Moderate to Heavy Snow Storm February 8-9, 2013
(Epic New England Blizzard)

A moderate to heavy snow storm impacted eastern New York and western New England from February 8-9 with the brunt of the snow accumulation occurring from late Friday afternoon through 3am Saturday morning.  On average a 6”-10” snow accumulation occurred with pockets of 9”-11” in the Mohawk valley and Schoharie and southwest Albany counties. Heavier snow accumulations of 9”-16” were common in the mid Hudson valley, Berkshire and Litchfield counties.  Further east and south from New York City and Long Island up through Connecticut, Rhode Island, central and eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, the storm was very different.  In these states this storm was an epic blizzard producing 20”-36” of snow (locally higher amounts up to 40” in Connecticut) with many hours of blinding three to four inch per hour snowfall rates.  Wind gusts across the southeast and eastern New England coasts ranged from 55-77 mph, along with lightning and thunder at times from Long Island through coastal CT and Rhode Island.  The storm intensified so rapidly that it formed an eye like feature Friday evening which it maintained through the day Saturday.

Afternoon Visible Satellite Picture of the New England Blizzard on Saturday February 9, 2013 as it moved away from the New England coast. The intense cyclone in this image showing an eye like feature at its center.

Saturday Afternoon Satellite View of the New England Blizzard as it moved away from the coast, February 9, 2013 

The initial storm set up appeared that it would favor a classic coastal Nor’easter development as two initially separate storms, an energetic clipper low embedded within the northern branch of the jet stream, would phase together along the mid Atlantic coast with a fairly weak but moisture rich system embedded within the southern branch of the jet stream developing and moving along the Gulf coast.  This phasing would form a classic rapidly deepening and somewhat slow moving Nor’easter which would track somewhere near the southern New England coast dumping heavy snow over the Northeast.  And although the end result was this conceptual Nor’easter which bombed (rapidly intensified) south of New England from Friday afternoon through Friday night turning into the epic and locally historic blizzard bringing excessive to record snows over New England, the evolution of the system went a bit differently than was expected and that evolution ended up paying a critical role in how the accumulating snow over eastern New York developed and played out.

Instead of a full phasing of the two storms, the northern branch clipper remained a strong separate entity for a longer period of time than was initially expected as it moved into western New York through Friday evening.  Meanwhile, the coastal storm redeveloped off the Delmarva Peninsula Friday afternoon and rapidly intensified on its own as only some of the energy from the northern storm aided in the initial development. In this case, the northern storm acted as somewhat of a kicker causing the Nor’easter to move along at a pretty good clip rather than grabbing it and slowing it down as it would have had the phasing occurred earlier in the event. The earlier phasing and subsequent slower storm motion scenario would have lead to heavier banding of snow locally than what occurred and for a longer period of time. But, since the two storms remained separate entities well into Friday night the coastal system was not only able to move fairly rapidly but also was able to remain offshore by a good 100-150 miles.  The offshore track is not the most favorable scenario for the heaviest snows to occur in eastern upstate New York and western New England. A more favorable coastal storm track for the local area is for a strong Nor’easter to go up over or near Cap Code and the Islands.  This type of track generally results in many cases in the heaviest snow bands setting up over upstate New York.

With this Nor’easter, the western edge of the excessive snow zone moved into Litchfield County, CT, where blizzard conditions occurred between 7pm and midnight.  Locally narrow but very heavy snow bands, with snowfall rates of 1” to 2” per hour also developed and impacted much of Berkshire and southern Bennington counties as well as Rensselaer, Columbia and Dutchess counties well into the night as a result of strong lift in the atmosphere generated by the far western edge of the Nor’easter. Simultaneously, the clipper system over north central Pennsylvania Friday evening and night generated some brief bands and bandlets of heavy snow with snowfall rates of 1”/hour at times across the western Catskills, Schoharie County, the Mohawk valley and southern Adirondacks through 3am Saturday. Some mountain shadowing did occur across Saratoga, Washington, Rutland, and western Bennington counties where snowfall accumulations were reduced a bit as a period of strong easterly flow over the top of the coastal storm descended the leeward slope of the southern Green mountains causing some of the snow to dry up. The storm moved far enough from the region Saturday morning to allow snow to quickly break up after 3am ultimately ending as scattered snow showers between 6am and 9am.  Clear skies followed the storm through Saturday as significant subsidence (sinking) air occurred behind the departing storm.   

