Capital Region

Heavy snow, storms slow to come this winter

Shift in weather patterns that bring coastal storms, Nor'easters normally occurs mid-January
A snowboarder prepares to take a run down the mountain as freshly-made snow blows in the background.
A snowboarder prepares to take a run down the mountain as freshly-made snow blows in the background.

After an early November storm took Capital Region residents by surprise, snowfall in the area is currently below the average amount usually seen by early January, according to weather experts.

To date, the National Weather Service has measured only 13.8 inches of snow this season at Albany International Airport, said meteorologist Christina Speciale on Sunday.

She added that based on the 30 year average of snowfall at this time, that amount is significantly below average. 

Between the years of 1981 and 2010, Speciale said there have usually been at least 23.7 inches of snow in the area by early January. Last year, that amount was low as well.

“This time last year, we only had 17 inches,” she said.

As far as large weather events go, the storm in November, just a few days before Thanksgiving, was unexpected for that time of year.

Temperatures though, Speciale said, have remained largely the same as they do each year. In November and December, the average temperature was 34.7 degrees.The 30-year average temperature for the same time in the area is 35.1 degrees, Speciale said.

“Those have been about normal,” she said.

In mid-January, Speciale said there is often a shift to weather patterns that bring in larger coastal storms and Nor’easters. Right about now, she said, is when the area usually enters that pattern shift.

“The only thing that’s really unusual is the snow amount,” she said.

Based on her interpretation of recent weather data, Speciale said there is a chance for some snow this coming weekend. However, she isn’t necessarily expecting a large storm.

“It’s not necessarily going to be a Nor’easter. There’s nothing blockbuster about this, but it does look more active,” she said.

If the storms that are currently hitting the mid-Atlantic start to move north, then there is a chance that the Capital Region could see some larger storms. However, there’s no indication that the area will see any more large storms than usual, if any, before the end of winter.

“There are no clear climate signals that it’ll be wetter or dryer than normal. From what this seems like now, we’ll have a pretty normal winter,” she said.

Even though there hasn’t been a lot of snow, this winter’s weather has been good for skiers. In fact, it’s actually done more to help than to hinder skiing conditions.

Alex Kazebra, operations manager at Maple Ski Ridge in Schenectady, said on Sunday that the frigid temperatures had been bringing people in all weekend. 

The ski area has been making snow non-stop since Thursday, Kazebra said, and the packed powder conditions on site Sunday were the among the best conditions skiers could hope to have to ski on, he said.

“It’s been a pretty good amount of people here. Between Saturday and Sunday, we’ve had over 600 kids here,” he said. 

Kazebra added that new trails had opened over the weekend, and that all lessons and programs were being held as scheduled. And as long as the temperatures remain chilly, the ski ridge will continue to make snow.

“We’re keeping the conditions really nice. The cold weather is helping us continue to make snow, and we’ll keep doing that as long as its here.”

Categories: -News-, Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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