Wednesday-Thursday, March 7-8, 2018
Major Nor' easter


The storm dropped another snow bomb on the region with extraordinary accumulations of 20"-30" again occurring with the epicenter this time in the mid Hudson valley, Berkshires, and southern Vermont, vs. the western Catskills and Schoharie County where it was with the previous storm only a short five days earlier on Friday March 2. To say the least the back to back nor 'easters delivered a big psychological blow to those hoping spring might come early.

Through March 8, the two storm cumulative snow total at Albany was 23.8", 11.9" on the 2nd, and interestingly, also 11.9" from the 7-8th. This total, coming in only the first eight days of March, was just a little shy, by 1.1", of the total snow that fell in the months of December and January combined at Albany, which was 24.9". But it was in communities in Dutchess, Columbia, Bennington, Berkshire, and Litchfield counties that got clocked with that much accumulation in just this event, buried under as much as 15"-25” of dense, wet snow with localized amounts in higher elevation areas of Bennington and Berkshire counties suffocated by as much as 25" to 36”.

Adams, MA (Berkshire County) - Part of the Snow Bomb Epicenter
Snow accumulation of of 34" - Photograph contributed by Paul and Mary Burler via email to CBS6

Buried under thirty four inches of snow in Adams, MA, photograph on March 8, 2018

Narrow, but intense, either slow moving or quasi-stationary snow bands were the culprit for the excessive snow, just as was the case with the storm on the 2nd. But, with a smaller and more compact circulation with this storm and a track just a little further east, vs. the storm on the 2nd, the intense banding was not able to push as far west into the region with the western edge of the most intense snow falling just short of the Hudson river. Less intense and more transient bandlets of heavy snow, however, were able to spiral deeper into the region and were responsible for the moderate to heavy snow accumulations of 6 ”-10” which occurred on average across the eastern Catskills, Capital Region, eastern Mohawk valley on north through Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls and Warrensburg into the morning on the 8th.  Much lighter accumulations of 3”-6” on average occurred across the western Catskills and the Adirondacks with this region on the far western edge of the storm.

The storm evolved through a classic energy transfer to the coast from a large slow moving Midwest circulation which pushed a weakening surface storm into Michigan.  It was the eastern extension of this system that caused the initial rounds of light snow that broke out across the region between midnight and 3am on the 7th and continued through the morning.

A disturbance and strong moisture plume, with connections into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, was simultaneously moving up along the mid Atlantic coast and ultimately developed into the nor 'easter as the upper system from the Midwest closed in it.  A period of rapid intensification occurred through the afternoon, noted by periods of thunder snow along coastal Long Island and southern New England, with the storm peaking out early in the evening.  Unlike the storm on the 2nd, which was a meteorological bomb due to how rapidly it intensified, this one was not quite as strong nor did it intensify to the same extent but it was formidable nevertheless. After peaking, the system slowly tracked to the east, south of New England, before curling north into and through the Gulf of Maine and then into northern New England through Thursday the 8th. Because of strong blocking at the jet stream, this storm was not able to move out to sea quickly, which is predecessor was able to do, and thus resulted in a longer duration snowfall, spanning from a start between midnight and 3am on the 7th with accumulating snow falling into the morning of the 8th and scattered lighter snows and snow showers, especially in upslope areas of the Adirondacks and Vermont, through Thursday afternoon. The period of heaviest and most widespread snowfall, however, occurred roughly from noon through 9pm on the 7th with additional bands of snow developing on the western periphery of the circulation in the Hudson valley and across western New England between 11pm on the 7th through 7am on the 8th resulting in up to an additional 3” of snow in the Capital Region on top of what had fallen on the 7th.


The intense snow bands which occurred in this zone during the height of the storm were expected and are typical in intense storms where very strong vertical lift occurs in the atmosphere coupled with symmetric, or in other words, slantwise instabilities allowing for narrow zones of intense snowfall to develop and occur.  In this case the strongest band formed during the mid afternoon and continued into early Thursday morning due to strong flow over a mid level developing frontal zone on the western side of the storm's circulation which acted to further increase the vertical ascent in the atmosphere through a favorable snow growth layer (around -15° C mid level temperature zone) to create a narrow corridor of blinding snowfall with rates at times up to 4" per hour.

