Major Snow Storm
February 2, 2015

This was the largest regional snow storm of the season to date with a widespread uniform snowfall distribution of 10" - 14" on average with some pockets of both higher and lower amounts with the snow largely falling on Monday February 2, 2015. It was a particularly cold storm, passing to the region's south, it effectively induced a strong northerly cold air drainage flow which the Hudson valley enhanced allowing low level arctic air over northern New York and New England to move into the region during the overnight period prior to and during the snowfall. Temperatures dropped to 5° at Albany early in the morning and only briefly climbed to a high of 12° before plunging to -1° prior to midnight as the storm moved away. The degree of cold supported snow to water ratios of approximately 15:1, meaning 1" of liquid water would roughly translate into 15" of snow. To say the least, the snow was quite dry, light and fluffy. Had the thermal profiles with the storm been warmer, snowfall totals would have been less than the widespread 10"-14" which were observed as liquid equivalent precipitation with the system generally ranged from 0.65" to 1.00"

Photographer: WeatherNet 6 weather watcher Jim Meehan: Postcard scene in Chatham Center, Columbia County February 2, 2015

Postcard Chatham Center Scene during the height of the snow storm on February 2, 2015


Set-Up/Storm Character:
This was a fairly unremarkable and standard "Midwest Flyer" type storm originating across the central plains states as a strong disturbance in the northern branch of the jet stream interacted with a baroclinic zone (temperature contrast zone) splitting a cold northern tier United States from a somewhat milder south. The system intensified along the temperature contrast zone, quickly moving east, passing south of Chicago on the 1st, where lake enhancement aided in producing a 19" snowfall there with blizzard conditions in wind gusts to 50 mph. The storm ultimately moved across central Pennsylvania early Monday morning on the 2nd to a position near New York City, crossing Long Island before finally redeveloping near Cape Cod and the Island before rapidly intensifying east of New England as it moved away Monday night. The parent upper level low pressure trough driving the entire system remained open and quite progressive, coupled with a lack of any blocking at the jet stream level to the system's east, allowing the storm's quick eastward movement.

Considerable cold dry air over the region on Sunday February 1 prevented much of any snow from falling with the storm prior to midnight, although some nuisance very fine light snow did break out from west to east across the region between 8pm and 10pm leaving up to 1" of accumulation in some higher elevation locations west of the Hudson valley and a thin coating throughout much of the remainder of the region by midnight. Steadier and heavier snow developed between midnight and 3am with snowfall rates increasing to 1" and occasionally 2" per hour through the morning drive time when rapid accumulations of snow occurred in the very cold environment. Snow continued at varying intensity through the late morning and early afternoon with some drying working into the western Catskills and Schoharie County towards noon. Additional moderate to heavy snowfall developed in the Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and Hudson valley area from the mid afternoon through the early evening as the upper level trough crossed the area, interacting with some moisture throwback from the now intensifying coastal storm near Cape Cod. Snowfall rates briefly ramped back up again to 1"/hour for a couple of hours throughout the Capital Region before quickly decreasing through the evening.

A weak Mohawk-Hudson convergence occurred during the evening due to a northerly flow coming down the Hudson valley converging with more of a westerly wind in the Mohawk valley to prolong some very fine light snow through roughly 10pm with the storm ending everywhere at that time. A gusty wind ranging from 10-20 mph, briefly in gusts to 25 mph, occurred in the wake of the system through the early portions of the night causing blowing snow and wind chills to range from -10° to -20° at times. The wind dropped towards daybreak on the 3rd, which coupled with the deep new snow pack allowed for some radiational cooling and a subsequent plunge in temperatures to between -5° and -12° on average and as low as -27° in some of the colder pockets across the southern Adirondacks, including the Glens Falls airport where a -27° reading was observed.

Photograph Posted to Facebook by Jessica Bradley Ruso: Deep snow in Gloversville, Fulton County, 1pm February 2, 2015

Snowfall in Gloversville, Fulton County at 1pm on February 2, 2015


Photograph Posted to Facebook by Cindy Brightly Hilscher: A snowy scene in Pittsfield, MA during the storm 2/2/2015

A snowy Pittsfield, MA scene during the storm, February 2, 2015 


WeatherNet 6 Observed Snowfall Distribution for the February 2, 2015 Storm

WeatherNet 6 Observed Snowfall Distribution for the February 1-2, 2015 Storm 

The snowfall distribution across the region with this storm was unusually uniform as terrain influences were lessened due to the configuration of the winds and the fast forward motion of the storm coupled with a lack of significant small scale banding which is more common in stronger storms both at the surface and aloft as compared to this system.  Slightly lower amounts of snow were observed in parts of extreme southern Columbia, Dutchess, and Litchfield counties as a brief period of sleet mixed in with the snow as the low center was passing directly south of the region. Slightly reduced snowfall also occurred across far northern portions of the Adirondacks into Rutland County, VT as this region was on the northern fringe of the snow shield.

