Major Nor'easter
Saturday-Sunday December 30 & 31 2000

It was one of the larger December snow storms on record at Albany.  12.6" of snow fell over the two day period from what was a small, compact, but powerhouse Nor'easter that quickly developed and tracked through the Northeast.  The majority of the snow accumulation occurred during the afternoon and evening of the 30th, with minor additional amounts on the 31st from backlash moisture. Snowfall ranged from a relative scant 5" in mountain shadowed parts of Berkshire, Bennington, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, to 26" in upslope areas of Ulster, Green, and Schoharie counties.

The storm rapidly formed during the very early morning hours of 30th along the mid Atlantic coast from a strong upper level disturbance that was plowing through the Ohio valley.  The Ohio valley storm transferred it's energy to the coast where the Nor'easter formed.  The system came together and moved north very quickly causing snow to break out across eastern New York and New England during the morning.  Snow rapidly picked up in intensity during the late morning and afternoon, commonly falling at a rate of an inch per hour.  As the system intensified rapidly and tracked just east of New York City, into south central New England during the afternoon, bands of snow pin wheeled into the Capital Region from the east and southeast producing snowfall rates of between two and four inches per hour for a couple of hours.   In fact, one observer in Windham, in Greene county, reported that 5.5" of snow fell between 3:15pm and 4:15pm on the 30th.  Temperatures held steady in the upper teens and the low 20's through the peak of the storm which meant there was a high snow amount to water ratio.  In other words, the snow was dry and quite fluffy, which made it easy to blow around by the increasing NNE wind.  Winds during the afternoon and evening gusted to 30 mph, especially at higher elevations leading to local white out and very poor travel conditions.

Dry air began circulating around the low center by late afternoon across the mid Hudson valley, and western New England, which lead to diminishing snowfall rates.  The snow shut down in the Capital District during the early evening for a couple of hours, before wrap around moisture caused intermittent light snow to move back through eastern New York and western New England during the overnight.

The forward motion of the storm slowed a bit during the afternoon of the 30th as the parent upper level storm caught up with the intense surface storm.  Once the upper level and surface systems linked up, the combined storm only slowly tracked to the Northeast, which meant it was still in the area through the day on Sunday, December 31.  The storm's position on Sunday in the gulf of Maine allowed it to circulate backlash moisture into the region which kept flurries and occasional light snow going through the day.  Only an additional 1"-3" of snow accumulated on the 31st, with the bulk majority of accumulating snow on the ground by the evening of the 30th. Wind gusts to 35 mph through the day on the 31st, however, leading to whiteout conditions from blowing snow.

Snowfall amounts, as they typically do with any large Northeast storm, varied considerably across the region.  A mountain shadow effect was observed, and was well forecast to occur, in the lee of the Greene and Berkshire mountains.  The strong east, northeast flow around the storm center was forced to sink along the west slopes of the Green and Berkshire mountains, which caused the air to dry leading to lower snowfall amounts in parts of Washington, Rensselaer, Bennington, and Berkshire counties.  Conversely, the flow around the low upon hitting the east slopes of the Catskills got some extra lift.  The result was excessive amounts of snow along the windward slopes of the Catskills with up to 26" reported.  Because the physical size of this storm was relatively small, and the snow area quite compact, despite the storm tracking close to New York City, the Adirondacks were on the far northwest edge of the heaviest snow and thus received lighter snow amounts than areas closer to the Nor'easter center.

The following table is a listing of storm total snowfall amounts reported from the Channel 6 WeatherNet 6 network of weather watchers.

Town/State County Snowfall Amount Town/State County Snowfall Amount
Clarksburg, MA Berkshire 5.5" Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 8.0"
North Egremont, MA Berkshire 9.25" Mill River, MA Berkshire 7.0"
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 9.0" Great Barrington, MA Berkshire 9.0"
Albany Albany 12.6" Delmar Albany 11.0"
Colonie Albany 11.0" East Berne Albany 17.5"
Westerlo Albany 18.0" Green Island Albany 9.5"
Guilderland Albany 11" Menands Albany 8.75"
Ravena Albany 12"-14" Medusa Albany 17.75"
Germantown Columbia 10" West Copake Columbia 13"
Chatham Center Columbia 9.0" Kinderhook Columbia 9.0"
Elizaville Columbia 13.0" Ancramdale Columbia 12"
Claverack Columbia 17.0" Taghkanic Columbia 15.2"
Fleischmanns Delaware 16.0" Roxbury Delaware 12"
Dover Plains Dutchess 12.0" Red Hook Dutchess 10.5"
Millerton Dutchess 7.5" Stanfordville Dutchess 15.0"
Amenia Dutchess 10.0" LaGrange Dutchess 15.0"
Caroga Lake Fulton 7.0" Broadalbin Village Fulton 10.0"
Mayfield Fulton 13.0" Northville Fulton 8.0"
Round Top Greene 17.0" Ashland Greene 21.5"
Cairo Greene 17.0" Lexington Greene 17.75"
Catskill Greene 23.0" Windham Greene 18.0"
Piseco Hamilton 5.75"      
Florida Montgomery 17.0" Fonda Montgomery 16.0"
Amsterdam Montgomery 16.0" Hagaman Montgomery 12.0"
St. Johnsville Montgomery 11.0" Canajoharie Montgomery 16.0"
Schenevus Otsego 10.0" Worcester Otsego 12.0"
Stephentown Rensselaer 7.3" Valley Falls Rensselaer 11.0"
Hoosick Falls Rensselaer 7.5" Lansingburg Rensselaer 9.4"
Galway Saratoga 12.0" Corinth Saratoga 10.0"
Porter Corners Saratoga 12.5" Northumberland Saratoga 6.5"
Malta Saratoga 8.0" Milton Saratoga 10.75"
Ballston Spa Saratoga 9.0" Ballston Lake Saratoga 11.0"
Middle Grove Saratoga 11.0" Burnt Hills Saratoga 11.25"
Glenville Schenectady 13.0" Duanesburg Schenectady 15"-17.5"
Rotterdam Schenectady 12.0" Scotia Schenectady 12.25"
Summit Schoharie 23.25" Jefferson Schoharie 12.0"
Seward Schoharie 16.0" Central Bridge Schoharie 16.0"
Middleburgh Schoharie 16.0" Schoharie Schoharie 15.0"
Woodstock Ulster 15.0" Kerhonkson Ulster 18.0"
West Shokan Ulster 17.1" Kingston Ulster 16.5"
Marbletown Ulster 26.0" West Hurley Ulster 20.0"
Queensbury Warren 6.0" Glens Falls Warren 6.5"
Salem Washington 5.5"      
Woodford Mt, VT Bennington 10.5" West Rutland, VT Rutland 5.0"