Like A Lion: Upstate NY Could See Record Snow In ‘Arctic’ March
In like a lion, out like a lamb - that’s how March is supposed to go. If that’s true for Upstate New York this year, then it’ll be a very fluffy, white, and cold lion. After a very underwhelming winter so far, meteorological models project we could make all that lost snow up on the back end headed into spring.
January was the fifth warmest ever recorded for Albany, and marked the first year that all 31 days of the month had highs that got above freezing. February has also been marked by rain and 40-degree days, with much less snow than usual.
Above-Average Snowfall Predicted For Upstate In March
The same weather system behind Winter Storm Piper, which was responsible for Los Angeles’ first blizzard warning in decades, arrives Monday night to end Upstate NY’s February with a foot of snow in many areas. AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg says, “This is likely to be the biggest storm of the season to date for much of the Northeast, including New York City.”
This storm is only the start for a March that could give Upstate everything we missed in January. The monthly average snowfall is around 8-10”, but there’s already a precedent for wild snows to hit Upstate in March: the one-day record for Albany’s biggest snowfall happened on March 13, 1993, when the area was walloped by 22”.
Snow Could Ruin Upstate's Official Start Of Spring
AccuWeather predicts a surge of bitter cold and winter weather near the official start of spring on March 20. Another Polar Vortex, like the late-December storm that dumped 52” of snow on Western New York, could bring Arctic air into Upstate around that day. The site predicts at least five snowfall days in March, including another storm on Friday that could put parts of Upstate over the monthly average by the 3rd.
This fits in with NOAA’s long-term models to track La Nina, which called for a colder end to February and beginning of meteorological spring. While less science-based, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts below-average temperatures and above-normal precipitation in New York and New England for March.
So what about going out like a lamb? Upstate could catch a break and get spring-like temperatures the very last week of the month, with the potential for days in the low-60s, but don’t put the sweaters away yet. Accuweather says April snow isn’t out of the question, either.