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Snowpocalypse by the numbers: Western Washington’s biggest snow events

In January 1950, Seattle got 20 inches of snow, which was the biggest single-day snow event in the area’s recent history.

SEATTLE — Western Washington is still unburying itself from recent snowfall, but the storm didn't come close to the biggest snowstorm the area has ever seen.

Seattle’s snowiest day was on January 13, 1950 when 20 inches fell in one day, according to the National Weather Service.

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Other memorable snowfall days were in January 1969 when almost 15 inches fell at Sea-Tac Airport and November 1978 when 10 inches fell in Olympia two days in a row.

In February 2019, Seattle experienced one of its biggest snowstorms where 17.5 inches of snow fell over a four-day period, contributing to the snowiest February on record.

Another major snowstorm was in December 1996 where over a foot fell. That storm was immediately followed by heavy rainfall that triggered urban flooding and landslides. However, exact snowfall measurements from that storm were missing from National Weather Service data and are not included in charts here.

CHART: Top snow events in Western Washington

Average annual snowfall totals have dropped over the last 50 years. During the 1950s and 1960s, Sea-Tac Airport averaged more than 17 inches of snow each year compared to just 5.2 inches since 2004.

The most snowfall Seattle recorded in one year was 60.6 inches in 1950 followed by 45.4 inches in 1969. In recent years, the most snowfall Seattle experienced was in 2019 (21 inches total), in 2017 (13.2 inches total) and in 2012 (11.1 inches).

CHART: Annual snowfall in Seattle

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