Every weekday at 4,5,6 & 11 pm you get to see me on TV giving our “main” weather forecast. These forecasts are designated chunks of 3 minutes, often no more and no less. It’s enough to paint a reasonable picture of the expected weather ahead but doesn’t quite allow the freedom to dig into the weather weeds. That’s where this comes in.
We are now officially in our spring season (thanks to our sun’s rays crossing over the equator on their northward march for the next 3 months). While this distinction formally closes the book on the winter season, that’s often nothing more than a technicality. In fact, in all of Rochester’s recorded history dating back to the late 1800s, only two spring seasons failed to register measurable snow. 1931 & 1952. That’s it. Mathematically, it is an overwhelming probability it will snow (and stick) again. Averaged through all those years, Rochester’s blend spits out about 6″ of additional snowfall from here. In 1874 we picked up 28.7″ of snow from here.
Rochester has officially accumulated 49.4″ of snow this season. Remember, that measurement occurs at the Airport. Others might have picked up more, some less. That sub-50″ total is roughly half of our average snow through this late in the season. It’s been a remarkably quiet winter in this regard. To put things in perspective, let’s pretend we don’t pick up any additional snowfall. That 49.4″ would be our least snowy season since 1952-53. Important to note, dry snow seasons like this do occur & have occurred in our past. Just very infrequently.
I don’t believe, however, the above assumption will be accurate. It strikes me as very unlikely we won’t pick up any additional snowfall from here. In the short term, there isn’t much room for accumulation through the weekend. Thursday’s system is too warm and too west. Saturday’s might have some room for a brief wintry mix in the morning before the west & warm mantra wins out again. The longer range pattern, however, appears more favorable for more wintry mischief.
Both Euro (pictured above) and GFS ensembles suggest troughing across the Great Lakes next week and the following, taking us into the first week of April. Such a pattern would allow the region to be susceptible to relatively colder air that an active storm track could tap into. It guarantees nothing, simply keeping the window of opportunity open if we can satisfy other requirements. While we are indeed fighting increasing warmth and sun angle, we remain very much within a reasonable arena where a pattern like this should produce at least opportunities for snow. Lest we forget, Lake Ontario & Lake Erie are wide open for business.
This is roughly in line with the CPC temperature outlooks 6-10 & 8-14 days out.
For snow lovers, the above data are encouraging. For those ready for spring to completely dominate from here, time is on your side. As each day passes it becomes ever so slightly more difficult for the atmosphere to produce snow. Even more difficult for the ground to accept it before melting it away. Statistically, we have a month, tops. After about 4 weeks from now, the odds start getting stacked against us. One way or the other it’s going to take a miracle the likes of which never seen to get Rochester to the 100″ average this year. This will mark the 5th straight winter with sub-100″ of snow in town. With La Nina now in the rearview mirror, we shall see if next year offers a clean slate.