The Blizzard of 1888 (March 11-14, 1888)
The blizzard by which all others are measured. Light snow began around 3 PM on Sunday the 11th, accumulating to near 3" by midnight. The snow intensified overnight and there was 18" on the ground by daybreak on Monday the 12th. Moderate to heavy snow continued throughout the day accumulating to 33" by midnight. Snow continued on and off through Tuesday the 13th, adding roughly another foot, until finally ending around 3 AM on the 14th. Total snowfall for the storm was 46.7", but the drifts were significantly higher.
The city of Albany was virtually shut down. There were no coal deliveries, and thus, no heat. Doctors were unable to make house calls, and it took many days to clear the snow off of country roads to make them passable. At the time it was called the "worst storm in living memory," and it still holds the distinction of the worst winter storm on record in many areas of the northeast.
The Great Appalachian Storm (November 24-25, 1950)
A storm rapidly deepened as it tracked inland along the eastern slopes of the Appalachians. The rain and snow associated with the storm was not that great, but the winds were a different story. The storm was situated between two very strong high pressure centers, one east of Labrador and another over the Mississippi Valley, producing a very tight pressure gradient. A wind gust of 83 mph was recorded at Albany, the strongest ever, with sustained winds of 50 to 60 mph. Many trees and power lines were blown down across the region, and wind damage was extensive in New York state, totaling 20 million dollars at the time.
The Blizzard of '58 (February 15-16, 1958)
A coastal storm brought strong winds and heavy snow to the northeast. Over 30" of snow was reported across the Catskills and in western New England, with 17.9" at Albany. Travel of any sort became impossible, and drifting of the snow blocked most roads and highways. Operation "Haylift" was instituted, where helicopters dropped food for stranded cattle.
The Worst Ice Storm on Record (December 4-5, 1964)
Freezing rain caused ice accumulations of up to 1.5 inches and crippled east central New York. Many residents were without power for up to two weeks and schools had to be shut down for a week. Damage was estimates approached 5 million dollars.
The Blizzard of '66 (January 29-31, 1966)
This storm is not so much known for it's blizzard conditions, which produced a foot of snow at Albany on the 29th and 30th, but for the intense lake squalls that developed as arctic air streamed across Lake Ontario on the 30th and 31st. Oswego reported 75" inches, with some unofficial reports of around 100" in that vicinity. Rome, which is approximately 75 miles from Lake Ontario, received 41".
Post Christmas Snowstorm of 1969 (December 25-28,1969)
A foot of snow had already fallen on December 22, 1969, but this was outdone by another storm system which began moving northward along the east coast Christmas night. On the morning of the 27th, with 18" already on the ground at Albany, the storm stalled off the New England coast. It then began to move inland for a short period before heading back out to sea on the 28th. A total of 26.7" of snow fell at Albany, the third greatest storm total on record. However, Vermont surpassed that, with 30" at Burlington and 44" at Waitsfield, southwest of Montpelier. In and around the Capital District, it was a heavy, wet snowfall, and the snow mixed with freezing rain at times. Snow removal became quite difficult, and some streets were not cleared for 3-4 weeks. The city of Albany public works continued round the clock snow removal for over a month before things returned near normal. Two million dollars were spent on snow removal, a record at the time.
Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1971 (November 24-25, 1971)
Heavy snow began on the day before Thanksgiving and continued into Thanksgiving day. Albany picked up 22.5", the greatest November snowfall on record, with amounts up to 30" reported elsewhere. This storm turned the busiest travel day of the year into a nightmare, with many stranded travelers not making it to their destinations on Thanksgiving.
Blizzard of 1978 (February 6-7, 1978)
This storm is more well known for its impact on coastal New England and Long Island, but it still had quite an impact on eastern New York and western New England. The Green Mountains of Vermont were hit hard, with many areas reporting around two feet of snow. East Wallingford, near Rutland had 30". The Catskills also had quite a bit, with Prattsville reporting 25". Wind also caused quite a bit of drifting of the snow. On the coast, Boston received 26.7" of snow, their largest storm total on record. The storm also produced strong winds...Logan Airport reported an 83 mph gust...and there was a report of 92 mph on Cape Cod.
January Snowstorm of 1983 (January 15-16, 1983)
Although well-predicted, this classic nor'easter raised havoc across eastern New York and New England. Albany reported 24.5"(5th largest on record) with amounts of just under 30" reported in Saratoga County. The heavy snow brought travel to a standstill across many locations, and may injuries were reported due to auto accidents.
Surprise October Snowstorm (October 4, 1987)
The earliest measurable snowfall at Albany, where 6.5" inches fell, with as much as 20" reported in parts of the Catskills. The storm wreaked havoc on the area because it was a heavy, extremely wet snow, which fell on fully leaved trees. Numerous branches and trees were felled...taking down power lines with them, blocking roads and damaging houses. Albany was described as "looking like a war zone." Hundreds of thousands of people were without power...some for up to two weeks. It was the most snow that ever fell during the month of October in Albany.
