The ongoing Arctic warming has been pronounced in winter and has been associated with an increase in downward longwave radiation. While previous studies have demonstrated that poleward moisture flux into the Arctic strengthens downward longwave radiation, less attention has been given to the impact of the accompanying increase in snowfall. Here, utilizing state-of-the art sea ice models, we show that typical winter snowfall anomalies of 1.0 cm, accompanied by positive downward longwave radiation anomalies of ~5 W m-2 can decrease sea ice thickness by around 5 cm in the following spring over the Eurasian Seas. This basin-wide ice thinning is followed by a shrinking of summer ice extent in extreme cases. In the winter of 2016–17, anomalously strong warm/moist air transport combined with ~2.5 cm increase in snowfall decreased spring ice thickness by ~10 cm and decreased the following summer sea ice extent by 5–30%. Projected future reductions in the thickness of Arctic sea ice and snow will amplify the impact of anomalous winter snowfall events on winter sea ice growth and seasonal sea ice thickness.