S94 Classification of Snowfall Events in Oneonta, New York from 2002 – 2012

Sunday, 6 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
David M. Loveless, State University of New York College, Oneonta, NY; and M. L. Godek

Handout (1.2 MB)

Averaging approximately 80 inches of snowfall each winter over the past decade, Oneonta, NY is significantly impacted by seasonal snow events. Oneonta's situation between the much larger cities of Albany and Binghamton makes it an interesting location to analyze snowfall, especially since daily snow records have been collected for the city by the State University of New York College at Oneonta since 1982. The geography of upstate NY allows for Oneonta to receive snowfall from a variety of storm types including coastal storms, Colorado lows, and lake-effect storms. The goal of this research is to examine daily snowfall records at Oneonta over the past decade in order to identify the processes and storms that produce the most frequent and intense snowfall. This information is useful for improving long-term and short-term winter forecasts in the Central Leatherstocking region of New York State. Storms capable of producing daily snowfall are manually identified using NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center weather map archives. Days with measurable snowfall are classified according to storm type and the frequency, intensity and cause for snowfall is determined (e.g., snowfall associated with localized frontal influences, pressure systems, or otherwise as the case with lake-effect snows). Next, storms are examined for consecutive day snowfall to determine which storm types are most likely to produce multiple-day snow events. Finally, the climate oscillations present at the time of significant snowfall are assessed for associations with individual storm events. Results indicate that seasonal snowfall is highly variable. The range of annual snowfall for the decade varies from approximately 29 – 106 inches, in consecutive years. Relationships between snowfall and storm type indicate that lake-effect and lake-enhanced snow events produce the most snowfall each year, averaging nearly 28 days of snow annually, or 50% of the total snow days. Frontal induced snow events represent much less, only 10% of all snow days.
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