The Downslope Nor'easter (December 10-12, 1992)
This storm produced incredible snowfall totals across many mountainous locations, while barely having any effect on valley locations. Strong east winds caused the air to "downslope" off the Berkshires and Taconics, and "dry it out." Snowfall totals in the Berkshires ranged from 30 to 48 inches with drifts up to 12 feet. Schools were closed for a week and the national guard had to bring in heavy equipment to remove the snow. The Catskills and Helderbergs also got their share of snow with 18 to 39 inches reported. On Friday, December 11, at the height of the storm, the city of Albany received a half inch of snow with temperatures in the middle 30's. Albany did eventually get 6", but most of that fell toward the end of the storm, on Saturday the 12th, after the winds turned more northerly.
Superstorm of 1993 (March 13-14, 1993)
It was called a superstorm because it affected the entire eastern third of the U.S. There was a major severe weather event in the southeast, flooding and snow in the Mid-Atlantic states and blizzard conditions in the northeast. An intense area of low pressure moved out of the Gulf of Mexico and northward along the east coast, dropping the pressure to record levels at many locations along the eastern seaboard...Albany reported 28.68 inches of mercury, the fifth lowest pressure on record. The storm dumped 26.6" at Albany, the second highest storm total on record, while other areas received as much as 40", with Halcott Center reporting 40" and Prattsville coming in with 36". During the peak of the storm, snow was falling at the rate of 5 or 6 inches an hour in some locations. Strong winds compounded the problem as there was significant blowing and drifting of the snow, as well as structural damage. Travel was extremely difficult and a state of emergency was declared across most of eastern and central New York state.
Doubled-Barrel Nor'easters (December 25-26, 2002 & January 3-4, 2003)
Unprecedented back to back snowstorms buried parts of the Northeast during the Christmas and New Years 2002-2003 holiday season. Both storms produced over 20 inches of snow in Albany. During the Fall and early Winter an active subtropical jet stream had helped produced an active storm track up the Atlantic Seaboard.
President Day Storm - February 2003
This was the third major snowstorm of the season affected much of eastern New York and adjacent western New England on President's Day. Although the heaviest snow from the storm fell from the mid Atlantic Region to New York City and southern New England, plenty of snow fell in Albany's forecast area. The heaviest totals were south and east of Capital District with up 2 feet in the Berkshires.
December 6-7, 2003
There was very little snow across eastern New York and Western New England during November but that change dramatically with the December 6-7 snowstorm. The main area of low pressure eventually developed along the New Jersey coast Friday night and moved slowly toward Cape Cod Saturday and by Sunday afternoon had only reached a point just east of Cape Cod. This slow movement contributed to the large snow totals. Another factor that helped localize the snow was mesoscale banding. Forces in the atmosphere help concentrate upward vertical motion in bands during some storms and this can help concentrated heavy snow, especially if the band remains quasi-stationary for a long time. A major snow band set up late Saturday morning just east of the Hudson River and remained there into Saturday evening. Averill Park in Rensselaer County picked up 32 inches of snow.
February 12, 2006
A low pressure system formed over the southeastern United States and move northeast off the mid Atlantic coast Saturday night, the 11th. The low then intensified as it moved east-northeast passing south of Long Island Sunday morning. A very intense band of heavy snow developed producing snowfall rates as high as 3 to 4 inches an hour across extreme southeastern New York and across southern New England.
January 14-15, 2007: Ice Storm
An arctic boundary moved southward across the region Saturday and stalled over the mid Atlantic region Saturday night. With the passage of the boundary, cold air was drawn in at and near the surface on northerly winds. Waves of low pressure moved eastward along the boundary over the long weekend resulting in an ice storm.
February 14, 2007
Low pressure formed over the deep south early on Monday, February 12th. This system headed eastward into the southeastern United States on Tuesday, February 13th and redeveloped along the mid atlantic coast by Wednesday morning, Valentine's Day. The low rapidly intensified as it passed just south of Long Island during the day Valentine's Day. The local area was pummeled with 1 to over 3 feet of snowfall. Intense mesoscale snow bands developed resulting in snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches in an hour with localized amounts of 6 inches an hour occurring.
December 11-12, 2008: Ice & Snow Storm
The precipitation came down heavy at times Thursday night, December 11th. Hourly precipitation rates of quarter to a third of an inch were reported for several hours in the form freezing rain across much of the forecast area. Thunder was even reported. By the time the precipitation tapered off Friday morning, December 12th, ice accumulations ranged from around half of an inch up to an inch across portions of the Capital District and the Berkshires. North and west of the Capital District temperatures were colder and frozen precipitation fell. Snowfall reports ranged from 2 to 4 inches just north and west of the Capital District, where sleet mixed in along with lesser ice accumulations, up to 8 to 12 inches across portions of the southern Adirondacks. There was widespread tree and power line damage across the local area. An estimated 350,000 utility customers lost power across East Central New York and adjacent western New England. Over 60,000 customers were still out of power Monday morning, December 15th and over 10,000 customers were still out of power Wednesday morning, December 17th.