Winter of 2020-’21 vs. Storm Team Outlook. How did we do?

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SYRACUSE  (WSYR-TV)

With Central New York coming to the end of the Winter season, we thought it might be a good idea to revisit our Winter Outlook issued back in mid-November to see how it panned out.

With the La Nina setting up in the Fall, we figured that temperatures would be above normal for the core of the Winter months of December through February and that ended up true. It was the 23rd warmest Winter stretch on record for Syracuse. Only February had an average temperature below normal.

We also thought that any real cold would hold off until after the first of the New Year and sure enough our coldest stretch of weather came from mid-January until the end of February. This period was actually a boon for winter enthusiast as there was a consistent snowpack regionwide and no big thaws.

The snowfall was below normal, as expected, but ended up even farther below normal than we thought at the time. As of April 2nd we were at 70.0 inches of snow which is about four feet below normal.

We were hesitant to go ‘well’ below normal with snowfall partly because of concern we might be very close to the main storm track and for good reason. For the most active part of the winter, that track ended up just south of Central New York leading many of the big cities of the Northeast from Philadelphia to New York, Hartford and Worcester to end up at or above normal seasonal snowfall. As close to us as Binghamton snowfall was well above normal at just over 100” and it is at least their 17th snowiest winter on record!

One clue as to how our snowfall might end up hadn’t quite presented itself when we issued the forecast but in hindsight it was a good predictor of our winter snowfall. When Novembers are very warm, our snowfall for the season is usually well below normal.  This is what we said back in mid-November:

In the past, when November temperatures ended up more than 4 degrees above normal, seven out of the eight years had snowfall below normal, below 100 inches.

If we end up at or above that 4 degree threshold by the end of the month that would give us more confidence of a winter with less than 100” of snow in Syracuse.

We are going to be well below 100” for the season so make that now 8 out of 9 years! It will be the first time in over 50 years that Syracuse has had back-to-back winters with less than 90 inches of snow.

To read more about the numbers for meteorological winter, click here.

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