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Golden Snowball Totals for the 2010 - 2011 Snowfall Season
Updated  5/1/2011

GSB Cities This Season Normal Average
to Date
This Time Last Season Normal
 Seasons Average
All Time Season Snowfall Record
Syracuse 179.0 111.8 106.1 121.1 192.1 inches
( 1992 - 1993 )
Rochester 127.0 99.8 89.8 100.3 161.7 inches
( 1959 - 1960 )
Binghamton 117.5 80.8 81.4 81 134.0 inches
( 1995 - 1996 )
Buffalo 111.8 96.7 74.1 97 199.4 inches
( 1976 - 1977 )
Albany 87.2 62.6 45.4 62.6 112.5 inches
( 1970 - 1971 )

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Defending Snow Champ Syracuse Sleds into The Lead

Da Cuse is in the Igloo, err house. Syracuse has finally for the first time this season taken the lead in the Golden Snowball contest. You know it's a good snow race when Syracuse was near the bottom most of the season and at the bottom at one point. Can they hold on to the top spot til the finish. Nah! Not the way the season has been going so far. I expect several more lead changes :)

Buffalo isn't even close to throwing in the shovel yet and I don't think Rochester is either. Rochester was the big surprise with the weekend snowfall only posting about 6 1/2 inches but I'm sure they will be winning several rounds this season to keep it close. Even our neighbors to the South, Binghamton is still holding tough and post some snow just about every day now. I'm going to keep saying it! It's going to be a great snow race for the 2009 - 2010 season.



At 1/4/10, 7:06 PM , Anonymous Patrick said...

I was wondering what criteria you use when calculating your totals. The National Weather Service storm reports puts Rochester at 9.4 inches as of 1042 am, and I know we have picked up more. I was just wondering the criteria you use for the respective cities. Thank you.

At 1/4/10, 7:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this whole thing is such a crock. Out in Webster (10 minutes from downtown Rochester) there is 3 feet of snow on the ground. Just north of the city in Charlotte there is at least 2 feet, if not more. The airport in Rochester is positioned so terribly, it's now wonder Rochester is behind.

That's the problem with this competition. Lake effect can have such small areas it affects, this competition is all about who's airport is located in the "best" position, which is obviously Syracuse.

I'm literally a 10 minute drive from the airport and we got a solid 2 feet the past 3 or 4 days.

At 1/4/10, 10:04 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

Hey Patrick,

I add them up as the reports come out which is normally 3 times a day. I don't always catch all 3 reports but they are ALWAYS NOAA stats. The totals on the other post would have been only up until about 5 PM Sunday I think it was. As you know it was still snowing off and on and the total you mentioned is the correct one, 9.4 as of 10:42 am today (Monday) as stated on NOAA at the link below.

Anon, this is a normal discussion here at least a few times each year. I'm about 5 minutes east of the city of Syracuse and about 10 minutes east-southeast from the airport. Most of this season the airport was coming in with lower numbers than I had at my house. Binghamton was leading and ahead of Syracuse most of the season and they are wayyy south. This last storm the totals were at most a couple inches more than I had at my house. I've also heard an argument or two that Rochester is closer to the lake and has two lakes to draw snow from???? All I say is it is what it is. What it is , is it's all in fun man :)

That's the fun and amazing thing about Lake Effect IMO because it can hammer one area and just a mile away may get just a few inches. As for where the airports are it is what it is.

At 1/4/10, 10:18 PM , Anonymous zr800 said...

Yep, old argument about airport locations. It all evens out, and if one airport is in a better location, oh well. IT IS WHAT IT IS!


At 1/4/10, 10:19 PM , Anonymous zr800 said...

BTW, Fulton, which is just outside Syracuse, picked up 42" out of this last round, but no one in Syracuse crying about it...

At 1/4/10, 10:37 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

Anon, you probably seen this site but if not here is a good site I just came across and bookmarked it with a live streaming video of Webster, NY.

At 1/4/10, 10:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear what you're saying. But look at the results, Syracuse doesn't lose this competition, and I'm well aware it's all in good fun.

Rochester doesn't really get any lake effect from Lake Erie; maybe once a year. Usually the way the winds blow off the lake the northeast part of town gets hit the worst. North Greece by the lake gets a decent amount. The Rochester airport is located in the least snowy part of the Rochester metro. As I understand it, it's the same with Buffalo.

I'm just saying with the Syracuse airport right in the snowbelt, and the opposite true for Rochester and Buffalo, it's not much of a competition. If it's possible to get snow totals for individual towns, that would be very fun and interesting.

At 1/4/10, 10:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As we can see from that site Webster has picked up just over 50 inches this year, almost 20 more than the Rochester airport, which is only a 10-15 drive away.

I'm just saying, one town has their airport in a snowy spot, another doesn't. The results don't really indicate how snowy the who city is, just how snowy is it where the airport is located.

