Snowfall Totals Snowball Into The Record Books

Large amounts of snow and seemingly endless days of freezing temperatures aren’t abnormal in the Southern Tier.

But, this winter’s two arctic blasts have given Erie, Pa. residents and Western New Yorkers something to brag about: Golden Snow Globe awards for snowiest cities in the United States.

Since 2009, Patrick DeCoursey of East Syracuse has compiled information from around the country in cities with populations over 100,000 each winter season, which he considers Oct. 1 through Feb. 12.

Erie finished first place this year for the first time with a whopping total of 108.5 inches of snow, rivaled by Buffalo’s 94.7 inches. Erie beat Grand Rapids and Syracuse by 16.3 inches and 22.8 inches, respectively.

With Jamestown nestled directly between the two snowiest cities in America, the city would have placed fifth on the list with 81.2 inches of snow accumulated since October.

“That’s above normal, but it’s not way above normal,” said Aaron Reynolds, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Erie has placed in the top 10 snowiest cities every year since the contest began in 2009, but Buffalo has never placed second and didn’t even make the list in 2012. Syracuse has won the contest three times and placed fourth this year.

Even though Erie and Buffalo won for most snow, Jamestown beat both cities for coldest temperature this winter with a lowest recorded temperature of minus 21 degrees since Oct. 1, landing in second place to Watertown with a frigid minus 37 degrees.

Erie’s lowest temperature this winter was minus 10, while Buffalo recorded a chilly minus 5 degrees at the Buffalo Airport.

“There’s a high liklihood we will get more snow at some point this season,” Reynolds said, adding that lake effect snow is less likely because Lake Erie is frozen. “It’s Lake Erie that provides Jamestown’s lake effect snow. When you have cold air going across a warm body of water, you get what’s called instability between the air temperature and water temperature, which causes snow to form.”

Early and late January’s freezing temperatures were similar to each other in terms of origin, drifting out of northern Canada and slamming the northeast and other parts of the country with snow and bitter windchills.

“We have turned the corner,” Reynolds said. “Our days are getting longer and we’re heading into spring time, but we still have some winter to go. We could still have some snowstorms.”

Today’s high temperature is projected to be 28 degrees with a 40 percent chance of precipitation. For Saturday, the high will be around 18 degrees, warming up slightly on Sunday to 21.

Next week will see highs near 32 degrees on Monday and closer to 40 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be a chance of showers on Thursday, mostly cloudy, with a high near 46 degrees.

To see the complete list of snowiest cities in the United States, visit