Snowfall Derby 2011 – White Christmas

by Mark on December 15, 2010

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know

I hear Bing Crosby crooning as another foot of snow from a Midwestern storm lands on 28” of existing white stuff. With ten days to go a White Christmas is a ‘slam dunk.’ Not necessarily!

One might think snowland does not worry about frozen soft landings for Santa’s sleigh. Snow on Christmas only occurred about 60% of the time in our quarter century in Rochester, New York. Too many Christmas Eves are spent lighting luminaries in a slushy drizzle.

Early winter is volatile with big snow storms followed by thaws. The problem comes from living on Lake Ontario with moderate tmperature ranges from the teens to the 30’s. It takes a long time for the lake to freeze. Moisture rising from the unfrozen Ontario surface is hit by some arctic Canadian air, and we get dumped on by lake effect snow. A warmer weather pattern, rising from the south, will quickly melt the accumulated snow into a slushy mess. Once Ontario freezes, overall temperatures drop, and we average about an inch of snow per day through late March – sometimes April.

Syracuse jumped ahead of us in the snowfall derby with 50.” By sitting the farthest east on Ontario, they are regularly crushed by lake effect snow. Rochester is second with 41.2,” two feet above normal. Buffalo is slipping and sliding at 27.9.”

The current storm is very cold with sub-zero wind-chill temperatures. Perhaps Lake Ontario will freeze early. Maybe low temperatures will keep the snow intact until the 25th. I am taking no chances. I pulled our Snow Village out of storage. The porcelain buildings shine on the soft cotton with no worries of thaws or lake effects.

May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

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