WeatherNet 6 Snowfall Distribution Map
February 8-9, 2013

Storm Total Snowfall February 8-9, 2013 

WeatherNet 6 Storm Total Snowfall
February 8-9, 2013

Town County Snowfall Report Town County Snowfall Report
Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 12.0" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 8.0"
Alford, MA Berkshire 16.0" Savoy, MA Berkshire 17.0"
Canaan, CT Litchfield 12.0"      
Cohoes Albany 6.5" Colonie Albany 6.7"
Medusa Albany 7.0" Newtonville Albany 6.9"
Glenmont Albany 11.0" Altamont Albany 7.0"
Preston Hollow Albany 12.0" Latham Albany 6.5"
Guilderland Center Albany 9.0" Green Island Albany 6.8"
Feura Bush Albany
Kinderhook Columbia 8.3" Ghent Columbia 10.5"
Taghkanic Columbia 11.0" Livingston Columbia 12.0"
Hudson Columbia 10.0" North Chatham Columbia 10.5"
Austerlitz Columbia 10.5" Germantown Columbia 7.5"
Chatham Center Columbia


Craryville Columbia 12.0"
Ancramdale Columbia 10.0"      
Grand Gorge Delaware 8.3" Arkville Delaware 6.0"
Millbrook Dutchess 9.0"      
Perth Fulton 8.0" Ephratah Fulton 6.0"
Broadalbin Fulton 7.0" Mayfield Fulton 8.0"
Johnstown Fulton 7.0" Fish House Fulton 8.0"
Maplecrest Greene 10.0" Ashland Greene 8.5"
Puling Greene 9.0" Halcott Center Greene 8.0"
Cairo Greene 8.5" Greenville Greene 8.2"
Halcott Greene 7.0" Round Top Greene 8.0"
Wells Hamilton 8.8" Hoffmeister Hamilton 7.0"
Indian Lake Hamilton 8.5" Piseco Hamilton 6.5"
Glen Montgomery 10.7" Amsterdam Montgomery 9.5"
Hessville Montgomery 10.7" Fonda Montgomery 9.6"
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 8.0" Stone Ridge Montgomery 8.5"
Maryland Otsego 11.0" East Worcester Otsego 10.0"
Oneonta Otsego 6.0" Cooperstown Otsego 6.5"
Worcester Otsego 9.0"      
Berlin Rensselaer 13.0" Brunswick Rensselaer 6.0"
Lansingburgh Rensselaer 6.0" Speigletown Rensselaer 6.0"
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 6.0"      
Saratoga Springs Saratoga 5.6" to 6.7" Milton Saratoga 5.8"
Malta Saratoga 7.0" Mechanicville Saratoga 9.0"
Ballston Lake Saratoga 5.3" Wilton Saratoga 5.5"
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 6.8"      
Schenectady Schenectady 8.0" Duanesburg Schenectady 8.0"
Jefferson Schoharie 9.0" Summit Schoharie 14.8" to 20.0"
Charlotteville Schoharie 9.3" Fulton Schoharie 8.0"
Seward Schoharie 8.0" Richmondville Schoharie 10.0"
Huntersland Schoharie 9.5" Gilboa Schoharie 7.0"
Middleburgh Schoharie 13.8" Schoharie Schoharie 8.0"
Phoenicia Ulster 5.0" Saugerties Ulster 7.4"
Highmount Ulster 8.0" Whiteport Ulster 10.5"
West Shokan Ulster 5.5" Kingston Ulster 8.1"
Ulster Park Ulster 10.5"      
Brant Lake Warren 6.0" Lake Luzerne Warren 6.5"
Warrensburg Warren 5.8"      
Hebron Washington 4.5" Hudson Falls Washington 4.5"
Salem Washington 3.0"      
West Arlington, VT Bennington 6.5" Woodford, VT Bennington 11.5"
West Rutland, VT Rutland 4.0"