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Snowmageddon 2017

It snows a lot in our area near Erie, Pennsylvania – we average around 101 inches per year, second in the nation for major cities over 100,000 in population behind Syracuse. Other well-known cities more often thought of as snowy and wintry are distant also-rans – Denver (a paltry 53.5 inches on average), Green Bay (a mere 53.9 inches on average), Minneapolis/St. Paul (only 55.5 inches), Salt Lake City (a tropical 56.5 inches), and Anchorage, AK ( a credible but still lowly 75.6 inches). This winter, though, even by our standards, have been kicked up a notch and our Christmas present from the weather gods was Snowmageddon 2017. Heavy snows started Christmas Eve and by the end of Boxing Day 36 hours later there were 63 inches of snow on the ground. Snows continued throughout the week between Christmas and New Years and by the end of that week 83.8 inches of snow (0.2 inches shy of 7 feet!) were on the ground. So far this winter we are at 143.8 inches of snow, crushing Syracuse, so maybe, just maybe, this year we have a shot to take #1!  

We’re a winter hearty lot and wouldn’t even think of soiling ourselves until maybe 80 inches of snow falls in two days but this event did furrow some brows and tingle some bladders. Despite the disruption, it was beautiful and a really nice blanket for the grapes protecting them against any supercold Bombogenetic Arctic Vortices that may come. Once we get beyond the third week in February our chances of getting hit with disastrously cold temperatures are greatly reduced and the heavy snow staying on the ground is kind of like an insurance policy. Incidentally, the heaviest hitters in the snowfall sweepstakes - Erie, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Grand Rapids - are all cities on or near the Great Lakes receiving westerly air moving across their lake which creates conditions for famous “Lake Effect” snows. These snows happen typically in November and December when winter air moves across the not yet frozen over and still comparatively warm lakes and picks up moisture and warms in temperature. When this warmer air reaches land it collides with the colder, heavier air sitting on the land and is forced rapidly upward to elevations where the moisture can crystallize, creating snow. This air cools rapidly as it moves onto land and quickly drops back down to below moisture crystallization elevations, significantly reducing its ability to generate snow. This is why “Lake Effect” snows are typically concentrated in narrow bands along the lake shore.

See our Snowmageddon 2017 Slideshow below!


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