Heavy Mixed Precipitation Storm
Wednesday-Thursday Morning March 12-13, 2014

This was the fifth large storm of the 2013/14 winter season to impact the Northeast and by far the most challenging to forecast due the mixed precipitation nature of it.

The ultimate outcome was a major snow storm for northern Herkimer, Hamilton, much of Warren, northern Washington, northern Bennington and Rutland counties, locally, where on average 10" to 18" of snow accumulated, mostly on the front end of the storm through the day and night on Wednesday March 12.

Across the remainder of the region a combination of rain, changing to a significant period of freezing rain, then a wind driven sleet at times, to finally snow from north to south during the afternoon and into the night on the 12th. Ice accretion of 0.10" to 0.20" with up to 0.25" was common throughout the Capital Region and into the Catskills and mid Hudson valley. The storm ended as mostly intermittent light snow with one exception. A small scale snow band set up from southern Saratoga County to eastern Schenectady, eastern Albany, western Rensselaer, and northern Columbia counties briefly around 4 to 5am on the 13th and put out up to 3" of snow in the hour or so it lasted before dissipating.

Wind and bitterly cold air followed the storm with a slow clearing trend through Thursday the 13th as the storm departed.

Set Up:
The storm was preceded by a mostly sunny mild day on the 11th with temperatures climbing in most locations into the lower to mid 50s, giving the impression that the long cold winter of 2013/14 might be showing some signs of finally giving it up. However, and typical for March, winter came roaring back with this storm arriving early on the 12th.

Essentially, two areas of upper level low pressure, one, containing most of the energy, originating over the Pacific Northwest, and the other, containing much of the moisture, tracking along the Gulf coast, merged over the Ohio valley early on the 12th to begin the intensification process of surface low pressure. This storm then quickly tracked east across Pennsylvania to southern New York and along the southern New England coast through Wednesday night feeding off of a strong horizontal temperature gradient, with widespread 60 and 70 degree weather to its south and arctic air poised over southern Canada. Initially, however, enough mild air from the 11th lingered over eastern New York and western New England to support mainly rain through Wednesday morning in most areas along and south of the Mohawk river to southern Vermont on south. Colder air across northern areas generally supported heavy snow (snowfall rates of 1"-2" per hour common,) with only brief intrusions of sleet at times, as warmer air from the intensifying storm worked into the region aloft. And it was this warming aloft, along with a period of mid level drying (towards evening) which ultimately governed the degree and location of the snow vs. the icy mixed precipitation vs the rain.

With strong low pressure tracking just south of the region, a strong northerly flow of air was induced over the upstate (gusts frequently to 25 mph) which effectively caused significant low level cooling, while simultaneously warming was occurring aloft due to the storm's mid level circulation. This set up allowed rain to continue to fall well into the evening from the Mohawk valley, Capital Region to southern Vermont. This rain, however, was falling on sub-freezing surfaces (Albany's temperature dropped to 32° at 2pm and then into the 20s by the late afternoon to around 20° by midnight) allowing for a mult-hour period of moderate freezing rain, which eventually changed to a heavy wind blown sleet after 8-9pm, then to light snow. The mix line dropped south across the Catskills, mid Hudson valley, and Berkshire County through midnight as a pocket of mid level dry air worked into the region causing the precipitation to become lighter and more intermittent in nature, which somewhat limited freezing rain and sleet accumulations across these southern areas.

By midnight the bulk majority of the heavy 10"-18" snow accumulation had occurred over the north country, with only small amounts of snow, on the order of a couple of inches, in the Mohawk valley to Saratoga Springs and northern Bennington County, which fell during the morning. Largely no snow fell across the remainder of the region by midnight, only sleet.

The storm's parent upper level low pressure system remained a progressive open wave which, coupled with the fast forward speed of the system and the mid level drying which had occurred earlier in the night, tended to limit the degree of snow associated as the feature moved across the area through noon on Thursday. This lack of organized snow on the western side of the storm is what limited the amount of snow accumulation in areas from the Mohawk river on south, through the Capital Region and southern Vermont. However, small bands, and bandlets of snow in this deformation zone did develop during the pre-dawn hours of the 13th which did lead to localized snow accumulations of up to 4". Very fine light snow persisted into the afternoon on Thursday with no additional accumulation in the region after 8am.

Wind gusts up to 40 mph were common through the Thursday afternoon with air temperatures across the region generally only climbing into the teens. Wind chills at Albany ranged from 0° to -10° through the day, bitter by any standards, let alone the middle of March.

WeatherNet 6 Snowfall Distribution Map
March 12-13, 2014

Storm Total Snowfall March 12-13, 2014 

WeatherNet 6 Storm Total Snowfall Reports
March 12-13, 2014

Town County Snowfall Report Town County Snowfall Report
Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 1.0" Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 0.5"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 2.6" Clarksburg, MA Berkshire 1.0"
Knox Albany 2.2" Newtonville Albany 3.5"
Cohoes Albany 3.0" Glenmont Albany 3.5"
Latham Albany 3.5" Altamont Albany 2.0"
Chatham Center Columbia 3.0" Chatham Columbia 3.0"
Austerlitz Columbia 2.0" North Chatham Columbia 3.0"
Kinderhook Columbia 2.0" Ancramdale Columbia 0.8"
Ephratah Fulton 1.5" Broadalbin Fulton 2.3"
Gloversville Fulton 3.0"      
Catskill Greene Trace Durham Greene 0.6"
Halcott Greene 0.5" Jewett Greene 1.0"
Ashland Greene Trace Halcott Center Greene Trace
Greenville Greene 0.5"      
Wells Hamilton 13.3" Hoffmeister Hamilton 13.5"
Piseco Hamilton 12.5"      
St. Johnsville Montgomery 2.0" Glen Montgomery 1.6"
Fonda Montgomery 1.5" to 1.9" Amsterdam Montgomery 1.6" to 3.0"
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 1.8" Stone Ridge Montgomery 1.2"
Hessville Montgomery 1.6"      
Worcester Otsego 1.0" Oneonta Otsego 0.5"
E. Worcester Otsego 1.2" Cooperstown Otsego 2.0"
Cherry Valley Otsego 3.5"      
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 4.0" Grafton Rensselaer 5.0"
Speigletown Rensselaer 3.5"      
Charlton Saratoga 1.0" Hadley Saratoga 12.5"
Malta Saratoga 4.0" Wilton Saratoga 6.5"
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 4.3" Milton Saratoga 3.5"
Lake Desolation Saratoga 8.0"      
Duanesburg Schenectady 1.0" to 1.5" Princetown Schenectady 4.0"
Scotia Schenectady 1.0"      
Summit Schoharie 2.0" to 3.0" Jefferson Schoharie 2.0"
Middleburgh Schoharie 1.3" Charlotteville Schoharie 1.5"
Sharon Springs Schoharie 1.0" Huntersland Schoharie 1.5"
Fulton Schoharie 0.9" Seward Schoharie 1.0"
Highmount Ulster 1.0" Saugerties Ulster 0.1"
Claryville Ulster Trace Phoenicia Ulster Trace
Esopus Ulster Trace      
Warrensburg Warren 15.0" to 17.0" Queensbury Warren 10.5"
Brant Lake Warren 13.8" Lake Luzerne Warren 10"
Cossayuna Washington 5.0" Hudson Falls Washington


Woodford, VT Bennington 4.0" Landgrove, VT Bennington 13.0"
Danby, VT Rutland 9.5" West Rutland, VT Rutland 18.0"

Ice Accumulation Distribution
March 12, 2014

Ice Accumulation Distribution March 12, 2014