Nov. 16 storm pushes month's snow totals way above average
If it felt and looked like last month was snowier than the typical November in Allegany and Steuben counties, that’s because it was — by a large margin.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is still adding up all the November data from its Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) — weather observations generated by thousands of volunteers on farms and in urban and suburban areas, national parks, seashores, and mountaintops — but the verdict is already in: November 2018 snow totals buried most other recent Novembers under an avalanche of, well, snow.
“I would definitely say it was way above average,” said Jim Mitchell, a Buffalo-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Snowfall was up in most regions of Allegany County, from typically snowy Rushford, which received 28.1 inches of the white stuff in November, to Wellsville, recipient of 16.1 inches, and Whitesville, which received 17.4 inches.
Rushford — along with other northwestern Allegany County towns — “will get clipped by the Lake Effect snow” from time to time, Mitchell noted, but that wasn’t what was going on last month, according to the Weather Service.
“No it wasn’t lake effect (snow),” said Binghamton-based NWS meteorologist Joanne LaBounty. “It was just a system that came out of the Southwest and moved northeast and brought with it a stripe of pretty good snow across parts of Pennsylvania into upstate New York with the colder air that we had.”
The result was 26 inches of snow falling in West Almond, 25.6 inches in Alfred and 23.5 inches in Angelica during the month.
Recent years have not been nearly as snowy. Back in November 2015, West Almond received a paltry 2 inches of snow. Alfred got 7.1 inches of snow last November, and 4.9 inches in November 2016.
Hornell was a Steuben County snow champ, with observers at the Hornell Dam reporting 21.3 inches fell during the month. And what about Hornell’s 30-year average snowfall for November? It’s 3.5 inches.
Elsewhere in Steuben County, 15.6 inches of snow fell on Corning in November. Corning’s average November snowfall is 4 inches.
Addison received 18.3 inches of snow during the month, compared to its 30-year average of 1.9 inches in November.
Blame an early season winter storm that moved across the area Nov. 15-16. The storm produced widespread heavy snowfall which mixed at times with sleet and freezing rain.
“(In Hornell) it looks like the most was 12 inches on the 16th,” LaBounty confirmed. “Other than that, it was kind of smaller amounts, two inches on (Nov. 13). The rest are all half-inch to an inch type amounts.”
Take away Nov. 16 and most observation posts would have reported totals closer to their November averages, the meteorologists said.
According to trained NWS spotters and amateur radio reports, snow totals on Nov. 16 included 15.5 inches in Wallace, 12 inches in Canisteo, 10.5 inches in Bath, 10.5 inches in Corning and 12.1 inches in Avoca.
Is a snowy November a harbinger of an extra snowy winter? According to LaBounty, the answer is probably not.
“Sometimes a pattern will stay in place for quite a while, like a cold pattern. It could be a few weeks and then things will flip, but you don’t know how long it will flip for,” LaBounty said. “It looks like it will be warming up briefly, but then we might get cold again toward the end of the month into early January.
“Just because November was snowy or cold doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stay that way. Patterns will be persistent, but they won’t usually stay locked in for that long of a time, like the entire winter.”