SYRACUSE,NY (WSYR-TV) — The Buffalo airport reached 100.0″ of snowfall for the season Monday night.
The historic and deadly blizzard that dumped more than 4 feet of snow on the Buffalo area sent their seasonal snow total to the triple digits, far surpassing the other major New York State cities.
I think it’s safe to say Buffalo will probably come out on top as the Golden Snowball winner for the second year in a row.
Last year Buffalo’s seasonal snow total for 2021-2022 was 97.4″.
The 2018-2019 winter season was the last time Buffalo had a total snowfall over 100″ at 118.8″ for the season.
Buffalo’s all time highest snow total was 199.4″ in 1976-1977.
What about Syracuse?
We’ve really fallen behind lately (but at least we’re ahead of Rochester!). Our seasonal snowfall has been slowly adding up the last month or so. As of midnight on December 27th we’ve only received 20″ for the season.
Last year our total snowfall was 76.0″, and the last time we had over 100″ was in the 2018-2019 season (same as Buffalo) with 115.0″.
Where’s our snow?
To get some decent widespread snow totals, you really need either a synoptic system like a Nor’easter or a storm coming across the Great Lakes, and/or lake effect snow. Most of the time you can get both with a synoptic storm ending as prolonged lake effect. That’s where the snow really begins to pile up.
Our recent La Niña winters have not been kind to our snow totals. We simply just haven’t had the best setup for large synoptic snow storms to impact CNY or cold enough air blowing over the lakes at just the right angle to produce the heavy lake effect snow.
We all know how localized lake effect can be. Some locations can see several inches to feet of snow, where 10 miles down the road there’s still green grass. For the immediate Syracuse area and the Syracuse airport (where official snow measurements are recorded) we need cold enough air blowing mainly from the northwest across Lake Ontario or really a really strong southwesterly wind from Lake Erie.
Location, Location, Location
The most recent major lake effect snow events that has been big snow makers for Buffalo and Watertown have missed Syracuse because the wind direction has been predominantly coming from the west-southwest. While Syracuse can sometimes pick up some snow from Lake Erie with that wind direction, it just hasn’t been productive enough to make that happen.
But, the west-southwest wind direction is great for lake effect snow because cold arctic air has a lot of warm open water to produce a lot of snow.
As the winter goes on and the air gets colder, in theory the Great Lakes should accumulate more ice. This helps cut down on the lake effect snow. If we keep getting these temperatures swings like this past week that may keep the lakes open for business later in the season.
We’ll see if this is the year Buffalo gives the all time snowiest season a run for its money.