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Sunday's skiff of snow enough to count as second-earliest in Seattle history

A bit of snow falls in the Seattle area on Nov. 5, 2017 (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- We didn't get a whole lot of snow on Sunday -- it certainly wasn't the 2-3 inches we had potential for -- and it didn't last long. But it's brief appearance was enough to leave an indelible mark on Seattle's weather history books.

Sea-Tac Airport measured 0.4 inches of snow on Sunday - sure, a paltry amount, but considering snow in early November is exceedingly rare, it will go down as the second-most snow measured this early in Seattle's "winter" season since weather records began being kept in 1892.

Only on Oct. 27, 1971 has Seattle seen more snow earlier in the season, when 2 inches fell at the airport. There was also 0.2" measured on both Nov. 6, 1975 and Nov. 3, 1973.'

And it's probably a good thing that it was early in the season, because the general weather pattern set up the past three days was nearly textbook for snow in Seattle -- had it been later in the season. Two storms moving in just to our south brought in cold air from British Columbia in what would usually be bone-chilling arctic air, but wasn't quite as cold yet this early in November. That left much of the region in the mid 30s and on the fringe of snow as opposed to maybe upper 20s/low 30s had traditional arctic air been in place.

Seattle ended up with just over 1.30" of rain for the three days which would have translated into several inches of snow had it been cold enough to stick. As it is, we'll have to take the consolation prize of getting second place with the minuscule 0.4" inches of snow.

The chilly temps did manage to break some records

Another sign of how rare early season snowfall is, we managed to set some chilly temperature records as well. The three day period of Friday through Sunday each set records for coldest recorded high temperatures of their specific date: 43 degrees on Friday, 41 on Saturday and just 40 on Sunday.

So, does this mean we're in for a snowy winter?

Now that we've already got measurable snow on the board before we've even had election day, many are wondering if this is a sign of things to come.

The answer is mixed. Of the 12 seasons that have had their first measurable snow before November 15, seven have ended up with above normal snowfall seasons (four with more than a foot-and-a-half seasonal total) with an eighth coming up right about normal (6.8 inches).

However, that winter that holds the record for earliest snow (1971) also holds the record for the latest snow on record: April 17, 1972.

With La Nina conditions continued to be favored to develop this winter, odds would lean toward a cooler, wetter/snowier winter.

But not in the short term. The forecasts for the next 7-10 days do not indicate any additional early season lowland snow.

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