernmost border of central Nevada is Reno, just over the border from California. Reno experiences slightly warmer temperatures than Northern Nevada, but it’s winter lows remain cold. Depending on the year, Reno average has anywhere from 15 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Southern Nevada

There’s likely no other city in Nevada quite as iconic as Las Vegas, but even Las Vegas can get cold! While Vegas likely doesn’t experience more snow than a few inches annually, its average temperatures range from 38 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the wintertime, with abnormal years averaging either higher or lower than this. 

Winter Wildlife in Nevada

first snow in nevada
While Vegas likely doesn’t experience more snow than a few inches annually, its average temperatures range from 38 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

©OryPhotography/Shutterstock.com

With forests and deserts side by side, you can only imagine that the wildlife in Nevada is phenomenal. Winter is a great time to view wildlife throughout the state, and you may get lucky and see any of the following animals: 

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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. Winter snow level rise in the northern Sierra Nevada from 2008 to 2017, Available here: https://www.mdpi.com/238882