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Looking back

The October Surprise snow storm of 2006 gets top billing in a recent Weatherwise article talking about the top national snow events of the 2006-2007 winter.

Only the first few paragraphs of the article reviewing the snow season are available online to non-subscribers, but in that opening, the first thing mentioned is the unseasonable nature of "a tree-toppling event with more than 20 inches of snow near Buffalo, New York, in mid-October."

The article is in the magazine's annual Almanac issue, which looks back at the weather year past. The main article, which is available in its entirety on the site, is a comprehensive, but not particularly long look at the world's most notable weather events of 2007.

--- John F. Bonfatti

Snowfall totals

At the top of Tuesday's snowfall totals was, once again, Perrysburg, that northwest Cattaraugus locale at the top of the Chautauqua Ridge that historically gets a lot of snow. It got 13 inches.

Next was Mayville, in Chautauqua County, with 11. Most of the area received between four and seven inches.

--- John F. Bonfatti

Heaviest Snowfall North and East

   Hard to believe as snow fills the air throughout Western New York, but we'll escape the heaviest hit from this jumbo-sized storm.

   As the storm sweeps toward New England and eastern Canada, the heavier snowfalls will be to the north and east of us. Some spots in Northern New York are forecast to get up to 16 inches, while some of the mountain areas in northern New England could see more than two feet.

   In downtown Buffalo at mid-afternoon, there looked to be about three inches on the ground. Snow into the night is supposed to add another three to five inches, although forecast models indicate there could be some lake effect off Lake Ontario tomorrow afternoon. The models place most of that snow east of Rochester.

--- John F. Bonfatti

Flood Outlook

The National Weather Service on Friday issued its latest bi-weekly flood outlook for the area, which is calling for near normal conditions over the next few weeks.

In general, snow coverage was thin and snow water content below normal in Western New York. We've had frequent changes from cold to mild this winter, and as a result, the ground frost level is not too deep (six inches to a foot).

The outlook predicts a continuation of the hot-and-cold weather we've had this winter, with long periods of below normal temperatures punctuated by brief warm-ups with mixed precipitation or rain.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Weather Sites: Weatherbase.com

Thoughts of sunny, warmer days - shorts and short sleeves weather - inevitably creep into my mind this time of the year.

Online, I find myself traveling to places like Bora Bora via Webcam and pricing out the cost of a mini-vacation in Florida  www.kayak.com.

Or I check out weatherbase.com for four easy steps to a vacation destination that meets your climatological criteria. Select the month you're going, what temperature range you want the weather and what your geographical preferences are and it will spit out places that meet your criteria and what kind of weather to expect.

Then I realize I don't have the money to actually go somewhere warm and sunny.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Sunglasses, So You Can Be Cool

Sunshine, that rarest of winter sights in these parts, greeted most of Western New York this morning.

I cleaned the dust off my sunglasses, slipped them on, and suddenly, the 18-degree reading on my thermometer seemed more like 68. All right, maybe more like 48.

Which makes me wonder: is there such a thing as a psychological Real Feel?

Brush That Car

A few years ago, less than a month after I bought a new car, I pulled into a convenience store, behind a car whose driver didn't bother to clear off the foot of snow covering the roof and, more importantly, the back window of his car.

The driver began backing up, slowly. I beeped once. He continued. I beeped twice. He kept coming, slowly, and I leaned on the horn - until he backed into the passenger side door of my car.

I'm not a "car person," but I'll admit I was a little miffed by the dent he put in the car, considering it was still "new" in my eyes. The driver said he heard the horn, but kept backing up anyway. Of course, had he cleared his rear window, he could have actually looked back and seen who was beeping, and where that person was.

He apologized but I couldn't help saying, "You really need to clear the window before you start driving."

I was reminded of that incident this morning as I drove to work and noticed how many drivers hadn't bothered to clear their rear windows, or for that matter, the snow anywhere on their car except the narrow slit from which they peered out of their windshield.

Do yourself - and those drivers around you - a favor. Invest a couple of dollars in a brush - and take the minute or two it takes to clear your car of snow before you go.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Tough going

Persistent snow and high winds are creating difficult driving conditions south of Buffalo, and that situation should continue through the evening.

Trooper Carl Lis of the State Police in Fredonia reported "a lot of whiteouts" in northern Chautauqua County, although there were no accidents to report as of noon.

"It's pretty ugly driving out there," he said. "Obviously, everything's slowed down."

National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Sage said what was originally a fairly narrow snow band has broadened, one of the reasons why the weather service extended its Lake Effect Snow Advisory into Wyoming County this morning.

If you're planning to go out and about later, take it easy. It you've been out and about in the heavy snow areas, drop a line to let us know what you experienced.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Iced up

   The latest assessment of Lake Erie's ice coverage, from the National Ice Center, shows that almost all of Lake Erie is ice-covered now.

   That will serve to severely curtail any lake-effect snow in Western New York that might come from a cold pool of air currently in place over us. But with Lake Ontario remaining relatively open, the area from roughly Rochester to Oswego is expected to get two to four inches tonight.

   The overnight lows tonight will dip into the low teens to near 10, but Sunday, a brief fling with some warm southerly air will lift tempertures into the 40s.

-- John F. Bonfatti

Snowball battle

With snow forecast for pretty much all of upstate, all five cities in the Golden Snowball derby will get a chance to pad their totals today.

As of Monday, Syracuse led with 71 inches, which is nearly six inches below normal. Next is Rochester at 66.3 inches (a little more than two inches below normal), followed by Buffalo at 58.7 inches. Binghamton and Albany bring up the rear.

It may be hard to believe as you watch the snow fly this afternoon and evening, but Buffalo is almost a foot behind our normal snowfall total for this point in the winter.

-- John F. Bonfatti

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