Snowiest City in America: Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, New York, is often considered one of the snowiest cities in America due to its geographical location and the influence of the Great Lakes. On average, Syracuse receives approximately 123 inches (312 cm) of snow annually.

The winter months, from December to March, typically contribute the most to Syracuse’s annual snowfall, with January being the snowiest month on average.

Factors such as temperature, wind patterns, and the intensity of lake-effect snow events can influence the variability in snowfall totals from one winter to the next.

Syracuse, NY in 1905

The earliest measurable snowfall Syracuse has ever received occurred on September 20, 1996. On that date, Syracuse received 0.2 inches of snow.

The latest measurable snowfall in Syracuse, New York, occurred on May 16, 1977. On that date, Syracuse received 0.3 inches of snow.

Lake-Effect Snow:

Syracuse is situated to the east of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. During the winter months, cold air masses passing over the relatively warmer waters of the lake pick up moisture.

As this moist air moves over the colder land, it cools and releases the moisture in the form of snow. This phenomenon is known as lake-effect snow, and Syracuse is particularly susceptible to it.

Syracuse experiences cold temperatures during the winter, which are conducive to the formation and accumulation of snow. The combination of cold air masses and the moisture from Lake Ontario creates conditions favorable for heavy snowfall.

The northeastern region of the United States, where Syracuse is located, often experiences weather patterns that bring cold air from Canada. When this cold air interacts with moisture from the Great Lakes, it results in substantial snowfall.

Why Does Syracuse Get More Snow Than Rochester?

Both Syracuse and Rochester, located in upstate New York, receive significant snowfall, but Syracuse is often noted for receiving more snow on average than Rochester.

The primary reason for this difference is the influence of lake-effect snow, and several factors contribute to the varying amounts of snowfall between the two cities

Both cities are situated near Lake Ontario, but Syracuse is generally located to the east of the lake, while Rochester is more to the northwest. The positioning of Syracuse makes it more susceptible to heavy lake-effect snow coming off Lake Ontario.

The prevailing wind patterns play a crucial role in the distribution of lake-effect snow. Syracuse tends to be in a favorable position to receive more intense and prolonged lake-effect snow events, as the prevailing westerly winds carry moist air over the lake and deposit it on the eastern side, where Syracuse is located.

Golden Snowball Award Champion:

The Golden Snowball Award is an informal competition among several cities in upstate New York for the title of the snowiest city each winter season.

The participating cities include Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Binghamton. The award is based on the total snowfall during the winter months. Historically, Syracuse is the most frequent winner of the Golden Snowball Award with a total of 14 wins.

Due to these factors, Syracuse consistently ranks high in national snowfall records. The city’s residents are accustomed to dealing with significant snowfall each winter, and the local infrastructure is designed to handle the challenges posed by the snowy climate.

If you want to visit more places with lots of snow, check out this article on the best snow vacations in the U.S.

Sources:
“Winter Fun.” Syr.gov, syr.gov/Living/Our-Community/Parks-Recreation-Youth-Services/Find-Activities-and-Events/Winter-Fun
“What Are the Snowiest Cities in the U.S.?” Almanac, almanac.com/what-are-snowiest-cities-us

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