Friday February 25, 2011
Heavy Snow Storm

Exceptionally heavy wet snow blanketed much of the region Friday February 25, 2011, coming down at rates of 2" to 3" per hour for a few hours during the early morning. Rapid accumulations lead to what many considered the worst travel scenario of the season to date with deep snow on many roads through the morning commute and beyond into and through most of the afternoon. Slews of accidents were reported on area highways and roads as a result of the treacherous travel conditions. Albany International Airport reported that forty one departures and forty five arrivals were cancelled due to the heavy snow through the late afternoon.

Temperatures hovered near 30° through the duration of the storm which created a heavy wet snow, with snow to water ratios running about 7 or 8:1. As a result, the snow stuck to everything leading to beautiful scenes across the region with everything coated in a deep layer of white. Clearing the snow, however, with shovels, snow blowers, and plows, proved to be a difficult task due to its near concrete consistency. Storm accumulations on average ranged from 8"-13" across a wide portion of the region by late Friday afternoon and evening when it ended.

Photographer: WeatherNet 6 Spotter Spencer Conlin: Heavy snow in Eagle Bridge, Washington County, 2pm
Turnpike Road

Eagle Bridge, NY, Washington County, 2pm February 25, 2011

Photographer: WeatherNet 6 Spotter Spencer Conlin: Heavy snow scene in Eagle Bridge, Washington County, 2pm
A stream under Owl Kill Road

Eagle Bridge, Washington County, 2pm February 25, 2011 

A sharp line between heavy snow and heavy rain cut through the mid Hudson valley, with an inch to inch and a half of water reported in southern Columbia, southern Berkshire, eastern Ulster, Dutchess and Litchfield counties. Much lighter snowfall accumulations occurred in this region ranging from as little as an inch near Ancramdale, to 3.5" in Alford, MA, (southern Berkshire County), to 4" at Catskill and near 5" at Kinderhook. Existing snow pack in this region absorbed the much of the water precluding any significant issues from flooding. However, flash freezing in elevated areas was observed in portions of this region during the morning and afternoon as wet surfaces froze in spots with temperature fluctuations above and below freezing.

Set Up:
This storm developed in the southern branch of the jet stream coming together over the southern Plains states on Thursday February 24. The system rapidly tracked to the northeast, intensifying as it gained energy from a tight thermal gradient which existed from the Tennessee valley to Pennsylvania as cold air across the U.S. northern tier came together with very warm spring like air over the southern states. The system tapped copious supplies of Gulf of Mexico moisture on its trek into the Northeast accounting for storm total liquid equivalent precipitation ranging from an inch to an inch and a half on average. A compact upper level storm, the parent feature driving the entire system, tracked directly over the Northeast Friday evening. The upper level feature coupled with the intensifying surface storm produced strong lift in the atmosphere as warm moist air south of the storm track was forced to rise up and over the colder air entrenched across upstate New York and New England. Temperatures ranged through the mid 50s from New York City to Providence Rhode Island south of the storm track, but generally hovered near 30° throughout upstate New York and western New England through the duration of the event.

The storm tracked between Albany and New York City putting the region in the zone where there would be a sharp transition from heavy snow to heavy rain, making for an extremely difficult forecast. The storm itself was fairly flat with only a moderately well developed circulation as compared to a strong coastal Nor'easter which would typically have a well developed and strong circulation. In cases when storms with well developed strong circulations move close to the region they are able to draw warm air north aloft leading to a large zone of mixed sleet and freezing rain in place of snow. In this case, however, some warm air did advance north into the region aloft, but was offset by the substantial cooling processes that were taking place as a result of the strong lift going on and resulting heavy precipitation rates, which produce localized cooling. Therefore, very little sleet was reported during the event with instead a general abrupt change from heavy snow to heavy rain along a sharp rain/snow line. That line moved north through Delaware, Ulster, southern Greene, southern Columbia, to central Berkshire County through the early afternoon before dropping south as the storm moved northeast of the region allowing colder air to return to the southern counties. A strong gusty north to northeast wind north of the rain snow line, induced by the passing surface storm, through the duration of the event maintained a marginally sufficiently deep cold air mass over the Catskills, Mohawk valley, Capital Region to Bennington County, VT on north allowing the precipitation to remain as snow.