At 1/4/10, 10:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, the Fulton comment is a bit ridiculous. Fulton is 30 miles from Syracuse. It's not a close suburb, it's a separate town a good ways away. Sodus is the same distance from Rochester, so shall we check their totals too? Webster is a close suburb of Rochester only minutes from downtown. So it's a little different.

At 1/4/10, 11:24 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

Anon, I do understand what you are saying. One misconception though is that some think the Syracuse airport is WAY up north in Fulton or Oswego but it's not. It's only 7 - 8 driving miles from the heart of the city of Syracuse. Probably 3-4 nautical miles which I think we did all the airports a couple of years ago to see what it was.

As ZR mentioned above Fulton just received 42 inches which isn't real far but is about 25 miles miles away from Syracuse and Oswego is something like 40+ miles away I believe.

Does Syracuse have an advantage. Obviously that's why we are King of the hill the last several years. Nor Easter's a good part of the time also help Syracuse out for the fact that we are farther east buttttt... I think it was last season, maybe the season before where Rochester and Buffalo spanked us with a coastal storm.

I have to agree with ZR about it all evening out it the end. Ummm, not sure if I agree about the complaining part though when Fulton is racking up the inches. You can bet I'm screaming for the lake effect to drop down to the south so we can get in on it.

Anon, take a look at the link below and scroll up to the lake to maybe put the distance into perspective. As for the smaller cities, no doubt places like Fulton, Hooker, NY, probably Webster, places south of Buffalo, Tug Hill and others would kick all of the Bigger city butts. The reason for these 5 cities is that they are the original 5 cities when the contest started back a few decades ago and they have NOAA weather stations.,+East+Syracuse,+NY+13057&gl=us&ei=m7xCS4vAONS8lAerkIynBw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBAQ8gEwAA

At 1/4/10, 11:44 PM , Anonymous Jason said...

The thing is, it doesn't even out. The reality is certain spots receive more lake effect. That's the way it works. Look at this sentence from an article in the Syracuse paper:

"First off, everyone knows the official snowfall measured at Hancock International Airport is deeper than everywhere else. The airport sits smack dab in a regular snow band off Lake Ontario. Head a few miles south to Downtown, and the annual snowfall is about two-thirds of the airport's total."

And the argument about Fulton is pretty dumb, again. That's 30 miles from Syracuse. If you'll use that, can Rochester use Sodus, which is the same distance? My point about Webster is that it is only minutes from downtown, not some town 30 miles away.

Again, I DO recognize it's all in fun and the logical way to do this is by airports, but it's just not an accurate representation, especially in Rochester.

At 1/5/10, 12:21 AM , Blogger Patrick said...

Jason, first off I'm not using Fulton as an argument, butttt. Fulton is closer to the lake, just like Rochester's airport is closer to the lake than Syracuse's.

Food for Thought - Rochester's airport is about 8 miles away from the lake give or take. That's snow miles and not driving miles.

On the other hand the Syracuse airport is wayyyyy back 35 snow miles from the lake.

What's that mean??? Beats me :) Like I mentioned it's obvious it's advantage Syracuse or we wouldn't have won all these years ;p

Good conversation and points Jason. I'm off to get a start on some of the national city stats and see if I can get them up tomorrow. Just think if Rochester beats Syracuse this season you may also win the national snow race ;)

At 1/5/10, 12:33 AM , Blogger Patrick said...

Duh, one last thing. How is the weather around the Rochester area right now if anyone is still online? My kids are heading to the airport in a few hours to catch an early morning plane?

At 1/5/10, 12:36 AM , Blogger Caedwen said...

There was a bubble around the Rochester Airport. Anywhere else in Rochester got 2-3 ft of snow.


At 1/5/10, 6:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is still snowing here in Rochester, well north of Rochester

At 1/5/10, 6:27 AM , Anonymous Charles Wachal said...

Here in Ontario, NY we are pushing 45 inches for this storm with over 80 inches for the season so it does matter where you are... Rochester is only 10 minutes from me but they have much less snow they are sitting in a hole when it comes to LES the heaviest snow is off to the NE or NW of the city. It all has to do with geography. It is like trying to decide which city will get more rain one on the east side of Florida and one on the west side of Florida both have the potential to get a lot of rain but one of the sides has a higher potential because of the winds off the Gulf/Ocean, it is the same here but with snow if you look at a map of the region you will see that there is a dip in the coastline right near Rochester this prevents LES from pounding Rochester because the NW winds are blocked by the land near Greece ect. This contest is just for fun and there is nothing any city can do to make it snow more on there city so it really is not a contest in that respect but it is one for the weather to decide who wins. I visit this site not caring who is on the top but to read the blogs about the weather and to see how much snow each city has got so far. You could include many other cities in the western NY region that get more snow like Fulton, Webster, Sodus, ect but then the big cities would never win the contest.

