Nearly 7 feet of snow falls in New York

The snow buried homes, cars and most everything else
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:32 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 3:21 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A prolific and historic lake effect snow event concluded early this week for communities to the east of the Great Lakes. That includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

The most impressive snow totals with this multi-day event were seen in western New York. That’s where intense lake effect snow bands streaming off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario buried -- quite literally -- several towns. The snow was measured in feet with hours and hours of 2-5″ per hour snow rates.

The lake effect snow event featured totals of 3-7 feet in Western New York.
The lake effect snow event featured totals of 3-7 feet in Western New York.(WSFA 12 News/NOAA)

The highest snow totals were upwards of four to seven feet. Just outside of Hamburg, New York, a remarkable total of 81.2″ was recorded. That’s that highest official measurement seen with this lake effect snow event.

To put that number into perspective, let’s compare it to the height of some figures and things you may be familiar with...

81.2″ is taller than all of the following things:

  • Nick Saban
  • Cadillac Williams
  • Bryce Young
  • Tank Bigsby
  • A 2023 Ford Explorer

While this won’t go down as the top lake effect snow event in New York history, it most certainly will go down as one of the most prolific ones. It’s not every winter that four to seven feet of snow falls with just one bout of lake effect snow.

The amount of snow that fell in Western New York compared to a few Alabama-related things.
The amount of snow that fell in Western New York compared to a few Alabama-related things.(WSFA 12 News)

Many towns that were under the two dominant lake effect snow bands saw more snow in just hours than many others across the U.S. see in an entire year. Not impressed? Get this: More snow fell in 20 minutes in western New York than Montgomery has seen over the last few years!

If that kind of snow rate doesn’t impress you then I’m not sure what will. The snowiest winter ever in Montgomery’s recorded history came back in the late 1800s. Over a foot of snow fell during the winter of 1886-1887, which is incredible by our standards. That much snow fell in just three to six hours for some towns in western New York!

The reason why it snowed so heavily and for so long is, meteorologically speaking, rather simple. The lakes are still relatively warm and the air that moved over them was very, very cold. Pair that with a perfect wind direction for 3-4 days and your result is a perfect profuse lake effect snow event where the snow bands sat.

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