The record breaking snowfall that hit western New York, especially the Buffalo region, made headlines across the country this past week, but Buffalo was not the only part of the country experiencing unusual cold and early snow.
Heavy snowfall and accumulations are not uncommon in Buffalo over the winter, however, the recent fall cold front with its heavy “lake-effect” snow set records.
CNN reports the snow in Buffalo and other cities and towns in western New York state had tapered off by Sunday, but during the three days prior, six and possibly seven feet of snow fell in some areas. While Buffalo is no longer undera snow warning, winter weather advisories remained in place.
“This was a RECORD-BREAKING storm that in some ways was more intense than Snowvember, the relatively quick recovery is a testament to everyone’s preparation and planning,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted. The storm delivered “much more [snow] than we usually get,” Mayor Byron Brown told CNN on November 19.
The National Weather Service reported the suburb of Orchard Park, home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, recorded 77 inches of snow by early Saturday. Approximately 80 miles northeast of Buffalo, the town of Natural Bridge reported nearly six feet by Saturday.
AccuWeather reports that cold temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow caused poor road conditions, resulting in many road and office closures, travel bans, and snarling traffic with accidents. Even snow plows were getting stuck in the snow, with some plow drivers reporting “There’s nowhere to put the snow.”
The Washington Post reported that by November 19, New York’s state government had already rescued nearly 300 people during the fall freeze. Three deaths so far have been linked to the frigid conditions. Two people died from heart attacks suffered while shoveling the heavy snow, with the third death being a snowplow driver who died when his plow skidded off icy roads and rolled over.
Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist said, the “coldest air yet this season” struck the Northeast for the end of the weekend.
“High temperatures will be in the 20s and 30s F Sunday afternoon, with gusty winds keeping AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures in the teens and 20s,” Duff said. “Sunday night will be downright frigid, with lows in the teens and lower 20s.
According to Accuweather, Syracuse’s morning temperature on November 20 dipped to 18℉, with winds gusting to 22 mph.
“The RealFeel® in Rochester was 14℉, with wind gusts of 23 mph in the area,” said Accuweather. “Rome took the brunt of the cold, as the RealFeel® dipped down to 8℉, thanks in part to wind gusts up to 30 mph.”
The snow forced the NFL to relocate the Buffalo Bills football game against the Cleveland Browns to Detroit’s Ford Field. Despite the fact that Detroit also recorded well below average high and low temperatures during the mid-November 2022 arctic blast, it was spared the heaviest snows and Ford Field is enclosed.
Although the snowfall amounts in western New York state exceed those received elsewhere during the mid-November storm, below average temperatures were the norm across the entire continental United States.
Watts Up With That reported that even before the first snowflakes fell in Buffalo, on Wednesday November 16, meteorologist Paul Dorian, of ArcfieldWeather.com, noted that temperatures across the the lower-48 states averaged approximately 12℉ below-normal for mid-November. On that date, every lower-48 state in United States experienced colder than average temperatures for the time of year. (See the temperature anomaly map below).
Map courtesy NOAA, weathermodels.com (Dr. Ryan Maue, Twitter)