What Are the Chances the Hudson Valley Ever Gets Buffalo-Like Snowfall?

Given our location, could we ever experience a snowstorm of 60+ inches? And have we ever? Hudson Valley Weather’s Alex Marra has the answers

“During Snowmageddon — it’s a little known fact — while we saw mostly rain in the Hudson Valley and Westchester, there was actually a two-day snowstorm in the Catskill Mountains. There was so much snow that Hunter Mountain had to close — they didn’t know what to do with it all,” Marra said. “So there’s an example of that much snow falling in our backyard. But the heaviest snow fell above 2000 feet, and below that nothing very impressive occurred.”

However, Marra did say that the Hudson Valley had once experienced a flash snowfall, with deadly results. In 1888 a massive nor’easter, accompanied by sustained hurricane-force winds, ravaged the East Coast, leaving areas blanketed by between 20 to 60 inches of snow, and killing more than 400 people — 200 in New York alone. The temperatures dropped so quickly, Marra said, that farm animals froze to death and birds dropped from the sky, brought down by the extreme cold. The wind gusts were so strong that some areas reported snowdrifts as high as 52 feet — a height that was recorded in Brooklyn’s Gravesend neighborhood.

“So we’re going back 100, 200 years, but it isn’t unheard-of to have something like this in the Hudson Valley. It would not be from lake-effect, sound-effect, or ocean-effect,” Marra said. “The most likely cause of us getting something would be from a nor’easter that achieves blizzard criteria and it would have to be probably a very slow moving storm, blowing up into something more powerful. Basically a very deep and powerful nor’easter.”

Even if we get lucky and dodge any bizarre blizzards or snap snowfalls, Valley residents shouldn’t write off winter 2014; the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder-than-average winter with more snowfall than normal.

You can find Hudson Valley Weather’s winter 2014-2015 outlook, plus more local weather, on their Web site here.

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brooklyn bridge blizzard of 1888

Snow-covered train tracks, rooftops, and arches of the Brooklyn Bridge seen from the rear of a train during the Blizzard of 1888

blizzard of 1888 children brooklyn blizzard of 1888 new britain connecticut

Left: Brooklyn children after the blizzard. Due to the hurricane-force winds that accompanied the storm, not everywhere saw as deep snow drifts as the record-setting areas. At right: New Britain, Connecticut, March 13.

This article originally appeared on www.westchestermagazine.com.

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