At 1/5/10, 10:21 AM , Anonymous Cathy said...

Is there a place I can see daily snowfall amounts for the entire season? Thank you.

At 1/5/10, 12:58 PM , Anonymous Patrick Rochester said...

Im still in Rochester, it is 1 pm, and I'm at the University of Rochester, and it's snowing pretty hard here.

I think all participating cities should have multiple sites in the surrounding community and then take an average.

Example, Rochester could use the airport, downtown, charlotte, brockport, and perinton, or something like that. just food for thought

At 1/5/10, 1:04 PM , Anonymous VirtuallyLucid said...

Guys. Seriously.

This is a fun way to look at your winter weather and not be discouraged by it, or seasonal affective disorder, or garbage like that. You know, making lemonade and all that?

Well, when life gives you winter, make Winterade(TM). Let's all sit back and enjoy our glass of Winterade(TM) and get a laugh out of the silver lining.

Now, if you're arguing to get in the spirit of things, like you would in a fantasy league or something like that, then enjoy. I don't mean to, snow...on your parade.

I'm just sayin'

At 1/5/10, 2:15 PM , Blogger Patrick said...


All in fun I believe or else I have a mutiny on hand ;) I'm just throwing anything I have out there, BTW, is winterade really a trademark name?


Like I mentioned when it comes to snow it's advantage Syracuse to the east most of the time :) Great information and points well made.

Steve, Like I mentioned I was really surprised to see the numbers for The Rock. I think part of the problem is that here in Syracuse we measure the snow on the runways before the planes start their engines unlike in Rochester where they wait until the plane take off to measure ;) Seriously though looking at the radar it's looking like all of Rochester is getting in on the snow. Ummm, I hope so anyways!

Patrick, good suggestion but it will never happen. Not here at least for a couple of reasons. First off you need snow spotters and good snow spotters at that to take the measurements like they are suppose to be taken which I use to know how but I forgot since. The other problem is trying to find the stats. I did have a smaller city competition a few years back and just trying to find snow stats for some of the cities was next to impossible. When I did have stats they were updated on a monthly basis so it was kind of boring.

Cathy, there are daily stats for the season and I'll find the link and post it for you.

For all, here is one of the discussions from the past about the airports. I'm out of this one now :p

At 1/5/10, 2:35 PM , Anonymous ZR800 said...

Anon, here is a link to about as much information / stats on suburban areas via snow spotters from NOAA. There are tabs across the top and you can just click on the region you are looking for:

Also, there is tons more information on this page as well...

I have been a participating member in this contest since back when I think just Patrick, myself, and the General cared about it. It was impressive to check back and see 19 comments today. I think Patrick has done a great job making it about as fair as possible, by using NOAA weather stations for official measurements. Heck if Patrick would take my word for it as far as snow measurements, ROC would win this contest every year! Patrick also works hard to keep it fun on his own time and to that, hats off to him!

VirtuallyLucid sums it up best!

Also, the airport locations and mix of our snowfall (Lake Effect, Clippers, Noreaster's etc) I think are what make this contest fun. If you could predict which areas get the most snow and measure there, it would take a lot of fun out of this contest.

At 1/5/10, 2:41 PM , Anonymous zr800 said...

Anon, one last thing, if you look at these stats, last season (08-09) the AIRPORT received more snow than Webster, so it wasn't the worst place to be measuring our totals for the contest...

At 1/5/10, 2:41 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

Cathy, I'm not sure what city you want the stats for so I'll post them all. Below the links tells you how to get the info.

For Buffalo and Rochester:

For Syracuse and Binghamton:


1) Check the - Preliminary Monthly Climate Data (CF6)
2)Click on the city
3)Chose recent or archived data and pick the month
4) hit Go

At 1/5/10, 3:30 PM , Blogger PSUSyr5 said...

Funny, I didn't see anyone talk about how "unfair" it was when Syracuse was last.

Buffalo, not Syracuse, has the most snow recorded for any season at 199.4.

It's kind of interesting looking at the old snow stats and seeing Binghamton has won a few times before the contest was made. Last I checked Binghamton is not in a Lake Effect snow belt. Rochester had the most in the late 90s, and Buffalo had more than any city in the 2001-02 season.

It's not just Syracuse, Syracuse, Syracuse. It's not just Lake Effect, Lake Effect, Lake Effect. Is Syracuse "helped" by its location? Sure. But complaining about that is like complaining about Phoenix, AZ being hot because it's in the desert. There just isn't much we can do about it.

The one thing that could make this a little more interesting though would be calculating percentage from historical average.

At 1/5/10, 3:59 PM , Anonymous VirtuallyLucid said...


No, it isn't -really- trademarked. Use it at your leisure. I just thought it was funnier that way.