WeatherNet 6 Observed Snowfall Distribution for the February 25, 2011 Heavy Snow Event

February 25, 2011 Snowfall Distribution 

WeatherNet Storm Total Snowfall Reports for February 25, 2011

Town County Snowfall Report Town County Snowfall Report
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 5" Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 6.5"
Alford, MA Berkshire 3.5" Savoy, MA Berkshire 10.3"
Sharon, CT Litchfield 1.26" Rain      
Knox Albany 12.8" Colonie Albany 12"
Coeymans Hollow Albany 8.5" Potter Hollow Albany 11.5"
Glenmont Albany 12" Feura Bush Albany 12"
Delmar Albany
Voorheesville Albany 11.5"
Ancramdale Columbia 1/2" Snow-1.18" Rain Livingston Columbia 1.3"-2.3" Snow-.98" Rain
Taghkanic Columbia .9" Snow-1.19" Rain Hudson Columbia 4.5"
Kinderhook Columbia 5.9"      
Red Hook Dutchess 1.5" Snow-1.3" Rain Hopewell Junction Dutchess 1.27" Rain
Arkville Delaware 5"      
Mayfield Fulton 6" Gloversville Fulton 9"
Fish House Fulton 8" Johnstown Fulton 9.8"
Broadalbin Fulton 12"      
Catskill Greene 4" Cairo Greene 9"
Haines Falls Greene 6" Elka Park Greene 9"
Greenville Greene 12.5" Ashland Greene 7"
Prattsville Greene 7" Climax Greene 10"
Freehold Greene 10"      
Blue Mountain Lake Hamilton 6.8" Speculator Hamilton 7"
Amsterdam Montgomery 10.8" to 13.5" Fonda Montgomery 10.3"
Glen Montgomery 11.5"      
Oneonta Otsego 6" Schenevus Otsego 13.5"
East Worcester Otsego 10.5" Worcester Otsego 13.5"
Maryland Otsego 13.5"      
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 7.3" Schaghticoke Rensselaer 11.5"
Grafton Rensselaer 12.5" Stephentown Rensselaer 5"
Wynantskill Rensselaer 5.5"      
Malta Saratoga 12" Mechanicville Saratoga 14"
Porter Corners Saratoga 14.5" Charlton Saratoga 10"
Ballston Spa Saratoga 9.5" Saratoga Springs Saratoga 11.4" to 12.5"
Clifton Park Saratoga 10" Corinth Saratoga 8"
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 12.5"      
Duanesburg Schenectady 13" Rotterdam Schenectady 12"
Scotia Schenectady 13.5" Princetown Schenectady 15"
Schoharie Schoharie 11" Gilboa Schoharie 12.3"
Huntersland Schoharie 13.8" Jefferson Schoharie 11.5"
Richmondville Schoharie 12.5" Summit Schoharie 15"
Fulton Schoharie 13.3" Sloansville Schoharie 12"
Middleburgh Schoharie 12.8"      
West Shokan Ulster 5" Esopus Ulster 1.5" Rain
Phoenicia Ulster 5" Snow-1.29" Rain Whiteport Ulster 1.28" Rain
Highmount Ulster 5" Saugerties Ulster 1.8"
Kerhonkson Ulster 1"      
Lake Luzerne Warren 8.8" Warrensburg Warren 9.5"
Brant Lake Warren 7" Queensbury Warren 9.8"
Eagle Bridge Washington 10" Cossayuna Washington 13"
Salem Washington 6" to 9.5" Hudson Falls Washington 6"
Granville Washington 12" Fort Edward Washington 10" to 11"
Kingsbury Washington 8"      
Landgrove, VT Bennington 14.5' Woodford, VT Bennington 13"
West Arlington, VT Bennington 7" East Wallingford, VT Rutland 8.5"
Danby, VT Rutland 9.5" West Rutland, VT Rutland 8"