In Boston, October Snows Don't Necessarily Predict Rough Winters

If the forecasts are correct, it’s probably going to snow a little tonight. But even though most of the stuff won’t stick in the metro area, snow before Halloween is not as uncommon as you might think.

The last couple weeks of October actually form quite a little snowbelt. From 1956 to 1969, it snowed at some point all but three years during that time period — though only ever in trace amounts.

Nor do October squalls predict a particularly snowy winter. None of the years between 1950 and 1969 made the list of the top ten snowiest years, according to NOAA.

So what is uncommon about October storms? When there’s still snow the next day.

To find that, you have to go back to October 2005, when 1.1 inches of snow fell and stuck to both the ground and the record books. Going deeper into history, there has been appreciable October snows in 1979, 1913, and 1884.

And that’s where the picture gets a little bleaker: With 86.6 total inches, 2005 was the city’s snowiest year ever. Still, that appears to be the historical fluke, and pre-Halloween storms don’t seem to predict hard winters in a statistically meaningful way.

So let’s not get gloomy about a repeat of last year just yet. Leave that to today’s weather.