The Upstate New York Snow Drought
While it may not be technically a drought, Upstate NY is one of the snowiest places in the country, with Syracuse ranking as the snowiest major city in the country by most metrics. That said, this year has featured quite a departure in the snow department thus far there. Some stats...
Syracuse, NY: 12.9", Normal: 53.1" (-40.2")
Buffalo, NY: 5.5", Normal: 45.3" (-39.8")
Rochester, NY: 7.3", Normal: 38.1" (-30.8")
The least snowy winter in Syracuse since 1950 was the winter of 2001-02, when they saw a putrid 59.1". Syracuse's snow totals can often be considered somewhat inflated compared to the majority of the metro area, as Hancock International Airport is several miles north of the city, in the northern suburbs, closer to the lake effect snow belt. All of these cities should at least add to their snow totals in the coming days, though it may be hit or miss in spots. The NAM forecast of snow from this morning is posted on the left below, and you can see at least a few inches are likely in NY and New England, though most should fall south of Buffalo and northeast of Syracuse (also note finally a fair amount of snow for places like Milwaukee and Chicago).
Midland, TX Snow
If the Golden Snowball were expanded to include the Lone Star State, at this point, it would be given to Midland, TX. For real? Yep. Midland, in Western Texas, an area plagued by drought last year, recorded 10.6" of snow yesterday, a daily record, and their seasonal snowfall total now stands at 19.5", which is an all-time record. This outpaces not only Upstate NY, but also Minneapolis (10.3"), Duluth (12"), Chicago (1.9"), and Burlington, VT (15.1").
Western US Drought
|Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center|
With all this said about wimpy snow and snow in strange places, you had to figure Alaska had something interesting to offer too. Well, they do. And in fact, if you wanted consistent winter this year, Alaska is the place to be. Here are some numbers....
Anchorage: 81.4", Normal: 42.0" (+39.4")
Juneau: 72.7", Normal: 37.2" (+35.5")
Barrow: 57.1", Normal: 24.7" (+32.4")
And last but not least....
Valdez: 303.4", Normal: 147.6" (+155.8"!)
That last number is astounding on almost every possible level. Alaska has been hit harder than anyone in the US this winter. Issues getting needed supplies to rural parts of the state are piling up as quickly as the snow.
Here's an NPR report on Cordova, AK and its issues.
More details from Anchorage's News Tribune
All in all, the Winter of 2011-12 is going to go down, if not for anything, for the snow in Alaska and the unbelievably paltry amount of snow received in other typically snowy areas during (at least) the first half of winter.