The absolute first snow of 2011 began sometime midday on October 5th, approximately tying with 2007 and 2009, and much earlier than 2010 (tracking since 2007). Snow continued falling through the night, and early the next morning, the 6th, I grabbed a few photos around and near our little house.
Our garden looked like this. Tall flowers were knocked over by the snow, chard was frozen though not irretrievably, and staked tomatoes were safe inside a now heated mini-greenhouse.
Chinese elm trees all across town, heavily laden with snow because leaves hadn't fallen and were fully green, suffered broken branches, sometimes with severe to complete damage down and into the central core. At least some of the branches hanging over this fence will have to be completely cut back. The tree will presumably survive, but will probably require energetic pruning. Hanging branches of the same tree, also heavy with snow, looked like this in spring, 2010 (last four photos).
Down the road, another view of hanging branches with leaves still green. The brown leaves on these elm trees are from munching by beetles, not from any early fall color change.
The early morning of the 5th saw our first freeze of 2011 (temperature only reached 30° F at the airport, was probably not as low at our little house), and we had a relatively hard freeze of 21° F sometime during the night of the 5th and early morning of the 6th (again, it probably wasn't quite as cold at our house). This first freeze of 2011, October 5th or 6th, came much later than in 2008 (27° F at the airport on September 2nd), later than 2009 (27° F at the airport on September 22nd; first hard freeze at our little house on September 30th), and later or earlier than 2010, depending (26° F at the airport on September 6th; first frost at our little house was seen on the morning of October 12th). Dates were tracked here and here.
We're now back on a weak warming trend.