WeatherNet Storm Total Snowfall Reports for February 2, 2015

Town County Snowfall Report Town County Snowfall Report
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 13.2" Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 10" to 13"
Savoy, MA Berkshire 12.9"      
           
Guilderland Albany 16.5" Newtonville Albany 13.7"
Latham Albany 14.2" Colonie Albany 12.2"
Cohoes Albany 13.2" Knox Albany 12"
Ravena Albany 13" Voorheesville Albany 13.3"
Watervliet Albany 12" Coeymans Hollow Albany 11"
Glenmont Albany 9.5"      
           
Kinderhook Columbia 9.8" to 12" Chatham Center Columbia 13"
Livingston Columbia 11.8" Ancramdale Columbia 8.7"
Austerlitz Columbia 13" Germantown Columbia 9"
Taghkanic Columbia 10.3" Craryville Columbia 12"
           
Stamford Delaware 9" Margaretville Delaware 12"
Arkville Delaware 11.3"      
           
Pine Plains Dutchess 8.5"      
           
Gloversville Fulton 14" Broadalbin Fulton 14.3"
Johnstown Fulton 17" Perth Fulton 12"
Fish House Fulton 12"      
           
Durham Greene 11" to 12.5" South Cairo Greene 12"
Greenville Greene 15" Halcott Center Greene 12"
Freehold Greene 13" Kiskatom Greene 11.8"
Halcott Greene 12" Round Top Greene 11"
Cairo Greene 12.5" to 14" Catskill Greene 11" to 12"
Haines Falls Greene 12" Ashland Greene 11"
Norton Hill Greene 15" Purling Greene 13.5"
           
Hoffmeister Hamilton 14.8" Wells Hamilton 15.3"
Indian Lake Hamilton 10" Piseco Hamilton 10.5"
           
Amsterdam Montgomery 11" to 12.5" Fonda Montgomery 13" to 13.8"
Glen Montgomery 12.5" Palatine Bridge Montgomery 11.5"
Hessville Montgomery 10.2" Stone Ridge Montgomery 11.8"
Florida Montgomery 13"      
           
Oneonta Otsego 12.7" Cherry Valley Otsego 10.5"
Worcester Otsego 9.5" E. Worcester Otsego 8"
Decatur Otsego 12.5"      
           
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 11.3" Brunswick Rensselaer 11"
Speigletown Rensselaer 11.5" Grafton Rensselaer 12"
Lansingburgh Rensselaer 11.8" Schaghticoke Rensselaer 11.7"
           
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 12" Milton Saratoga 12" to 12.7"
Charlton Saratoga 15" Saratoga Springs Saratoga 12" to 14.7"
Ballston Spa Saratoga 13.5" Lake Desolation Saratoga 12.6"
Hadley Saratoga 12.5" Malta Saratoga 13"
           
Delanson Schenectady 16" Princetown Schenectady 18"
Scotia Schenectady 12" Duanesburg Schenectady 10" to 12"
           
Jefferson Schoharie 13" Huntersland Schoharie 12" to 12.7"
Richmondville Schoharie 12.5" Charlotteville Schoharie 11.5"
Summit Schoharie 10" Middleburgh Schoharie 11.8"
Seward Schoharie 12"      
           
Ulster Park Ulster 12" Kingston Ulster 10.5"
New Paltz Ulster 9.8" Phoenicia Ulster 10.2"
Whiteport Ulster 9.5" Saugerties Ulster 12"
Esopus Ulster 12" Highmount Ulster 10"
West Shokan Ulster 12"      
           
Queensbury Warren 12.5" to 13" Warrensburg Warren 12"
Brant Lake Warren 8"      
           
Fort Edward Washington 11" Hudson Falls Washington 12.1"
           
Landgrove, VT Bennington 12.8" Woodford, VT Bennington 19"
Manchester, VT Bennington 13.3" Pownal, VT Bennington 14.4"
Pawlet, VT Rutland 9" West Rutland, VT Rutland 9"

Photographer: WeatherNet 6 weather watcher Jim Meehan: Buried car in the 13" snowfall in Chatham Center, 2/3/2015

Buried car in the thirteen inch snowfall in Chatham Center, Columbia County, February 3, 2015