|Local forecast by
City, St or Zip Code
WINTER 2004 -
The Winter of 2004-05 was late,
long, but not severe. Snowfall was generally slightly above normal across the
west, except much above normal over Niagara and Orleans counties. There was less snow than
usual over areas east of Lake Ontario, especially across the Tug Hill which received their lowest totals in the ten
years of the network. Lake effect was limited, and generally of a northwesterly
flow, often "enhanced" and evolved out of several moderate synoptic falls.
There were few storms of interest, including Buffalo's Christmas Eve's lake
snow, Rochester's synoptic lake enhanced snow in late January, the general
snow to start March, and the late season storm of the first week of April.
Here are the monthly details…
The 2004-05 winter season got
off to a very slow start as November was quite mild and snowfree across most of
western and central New York. Snow was restricted to two occasions, both following cold frontal passages,
on 8-9th and again on 25-26th. Several inches fell over
portions of Oswego county and over "ski country" of southern
Erie and northern Chautauqua and northern Cattaraugus counties on each event.
Monthly totals were generally 2 inches or less, with up to 8-12 inches in those
December was a changeable month
across the region but averaged out with near normal temperatures and
precipitation. All areas received some snowfall, with the typical maxima along
the ridges east and southeast of Lake Erie and from northern
county to the Tug Hill. The first two weeks were generally mild, but did
include some lake enhanced snows following a cold front on 3-4th. The
season’s first major lake effect event ("Apple") blitzed areas southeast
on 13-14th with up to 20” along the ridges, but only a few inches
nearer the lake. 6-12 inches also fell off Ontario
counties. Winter set in from 18-27th and this included another major
lake effect event on Christmas Eve which dropped 6-12 inches off both lakes,
including the Buffalo and
areas. A rarer northeast flow lake effect dropped
3 to 7
on 26-27th. The month ended very mild and wet however with bare
ground. Monthly totals ranged from 40 to 60 inches along the
ridges and across a small portion of northern
county and southern Tug Hill. Amounts dropped off significantly
away from these areas, to near 20 inches in the
area, 15 around
Rochester, and 10 or less over the mid
and Allegheny basins.
January was a most interesting
and varied month across our region. It really tended to extremes, as the first
13 days were among the warmest ever in January, some 12-14 degrees above normal
daily, while the next two weeks completely turned the tables and averaged some
10-12 degrees too cold, a 25 degree temp swing!
for example, had its greatest temperature range ever in January, from 68 to
-6! As for snow, most of the region had slightly above normal snowfall for the
month, but again it was focused mostly in the two weeks period 14-27th.
There were several minor
snowfalls during the mild first two weeks, although up to 8" fell across the
Southern Tier on 5-6th. The incredible warmth on the 12-13th
pretty much cleared all the snow from the ground. Winter really set in after the
big turnaround on the 14th though, and some snow fell every single
day until the 27th. Again,
most of the daily snowfalls were fairly light, but there were a few exceptions.
Very cold arctic air continued to spill into the region from the north and set
up some unusual lake enhancement off Lake Ontario from Niagara to Monroe
counties on the 16-17th when up to 12-18" fell, with only a few
inches elsewhere as a clipper passed to our south. Another Clipper brought
a few inches areawide on 19th but was enhanced by a southwest
wind in the immediate
area which caught 6-8". The most significant event of the month was the major
clipper which passed to our south on 22nd and bombed out into
New England's blizzard with over 3 feet and high winds there. In our area we received a
general 5 to 10 inches, but once again
enhanced the activity with up to 18" in the
area. The last clipper of the month dropped an inch or two on the 26th
but up to 4 inches around
with more lake enhancement. The last five days of the month settled down with
no precipitation and moderating temperatures.
Monthly totals ranged up to 5
feet or more on the ridges back from
in the southern tier, with 4 feet common in the
area. Two to three feet fell elsewhere, including the
area, although northern
county again was short, with less than a
foot falling for the month. One anomaly is the lack of snow on the Tug Hill.
There have been no real major synoptic storms yet and flow has been mostly
northerly and not westerly, so that area is missing out on its usual lake effect
quota, so far.
As is often the case in western
New York, February was a rather quiet and uneventful month in the snow department. With
mainly frozen, lake effect potential was very limited, although there were
several "upslope" type events along the ridges on the western southern tier.
There were two significant events southeast of
on 12th and 17-18th with a foot or more across
The month began with a week of
dry mild weather. Rain on the 8th was followed by 2-6" of wet snow,
then major lake snows on 12th, but mild and rainy again on 14th.
A general snowfall on 16th ushered in a very cold regime for the rest
of the month with small daily snowfalls. The month ended with the start of a
significant synoptic event which lasted through the first couple days of March.
Monthly totals were near normal,
generally 16-26 inches across the
metros, slightly less over the mid
and St. Lawrence valleys as usual, and more over higher elevations of southern
tier and Tug Hill, but even those areas had only normal snowfall at best.
March began with perhaps the
most widespread general snowfall of the season, which evolved into lake effect
by the 2-3rd and then ended. Three day totals ranged up to 8-14
inches with greatest amounts near
. This continued the trend of the last two winters with
counties receiving unusually heavy amounts. A minor lake effect episode on 4th
county was followed by a bit of rain on 7-8th then a more
significant lake episode on 9-10th which affected areas from the Monroe
The month then settled down
into a cold and dry regime for the next couple of weeks. The strengthening March
sun sublimated and gradually melted the winter snowpack with no flooding. A bit
of precipitation on 23-24th was followed by a pattern shift into mild
and dry weather for the final week. Monthly snowfall was near to slightly above
normal for March.
April was a very interesting
month. The bulk of it featured some of the most pleasant weather ever seen in
April here with two full weeks of constant sunshine, mild temperatures and
rainfree conditions. However, this was flanked by two huge major synoptic storms,
the first on 2-3rd dropped 2 feet of snow on Chautauqua County and
6-8 inches of wet snow in the Buffalo area but nothing east of Batavia, and the
second on 23-25th which was very similar but about 100 miles further
west, dumping over a foot on greater Cleveland, and a couple inches over
Chautauqua but little anywhere else in WNY, a close call!
|National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Buffalo
587 Aero Drive
Buffalo, N.Y. 14225-1405
(716)565-0204 or (716)565-0802
Page last modified: May 02, 2005