Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rochester's Worst Winters Storms

Rochester ranks among the top U.S. cities with the most annual snowfall at 92.3 inches, just below our neighbors Syracuse (#1 at 115.6 inches) and Buffalo (93.6 inches).   Rochester's official weather station was established in 1870, but the early settlers recorded several large storms in diaries for decades before that. Below are a list of the worst winter storms in Rochester History. 

Snow Storms (Post-1870)

1. Feb. 28-March 2, 1900: 43.5 inches

2. Feb. 27-March 3, 1984: 32.7 inches

3. Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, 1966: 28.8 inches

4. Feb. 5-7, 1978: 25.8 inches

5. Dec. 8-11, 1981: 25.4 inches

Snow Storms (Pre-1870)
  • Jan. 26-27,1839: 2.5-3.0 feet (diary of Edwin Scrantom)
  • Feb. 15, 1837: 2.5 feet (diary of Edwin Scrantom)
  • Feb. 2-7, 1845: 30 inches
  • Feb. 4-6, 1854: 30 inches

Top Snowfall in a Season: 1959-60 with 161.7 inches

Ice Storms
  • March 3-4, 1991: 1.5 inches of Freezing Rain, over 135,000 Rochester Area homes without power.
  • January 3-5. 1913: Over 1.1 inches of frozen rain.
  •  April 4-5, 2003: About 100,00 homes lost power.

 Other
  •  Coldest Day: -22 F on February 9, 1934 (the prior day, February 8 also holds a record for that day at -16 F)

References and Further Reading:
  1. "Top 101 cities with the highest snowfall in year", city-data.com
  2. Golden Snowball Award 
  3. Rochester History, vol. XXVII, issue , January 1965
  4. "Rochester Historic Snowfalls", Democrat and Chronicle, March 12, 2014
  5. "Storm Up State Continues", New York Times, March 3, 1900
  6. "An Ice Storm Paralyzes Western and Northern New York", New York Times (March 5, 1991)  
  7. Ice Storm of 2003 Left Many Devastated, Democrat and Chronicle, April 5, 2013
  8. "A Meteorological of Ice Storm Impact Variables in the Rochester, N.Y. Area Including a Probability Analysis of Freezing Precipitation Return Periods for Significant Ice Storms", Mroz, Paul J., WOKR Weather Services, August 20, 1991
  9. NOAA Weather Records for Rochester, NY


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