A major storm moved up into Michigan during Sunday morning and our region was on the mild side...with a little sleet and rain. But as this massive low continued on to northern Ontario it swept an arctic airmass stretched across the Upper Midwest across our region on southwest winds.
All the ingredients were there...increasing instability...plenty of low and mid level moisture...lack of shear...and increasing fetch as winds veered. Heavy snowsqualls began during Sunday evening over the Niagara Peninsula and dropped a few inches as they settled and organized into a single band over Buffalo’s northern suburbs overnight. The band stalled for about a 6 hour period until about 4 am when they began to drift south into the city. A general 12-15" fell over the North Towns. The band slowly crossed the city and eastern suburbs during the morning with snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour for about 4-5 hours. A general 9 to 12 inches fell here. The band continued south into the South Towns during the afternoon and into ski country in the evening with 7 to 10 inches falling in these areas. The band weakened some after midnight as it reached its farthest southward extent across central Chautauqua and northern Cattaraugus counties. But as the weak 850 ridge crossed WNY...winds backed and the band moved north again into the South Towns before dawn. The band stalled Tuesday morning over the south half of Buffalo and West Seneca to Alden and dropped another foot before finally moving north across the city and northern suburbs again during the afternoon and evening...dropping another 4 inches or so in just a couple of hours. Increasing shear and lowering inversion killed the storm by midnight over Niagara County.
Total snowfall from the 48-hour event was remarkably consistent across metro Buffalo...unusually so for a Lake effect event. It was similar to the Jan. 1997 storm although a bit more intense. The entire region had over a foot...with slight maximums in the North Towns and South Towns where the bands stalled longer. In Buffalo...amounts ranged from 13 “ Downtown to 17" north and 20" south. Amherst caught about 17" while a small area in West Seneca and Blasdell caught about 23"...and have received about 40-45" in six days! The southern tier counties generally escaped with the 6-inch line just grazing areas from Dunkirk to Perrysburg.
The event was mirrored off Lake Ontario. Intense snowbands developed over the St. Lawrence Valley (unusually far north) predawn Monday and dumped 6 to 10 inches before moving south during Monday...plastering Jefferson county with a good 8 to 12". A foot even fell in western St.Lawrence county. The band swung south quickly during the evening and sheared off a bit...but still gave 5 to 10 inches to Lewis County and northern Oswego County. It intensified a bit early Tuesday along its southern extent and dropped 6-10" over northern Cayuga county before moving back north during Tuesday...reaching Jefferson county Tuesday evening and breaking up. Another 3 to 6 inches fell. Totals in this area ranged from 12-18" over much of Jefferson County and the Oswego area...and over 6" thru most of Lewis and Oswego counties. Snow amounts in northern Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties were unusually high for lake effect event.
A total of 101 volunteer spotter reports were received from 10 pm Sunday to 9 pm Tuesday!