Albany Doppler Radar Base Reflectivity lowest tilt, 5:30pm March 7, 2018: Intense quasi-stationary mesoscale snow band shown extending from Dutchess County through eastern Columbia, Berkshire and southern Bennington counties with snowfall rates in the area shaded in yellow as high as 4" per hour.

Albany Doppler base reflectivity at approximately 5:30pm Wednesday March 7, 2018 showing the intense mesoscale snow band extending from southern Bennington County, Vt through Berkshire, eastern Columbia and Dutchess counties.

From a forecast standpoint, it’s generally not possible to give long lead times as to specifically where these bands and bandlets will set up or how long they will last at any one location as the features are so small in scale, sometimes as narrow as five to ten miles. When they occur and remain somewhat stationary for several hours they result in a tremendous gradient in snowfall amounts over very short horizontal distances as was the case here.

The snowfall gradient across southern Columbia County and across other parts of the mid Hudson valley was extremely tight with a twelve inch difference in snow amounts over a horizontal distance of only 7-8 miles. WeatherNet 6 spotters in Germantown and on the west side of Livingston indicated an 8" snowfall in those two locations. The amount ramped up to 12.5" on the east side of Livingston to 20.3" seven miles to the east in Taghkanic.

Tight snowfall gradient in Columbia County 

The main banding feature with this storm remained in place in the mid Hudson valley and western Berkshire county through the early to mid evening dumping excessive snows for several hours before slowly shifting to the east as the storm shifted east and then generally stalled out again over eastern Bennington and eastern Berkshire counties continuing to dump snow well past midnight on the 8th while gradually weakening. As that main band waned, another weaker one set up in the Hudson valley between 11pm and 1am persisting through the pre-dawn hours dumping anywhere from an additional 2"-4" of snow in the Hudson valley and across western New England before breaking up after daybreak.

WeatherNet 6 Snowfall Amount and Distribution Analysis of the March 7-8, 2018 Major Nor 'easter

WeatherNet 6 Observed Snowfall Distribution for the March 7-8, 2018 Storm

Albany National Weather Service March 7-8, 2018 Snowfall Analysis

Albany NWS Snowfall Analysis of the March 7-8, 2018 Event 

Although this was a slightly colder storm than the one on the 2nd negating any forecast issues with precipitation type, surface temperatures in the Capital Region through the duration generally held steady between 32° and 34° until after dark when temperatures only dropped to 31° prior to midnight. The mild surface conditions resulted in another very heavy wet snow which again brought down trees and power lines with scattered power outages throughout the region. The wind, however,remained fairly light, unlike the storm on the 2nd, so power outages were not as extensive overall.

The marginal surface temperatures coupled with the higher March sun angle allowed for mainly wet roads or roads with some slush on them through much of the day in and around the Capital Region which lead to reasonably easy travel conditions. Snow did not begin covering the roads until after dark and mainly in the heavy snow zones to the south and east of the Capital Region into western New England.

 WeatherNet Storm Total Snowfall Reports Wednesday-Thursday March 7-8, 2018

Note: Reports with an * notation are NWS relayed and not WxNet 6 spotter observations

Reports with a time notation are valid through the time indicated and are not confirmed storm totals

