On the western coast of the United States, about 160 kilometers south of the Canadian border, lies the seaport city of Seattle. The city sits at an elevation of 175 feet (53 meters) above sea level and has its highest point at 520 feet (158 meters) above sea level. Seattle is the 15th largest city in the United States with a population of 4 million people within its metropolitan area, which spans an area of 21202 square kilometers. Thanks to the greenery surrounding Seattle all year round, it has won itself the name Emerald city, but does it snow in Seattle?
Due to its proximity to the ocean, Seattle experiences a sub-oceanic climate where winters are rainy and mild. The frequent cold air masses blowing across the city result in a significant drop in temperatures, often reaching freezing values. Snowfall, though rare, falls in Seattle from November through February. On a snowy year, the city can record up to 6.8 inches of snow. The amount of snow in Seattle increases with an increase in altitude. Mount Rainier, which happens to be the snowiest place in the United States, receives the most snow.
When does it Snow in Seattle?
Seattle does not receive extreme temperatures during winter because water bodies such as the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington act as moderators of the temperatures. Despite that, it still sees a significant amount of snow during this period and is one of the most precipitous cities in the US.
That said, let’s have a look at Seattle’s snowiest months.
Snow in November
November is a chilly month, with temperatures fluctuating between average lows of 39.4 degrees Fahrenheit (4.1 degrees Celsius) and highs of 49.1 degrees Fahrenheit (9.5 degrees Celsius).
Throughout November, Seattle sees snow for 0.4 snowfall days and records up to 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) of snow.
Snow in December
Temperatures drop in Seattle in December and range from lows of 35.1 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Celsius) to highs of 43.7 degrees Fahrenheit (6.5 degrees Celsius).
Snow does not fall in December in Seattle though it is the most precipitous month with an aggregate of 0.87 inches (22 millimeters) after the rain has pelted the city for 8.9 days.
Snow in January
Temperatures are slightly warmer than December and range between lows of 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 degrees) and highs of 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees Celsius).
Residents of Seattle get to experience snow for 1.3 snowfall days. The city collects up to 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) of snow in December.
Snow in February
February is another cool month in Seattle, with temperatures ranging from 35.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.8 degrees) to 46.2 degrees Fahrenheit (7.9 degrees Celsius).
This is the most precipitous month in Seattle, with 0.59 inches (15 millimeters) being recorded, of which 0.71 inches (18 millimeters) is snow.
Snow in March
Temperatures in March are cool and range between lows of 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) and highs of 50.5 degrees Fahrenheit (10.3 degrees Celsius).
March is the last month where it snows in Seattle, and up 0.08 inches (2 millimeters) of snow is collected during the month.
Seattle also sees rain for 8.9 days in March, and that coupled with snow makes the 0.35 inches (9 millimeters) of precipitation recorded in the city.
Skiing in Seattle
Seattle has a vibrant skiing scene making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. When the weather is at its gloomiest and temperatures chilling, snow lovers pack their gear and head to the one destination where they can live their dreams- the mountains near Seattle.
Well, if you happen to be one of these people, here are a few ski resorts you wouldn’t want to miss.
Snoqualmie Ski Resort
Snoqualmie is a ski resort located about 45 kilometers from Seattle and is one of the most popular ski resorts among winter sports enthusiasts.
This resort has a skiable area of 7.7 square kilometers and offers skiing, snowboarding, and water tubing. The resort has a vertical elevation of 2280 feet above sea level and sixty-two slopes with different levels of difficulty: 14 % of these slopes are for beginner level skiers, 45% for intermediate, while the remaining 41% are for experts.
Snoqualmie ski resort is served 19 chairlifts, and six surface lifts that transport guests within the winter sports area.
Stevens Pass Ski Area
This is a ski resort on the Cascade Range at elevations between 4,061 feet (1238 meters) and 5845 feet (1782 meters) above sea level. It is at a higher altitude compared to the Summit.
The resort has 37 slopes that cater to all levels of difficulty. It is served by ten ski chairs that ferry 15763 guests per hour.
Mission Ridge Ski Area
This is a ski area that skiers and snowboarders from Seattle frequent. It sits between elevations of 4570 feet (1393 meters) and 6820 feet (2079 meters) above sea level and covers an area of 8.1 square kilometers. This resort receives about 200 inches of snow throughout the year.
Mission Ridge Ski Area has 36 slopes that cater to all difficulty levels and is served by six ski lifts.
Mt. Baker Ski Area
This is a ski resort about 3 hours from Seattle and is located at elevations between 3,500 feet (1067 meters) and 5089 feet (1551 meters) above sea level. It is one of the snowiest places in the world, with an annual snowfall of about 641 inches. The winter sports area measures 4.0 square kilometers and has 31 slopes that cater to all difficulty levels.
The area is served by eight ski lifts and two rope tows.
Crystal Mountain Ski Resort
This is the highest and largest ski resort in Washington and has a skiable area of 10.5 square kilometers. It is two hours away from Seattle and a population destination within the skiing community in Seattle. It is located between elevations of 3912 feet (1192 meters) and 7012 feet (2137 meters) above sea level.
It has 80 slopes that cater to all difficulty levels and is served by a gondola and ten chairlifts.