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MOUNTAINS OF SNOW IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK

NOAA satellite image of Buffalo, New York, snowfall taken Friday, Dec. 28, 2001 at 12:15 p.m. EST.December 28, 2001 — Buffalo, New York, is without a doubt the nation's snow capital. The system that began Christmas Eve has now dumped a total of 76.1 inches as of noon Friday. Of that total 35.4 inches of snow fell during a 24-hour period from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. This is the second highest 24-hour snowfall on record in Buffalo. The current snowfall total for December 2001 sets a new monthly record of 77.3 inches, and it's not over yet. The previous monthly snowfall record was 68.4 inches during the winter of December 1985-1986.(Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Buffalo, New York, snowfall taken Friday, Dec. 28, 2001 at 12:15 p.m.)

NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office in Buffalo has been working around the clock to issue the latest forecasts. Residents of the area had a 20-hour lead time warning that the system would produce heavy amounts of snow. NOAA forecasters issued a statement on the storm as early as three days in advance.

As of 7 a.m. Friday, there were a total of 44 inches on the ground, which is an all-time record.

Tom Niziol, the science and operations officer at NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office in Buffalo, said "This is the mother of all lake effect snows. It's like putting a hose in Lake Erie and sweeping the region with lots of snow."

NOAA forecasters are working long hours in order to keep issuing the latest advisories, watches and warnings. So far no one has had to sleep at the weather service office, but just like everyone else in the Buffalo area NOAA staff have had great difficulties getting to and from the office.

The latest technology has allowed NOAA forecasters to stay ahead of the storm by running various forecast models right on the premises.

The benchmark used by forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Buffalo is the Blizzard of 1977, which was characterized by heavy snowfall, 42 inches on the ground, as well as very strong winds. Those winds produced intense wind chills. The current snow storm has the heavy snowfall associated with it but does not have strong winds—yet. Niziol says it would be an "much, much worse if this current storm had strong winds."

Snowfall Totals as of noon Friday, Dec. 28, 2001

December 2001 Month-to-Date: 77.3, a new record. The previous record was 68.4 inches set during Dec. 1985-1986.
Seasonal total: 77.7
24-hour total (6 a.m. Dec. 27 to 6 a.m. Dec. 28): 35.4 inches, second highest on record. The current 24-hour snowfall record is 37.9 inches, which fell between Dec. 9-10, 1995.
Snow on the Ground as of 7 a.m. Dec. 28, 2001: 44 inches, a new record.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office in Buffalo

Daily Snowfall Summaries for Buffalo and Surrounding Area


NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS: KNOW YOUR WINTER WEATHER TERMS

NOAA's NEW WIND CHILL TEMPERATURE INDEX

NOAA PLACES INTERACTIVE SNOWFALL MAPS AND DATA ONLINE


Winter Weather Watches, Warnings and Advisories — What do they all mean?

NOAA's Seasonal Outlook

U.S. Outlook Maps


NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

NOAA's Weather Page


NOAA's Storm Watch

NOAA's National Weather Service

Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez, NOAA, (202) 482-3091 or Curtis Carey, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622