Town County Snowfall Report Town County Snowfall Report
Savoy, MA Berkshire 38" Pittsfield, MA* Berkshire 17.5"
Clarksburg, MA Berkshire 32" Cheshire, MA* Berkshire 31"
New Marlborough, MA Berkshire 16" Adams, MA Berkshire 34"
Peru, MA* Berkshire 20" Great Barrington, MA* Berkshire 16.2"
Albany (Official) Albany 11.9" Knox Albany 10.6"
Colonie Albany 10.5" Glenmont Albany 10"
Coeymans Hollow Albany 8.5" Delmar* Albany 10.8"
Watervliet* Albany 10"      
Taghkanic Columbia 20.3" Livingston Columbia 8" to 12.5"
Austerlitz Columbia 21.5" Germantown Columbia 8"
Chatham Columbia 18" Ancramdale Columbia 11.2"
Hillsdale* Columbia 24.5"      
Margaretville Delaware 4.8" Arkville Delaware 7.3"
Franklin Delaware 5" Denver Delaware 6"
Roxbury Delaware 6.8" to 7.3"      
Red Hook* Dutchess 15.8" LaGrange* Dutchess 15.6"
Broadalbin Fulton 6" Northville Fulton 3.3"
Gloversville Fulton 6" Perth Fulton 6"
West Kill Greene 7.5" Greenville Greene 11"
Halcott Greene 6.5" Catskill Greene 7.8"
Freehold Greene 9" (5:30pm/7th) Durham Greene 8" (5pm/7th)
South Cairo Greene 6.4" (6pm/7th)      
Wells Hamilton 5.3" Piseco Hamilton 4"
Hoffmeister Hamilton 6" (5pm/7th) Indian Lake* Hamilton 4.2"
Amsterdam Montgomery 8.3" Fonda Montgomery 6.2"
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 5" Glen Montgomery 6" (10pm/7th)
Hessville Montgomery 7" (8:30pm/7th)      
Oneonta Otsego 4.1" to 4.5" Worcester Otsego 5.5" (6pm/7th)
East Worcester Otsego 8" Cherry Valley Otsego 10"
Petersburg Rensselaer 20" Speigletown Rensselaer 12.3"
Averill Park* Rensselaer 12.9" Buskirk* Rensselaer 13"
East Schodack* Rensselaer 12.4" Troy* Rensselaer 10.4"
Clifton Park (Oaks) Saratoga 10.5" Edinburg Saratoga 4"
Lake Desolation Saratoga 10.3" Saratoga Springs Saratoga 15.1"
Round Lake* Saratoga 12" Jonesville* Saratoga 12"
Malta* Saratoga 10.4"      
Rotterdam Schenectady 8.2" Duanesburg Schenectady 7"
Delanson Schenectady 9.5" (9pm/7th) Glenville Schenectady 7" (6pm/7th)
Niskayuna* Schenectady 9"      
Richmondville Schoharie 8.5" Jefferson Schoharie 7.5"
Huntersland Schoharie 10.7" Gilboa Schoharie 6" (11pm/7th)
Schoharie Schoharie 6.5" (11pm/7th) Middleburgh Schoharie 5" (6pm/7th)
Charlotteville Schoharie 6" (5:30pm/7th)      
Ulster Park Ulster 10.5" Saugerties Ulster 5.5"
Phoenicia Ulster 8.2" Kingston Ulster 8"
West Shokan Ulster 8" Whiteport Ulster 7.5" (5pm/7th)
Esopus Ulster 7" (5pm/7th) Highland* Ulster 21"
Warrensburg Warren 9.5" Lake Luzerne Warren 7.5"
Glens Falls* Warren 9" North Creek* Warren 7.2"
Hudson Falls Washington 7.5" Cambridge* Washington 8.6"
Hartford* Washington 6.1"      
Landgrove, VT Bennington 29.2" Woodford, VT Bennington 36"
Wilmington, VT Windham 25" Manchester, VT Bennington 15"
Pawlet, VT Rutland 7" Danby, VT Rutland 8"
Searsburg, VT* Bennington 32.5"      

Heavy snow in Old Chatham, Columbia County - Photograph contributed via facebook by Keith Crossman - 18"

Heavy snow in Old Chatham, Columbia County, March 7, 2018

Photograph contributed by Scott Moyer - Hinsdale, MA Berkshire County at 4:00am on Thursday March 8

Deep snow in Hinsdale, MA, Berkshire County March 8, 2018

Photograph Contributed by WeatherNet 6 Spotter Jim Meehan - Chatham Columbia County, 18"-22 " of heavy wet snow creating post card like scene - Thursday March 8, 2018

Snowy scene in Chatham, Columbia County March 8, 2018 

Photograph Contributed via Facebook by JD Frederick - Drone shot over snow covered Rotterdam, Schenectady County Thursday March 8, 2018

Drone shot over snow covered Rotterdam, Schenectady County March 8, 2018

 Photograph Contributed via facebook by Deb Plantier - Richmond, MA Berkshire County, 7:45pm March 7, 2018, 14" and snowing at the time

Deep snow in Richmond, MA, Berkshire County - March 7, 2018