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Most of New York state is in a snow drought

Buffalo has received 10 times more snow than Rochester has so far this winter season.
Credit: WGRZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It may be very hard to believe, given the two massive snowstorms that the Buffalo area has endured since this winter season began, that a majority of New York state is in a snow drought. 

Most of the state is dealing with a lack of snow that is affecting ski areas, snowmobile trails and other winter time activities that depend on snowfall.

Except maybe Western New York.

The City of Buffalo is off to its snowiest start to the winter season on record. Two epic lake effect snow events have brought over 100" of snow to the city. That's about 6" above with the city receives in an entire winter.

However, Buffalo is generally alone with its bounty of snowfall. Other normally snowy locations in our region have had a true lack of snow. 

Rochester has only 9.3” of snow for the season. So yes, Buffalo has received 10 times the snow Rochester has. Syracuse has only had 20” of snow, Jamestown about 35” of snow and Holiday Valley has only reported 65” of snow for the entire season.

The map above shows the haves and have not for statewide snowfall. Areas in orange are running a large snowfall deficit while the small areas of snow are running a huge surplus.

Despite Buffalo and its surrounding metro-area having received so much snow in a short period of time, the multiple feet of snow that fell out of each storm did not stick around very long. 

Each lake effect snow storm was followed by mild conditions, allowing the snow to melt rather quickly. So, scanning the state right now here in the middle of January, there is very little snow on the ground anywhere in the state, except for the small amount in the hills of the Southern Tier and in spots east of Lake Ontario.

It is worth noting that the lack of snow across the rest of the state does not necessarily mean a dry and snowless this winter to come. Last season was a snowy one for Buffalo, but by early January 2022, only 10” of snow had fallen in Buffalo. 80” of snow was yet to come from the middle of January through the end of March.

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