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,
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,
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,
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,
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
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,
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
Blizzard of 1978 (February 6-7,
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
January Snowstorm of 1983 (January 15-16,
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
Surprise October Snowstorm (October 4,
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,
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,
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
President Day Storm - February
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
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.