The winter of 2008-'09 was cold. Temperatures early in the winter (November and December) were below normal. January featured much below normal temperatures. Most areas saw negative double digit low temperatures in the middle of January 2009. It was the coldest January since 1994. Temperatures in February and March were above normal but only slightly.
With the cold temperatures during the first half of the winter, came the snow. Several significant lake effect snows occurred across northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania early in the winter, with several snows even before Thanksgiving. The snow reached a peak in January with a widespread snowstorm early in the month and again late in the month. The snow tapered off in February and March was conspicuous by the lack of snow. Many areas had less than an inch of snow during March 2009. April was snowier than March in most locations. Lake Erie developed ice cover in December and was mostly ice covered from mid-January to mid-March.
Seasonal snowfall was above normal north of Route 30 and was quite a bit above normal near lake Erie, especially in and near the snowbelt of northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania. Winter 2008-'09 snowfall ranged from slightly less than 30 inches around Hancock and Wyandot Counties in northwest Ohio to around 45 inches at Toledo to 60 inches around Mansfield and Akron to 80 inches at Cleveland and Youngstown/Warren. Over 125 inches fell in the snowbelt. Snowfall in Geauga and Ashtabula counties in the heart of the snowbelt in northeast Ohio averaged between 125 and 175 inches. In northwest Pennsylvania, Erie reported 145.8 inches of snow but as is typically the case, accumulations south of interstate 90 were significantly higher with some locations reporting over 200 inches of snow. Peak snow reported to the National Weather Service was 243 inches in both Franklin Center and near Northeast, PA.