Heading into the New Year, Syracuse is going to be more than two feet below normal in seasonal snowfall with a total snowfall of just less than 15 inches.
It is not to say we haven’t had any chances for heavy snow early this winter season.
Two weeks ago, we were about 60 miles north of a core of heavy snow that dropped 40 inches on Binghamton, and on the day after Christmas Buffalo recorded a foot and a half of lake effect snow.
Since records have been kept at the Syracuse Airport (1949), there have been 11 years where the seasonal snowfall total failed to reach 20 inches by New Year’s Eve.
It will come as no surprise that most of these winters ended up with below-normal snowfall. Seven out of 11 ended up with less than 100” of snow for the winter. Our four least snowy Winters, 2001-’02 (59.4”), 2011-’12 (50.6”) 1982-’83 (66.0”), and 1994-’95 (66.9”), all fit into this category.
However, two of the winters ended up close to 120” of snow and the final two were close to 140” of snow for the season. Talk about making up for lost time!
The common denominator of these near-normal or above-normal snowfall seasons is something unusual happened to get us to those more respectable final numbers.
In the Winter of 1965-66, we had less than a foot of snow going into January, but we then ended up with the Epic Blizzard of ’66 about a month later with over 40 inches of snow in just two days!
For the Winter of 1957-58 to end up with above-normal snowfall it would take our snowiest February on record with more than 72 inches of snow to pull it off.
More recently in 2006-2007, our slow start was followed by a memorable February with record lake effect snow piling up to 100” or more in 10 days over many parts of Oswego County then a widespread snow courtesy of a Nor’easter in the middle of the month.
It is not to say we will definitely make up for the lost time the rest of this Winter but for outdoor enthusiasts, we need something to really go ‘haywire’ at the jet stream level to get our winter back on track. At least through mid-January that doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Central New York.