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How Much Snow Will Fall Where You Live?

There’s a reason the snowfall prediction on your weather map often misses: It represents just a fraction of the possible outcomes contained within official forecasts.

Most weather maps show you only the center of the distribution of snowfall estimates. Search below to see the full range of possibilities for your community over the next few days.

How Much Snow to Expect

The range can be wide. That’s because predicting snow remains tricky, especially several days out, said Alex Lamers, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Getting a snowfall total right requires predicting the path of a storm correctly, estimating the amount of precipitation and understanding additional factors — like the temperature high in the atmosphere, or wind speeds close to the ground — that can influence the snow’s density.

Weather Forecasters’ Best Guess

Next 3 Days

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Most Likely
Expected range of snowfall
Low End
90% chance of more snow
High End
90% chance of less snow
Source: National Weather Service’s National Digital Forecast Database Note: The ‘high end’ and ‘low end’ forecasts are considered experimental by the National Weather Service and are not available in all locations.

The map above shows the typical snowfall forecast — at the center of possible estimates from the National Weather Service. For some storms, that estimate is highly predictive. But for others, it can represent less than 50 percent of potential snowfall totals.

The buttons for “high end” and “low end” show forecasts on the edges of the Weather Service’s range.

What’s the Range of Your Snow Forecast?

Next 3 Days

Gap between high and low forecast
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Source: National Weather Service’s National Digital Forecast Database Note: This data is considered experimental by the National Weather Service and is not available in all locations. Data in some locations may be up to 24 hours out of date.

The map above uses the Weather Service’s data to illustrate the uncertainty more directly. It shows the difference between the top end of the snow forecast — the highest 10 percent of the possible total — and the lowest 10 percent. The bigger the difference, the bigger the uncertainty. Areas where the prediction is most unclear are more purple. Areas where the forecast is more certain are more yellow. Areas where no snow is expected appear light gray.

Officials at the Weather Service understand that the public needs both a reasonable estimate and some information about uncertainty, and the agency’s scientists have been consulting with experts on how to do both better. That has led it to produce the data behind our maps. But because the agency currently considers these ranges experimental, some weather forecasting offices are not yet participating. Those areas appear as dark gray on the map.

How Much Has It Already Snowed?

Past 3 Days

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Source: National Weather Service’s National Snowfall Analysis

It may already be snowing in your area. The map above will show how much snow has fallen over the last three days. And this page will update regularly, so you can return here after a storm to see how accurate the forecasts were.