This is my first winter here in The ROC and when I came across your site, I was really quite happy to see a fun way of keeping track of the accumulation. I like sharing the stats with folks back home in Vegas. You do a good job of making it a blast.

Thanks for that.

At 1/5/10, 4:28 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

ZR, Thanks for the kind words and it's always been a pleasure having you here to help out and and give the info that you have pretty much from the beginning :)

That's what makes this site fun is everyone chipping in with input and comments. I'm just the stats keeper for the cities and supposedly when Syracuse does lose the city has something planned for the winner :)

At 1/5/10, 4:35 PM , Blogger Patrick said...


"No, it isn't -really- trademarked. Use it at your leisure. I just thought it was funnier that way."

It was funny and I did laugh :) That's why I had to question it. Hmmm, not a bad name for a drink though in one of the GSB cities. I think we'll have to see if we can get all the CNY bars to name a drink that???

Thanks for the Kudos ;) My aunt and uncle were just in from Vegas during the first storm before Christmas and got stuck here a couple of extra days. Man was my Uncle in a HURRY to get out of Syracuse, lol.

At 1/5/10, 7:15 PM , Anonymous Jason said...

Patrick, vicinity to the lake really means nothing when it comes to lake effect. It's all dependent on how the geography and how the wind blows. And that's just not favorable for the Rochester airport, when it comes to getting a lot of snow.

I wasn't proposing you change how this competition works, since I do enjoy it as is. I was merely stating in Rochester there is a huge discrepancy in snowfall generally, and the airport is almost always on the short end of the stick.

At 1/5/10, 7:45 PM , Blogger Patrick said...

Jason, "Patrick, vicinity to the lake really means nothing when it comes to lake effect."

I was throwing stuff out there all in fun. Obviously I know the closer the city doesn't mean better LES. If that were the case Syracuse wouldn't be KING ;)

I also know your not trying to change things. All in fun and no problem on my end at all. Most of the points made in this thread were all good ones. Umm, except yours of course


At 1/5/10, 9:15 PM , Anonymous Chris said...

Another poster from Syracuse here. Out of all major suburbs of Syracuse....only Cicero ranks higher for snowfall totals than the Syracuse Airport. Camillus, Geddes, Onondaga Hill, Westvale, Fayetteville, Manlius, Liverpool, most of Baldwinsville, Van Buren, DeWitt, East Syracuse, Solvay, Nedrow, Lyncourt, Minoa, Lakeland, most of the populated parts areas in Clay and Mattydale all are receive less snow than the Syracuse airport. Meaning about 375,000 people in the Syracuse urbanized area receive less snow than the airport reports each year.

The opposite is true for Rochester and Buffalo. Buffalo's snowiest suburbs are Orchard Park, East Aurora, West Seneca and Hamburg. If Buffalo's Airport was located in one of its top 3 snowiest suburbs... Buffalo would almost always win the Golden Snowball.

Out of all the Rochester suburbs, Chili, (where Rochester's airport is located) is probably the second or third least snowiest suburb.

At 1/6/10, 2:09 PM , Anonymous Cathy said...

Thank you for the link :)

At 1/6/10, 8:19 PM , Anonymous Jason said...

100% right Chris. I mean look at Webster, only a few miles away from downtown Rochester. 58.1 inches of snow this season, which is a much more accurate representation of the city as a whole. Over 20 inches more than what the airport has.

I wonder, since Webster and the Rochester airport are on opposite sides that an average could be taken of the two to get a much more accurate total. The site would be worth checking out to see how accurate they are.

At 1/6/10, 11:03 PM , Blogger Jake said...

I find it interesting that Rochester and Syracuse both get more snow than Buffalo, I lived in Rochester from 1998-2003 and there was very little snow... just a lot of wind and freezing rain. Buffalo ran away with snow accumulations in those years... funny that Syracuse had more sunny days in Rochester those years which is amazing for a city that supposedly only has 18 sunny days a year....

At 1/7/10, 6:00 PM , Anonymous Jason said...

Very small sample size Jake. I went to school in Buffalo for a few years and noted that Buffalo got less snow than Rochester.

They are very close to the same. If you live in southern Erie county or on the eastern end of the Rochester metro, you receive a lot more snow than the rest of the area.

Lake Erie freezes over usually, so the lake effect snow stops in Buffalo around January and February. Lake Ontario, however, never freezes so the lake effect just keeps coming all winter for Rochester and Syracuse.

For the record, here are Rochester's snowfall totals from 98-03. Buffalo's are in parenthesis for comparison.

98-99: 111.6 (100.5)
99-00: 110.7 (63.6)
00-01: 133 (158.7)
01-02: 58.1 (132.4)
02-03: 135.2 (111.3)

So 3 out of those 5 years Rochester had more snowfall than Buffalo.


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