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with Scott Hetsko, Chief Meteorologist


Our weather blog brings you expert perspective on the latest weather news. Our weather experts share the inside scoop with blog entries from the studio and from the field. Check out the latest weather news and storm coverage in our most recent blog entries.

Friday, January 23

"Woah, we're halfway there"...but are we living on a prayer?

Written by: Stacey Pensgen

Sorry, I'm a big Bon Jovi fan. We're getting to the point where we're halfway through the snowy season, and many snow lovers are wondering when winter will begin?! I know Matt just posted a new blog yesterday, but this will either get snow lovers excited, or really, really...not excited. Here are a few stats on where we have been, and where we're going (historically) in Rochester.

First, the "bad" news: typically, in years where our January snowfall has been lacking, we struggle to make it to 70-80" of snow, with 100"+ nearly impossible. I said nearly:

There were the least snowy Januarys since 2000. Lots more data out  there. This is just a sampling.

Now onto the "good" news: as Scott showed us, the February-March period has the potential to be quite snowy around these parts. With the lakes (especially Erie) having the tendency to freeze over and limit lake effect later in the winter, it stands to reason that the majority (not all, Lake Ontario still contributes a bit) of snow comes from synoptic systems. Similarly, these are the snowiest February-March periods since 2000:
Something to focus on: 2008 showed up in both of those statistics. We had a relatively  non-snowy January, but  made up for it in February and March with nearly 4 feet of snow, and ended up with a 100"+ season.

So, you can either look at the rest of the winter in one of two ways: The glass is half empty in the sense that January was kind of a dud, and the rest of the season will follow. Or half full - we may still have quite a bit of snow to come. You and I both know there is no way to predict storms months out or weeks out, even a few days out in some instances! The stats are in front of you - decide how you want to look at them! Have a wonderful weekend and a frigid next week :)

Thursday, January 22


We've had no shortage of cold air so far this month but snow has been hard to come by.

Each blast of cold that has moved into western New York has been accompanied by strong high pressure and very dry air limiting any lake response and the amount of snow that we've seen.

As we head toward the weekend, a strong Nor'Easter will rapidly intensify as it moves northeast along the coast. A band of heavy snow will set up on the northwest side of this powerful storm and right now, it looks like some of the major cities including New York and Boston will be in line to see heavy snow and strong winds Saturday into Sunday.

Unfortunately for snow lovers in western New York, this storm will move too far east to have any impact on us. Instead, we'll focus our attention on a cold front approaching from the west. As this front moves through late Saturday afternoon, a few snow showers will develop and as colder air arrives on Sunday, some lake enhanced snow will be a possibility.

Another storm system will develop over the Ohio Valley and slide northeast through central Pennsylvania on Monday spreading widespread light snow across the region. This will be our best opportunity of seeing accumulating snow but this too looks like a minor event. South of the Thruway and across the Southern Tier, snow could be heavier and several inches could accumulate here.

Whether we get much snow or not, frigid air will return early next week with highs struggling to climb out of the mid teens and overnight lows in the single digits.

Written By: Meteorologist Matt Jones

Tuesday, January 20


Written By:  Scott Hetsko

This will be a fun night to watch temperatures vary from hills to valleys.  Virtually no wind under a clear sky and dry air will all work together to optimize radiational cooling overnight.  Maximum heat loss occurs near the ground so when air doesn't mix much, the temperature can vary several degrees in just a few blocks!

We saw this last week when temperatures plummeted to -9 in Rochester and -20 or more in some protected higher elevation valleys in Ontario county.  While I don't expect that kind of chill, many will start Tuesday in the single digits!

Friday, January 16

Same Old, Same Old...

Written by: Stacey Pensgen

Our winter has been characterized by quick, but somewhat intense blasts of arctic air. With each one, we tend to get a few inches of snow (at best), along with gusty winds. Despite the lack of several (we did have at least one decent) respectable sized snowstorms, we are only 7" below average for the season, not including Friday morning's snow. I know many are still looking for the "big one"...I don't see it happening in the next week. We may see some limited lake snow following Sunday's system that should pass by to the east. So, we will continue to nickel and dime. The pictures below are Sunday evening's weather from both the NAM and Weatherbell's Euro. Both systems keep heaviest precip east. Sorry, folks! Something else to keep in mind, while still a factor to a limited extend, Lake Erie ice cover has increased significantly during this last arctic blast, keeping lake effect off of Erie under control.

Tuesday, January 13


Written By:  Scott Hetsko

January's been generally cold, so far we are more than 3 degrees below the average.  Other than the usual lake effect snow that follows cold fronts, there hasn't been much snow since early December.  The reason for that is shown above which represents our general upper level flow over the past few weeks.  A broad Eastern trough has been dominant over the Northeast which is great in supplying fresh cold air but awful for generation of any meaningful storms.  Alberta clippers will only get you so far.

February and March are statistically better for producing significant Nor'Easters but each season is different.  It has been my expectation that Rochester would exceed 100" this Winter.  So far only 35" has fallen through today so we'll need a couple of strong storms to reach that number.

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