Snow pack looking good for winter activities with more cold air on the way

Weather Blog

Featured image above courtesy of Jodi Payne

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The first few days of February brought plentiful snow across Western New York with totals ranging from one inch to a foot, and even higher totals reported nearby from the recent Nor’easter.

All this new snow brought a significant increase to the snowpack in places not just across Western New York, but across the entire state of New York.

Data courtesy: weather.gov

The latest highest snow pack to report can be found across parts of the Tug Hull Plateau, the North Country and Adirondacks, and even portions of Madison county getting in on some of the heavier snow over the past day or so. Parts of Wyoming county are sitting at around 10-12″+ of snow on the ground.

Even with temperatures rising into the upper 30s and low 40s on this Thursday afternoon, despite some minor melting to the initial snow that fell this snowpack is likely not going anywhere with cold, arctic air greeting us for the second time this season. More on the incoming cold blast HERE.

Check out the latest snow pack found across Western New York:

With all the fresh snow pack ready to go, it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and finally enjoy! If you’ve been itching to get out on the slopes or the hill, the atmosphere has answered your call.

More about snow pack

Did you know that snow pack consists of ice crystals, pockets of air, other impurities, and if melting, liquid water?

The characteristics of snowpack depend on many factors that include local topography and the current weather conditions. Notice how the higher snow depths in the maps above are generally found in areas with the highest terrain. This is because higher terrain often creates more lift as it forces air upwards during a snow event, and therefore is able to produce higher snow totals. Besides topography, meteorological conditions play a role as well and can depend on where the snow is coming from whether it be very localized like lake-effect snow, or more widespread such as from a synoptic-scale system. The amount of moisture found within the snow along with where it ultimately falls all go into the depth of snow on the ground when all is said and done.

When this snow reaches the ground and settles for a day or so, it changes its characteristics. It often shrinks slightly as the crystals change from a crystalline structure to a more granular one. It also becomes more packed in as it melts which gives it a bit more liquid water content.

Factors that affect melting include the temperature of the snowpack, albedo (how reflective the snow is), and how dense the snow is. How fast or slow the snow melts depends on temperatures as well along with wind, humidity, and insolation (energy coming in from the sun).

Latest Slope Conditions

Many ski resorts across the region have fresh new powder and ready for more winter fun. Get the latest conditions on the slopes in the links below.

Bristol Mountain Current Conditions

Holiday Valley Current Conditions

Greek Peak Current Conditions

Swain Resort Current Conditions

More cold on the way

Even with the brief warm up we’re seeing, the majority of the snow pack is not going anywhere and will continue to grow with plenty of cold air on the way this weekend. However, it’s not just this weekend we’ll be “stuck in the freezer” as the next 8-14 day outlook courtesy of the CPC shows high confidence our temperatures will continue their below average trend over the next week or so. Signs are pointing to a cold first half of February, which could mean more chances for cold air to flow over a very open set of Great Lakes, and more lake effect snow for us.

It is February after all, which means it’s back to reality for us! You can get the latest with the upcoming forecast HERE.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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