2016-2017 Named Winter Storm Summaries

Winter Storm Argos

November 17-21, 2016 – The First Named Winter Storm of the Season, huge snowfall totals across Upstate New York.

Winter Storm Argos was a 2-stage snowstorm that extended from the Upper Midwest through the Northeast. Stage I dropped several inches of snow across the Upper Midwest, especially northern Minnesota.  Stage II however, was a real blockbuster for parts of Upstate New York. The slow moving system took a perfect track up the Eastern Seaboard to produce an extended period of heavy snow to the west of its track, right over places like Binghamton, NY, where they recorded 27.6” of snow over a 3-day timeframe.  That was good enough for the heaviest snowstorm of record going back to 1905.  The big winner however was Redfield, NY, a place usually noted for lake-effect snow.  Along that same swath of heavier snowfall as Binghamton, Redfield got some extra orographic lift to produce an exception amount of 54.5” of snow !!

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Winter Storm Blanche

November 27-December 6, 2016 – Western storm that brought enormous snowfall to parts of the Northern Plains. Phase II clipped far Northern Maine

Blanche began its lifecycle across the Inter-mountain West where higher elevations received several inches of snow.  However, once it came off the Rockies, it rapidly deepened, in fact so deep that it set a record for the month of November with a central pressure of 28.77”, recorded at Gwinner, ND.  To the west of the track, as much as 62” of snow was reported at Elk Mountain, WY with over 2 ft. in parts of the Dakotas.  The second phase developed over the northeast and tracked just east of Maine, where 2 bouts of snow raised the snow depth at Caribou to 21.5”.

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Winter Storm Caly

December 7-12, 2016 – Long track cross-country storm, huge mountain snows, over 1,500 flight cancellations in the Midwest and Great Lakes.  Max snowfall 46.1” at Galena Summit, ID.

Caly had wide ranging impact. It was the first of several winter events for Portland, OR., when 0.75” of ice caused numerous traffic accidents.  Feet of snow were recorded across the Inter-mountain West. Major cites got hammered as well, Chicago had its biggest snow of the season with 7.8” at O’Hare, prompting over 1,200 flight cancellations. Detroit also had its biggest storm of the season with 10.7” of snow and over 200 flight cancellations.  New England also received widespread snowfall with 5 to 9“ common.  

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Winter Storm Decima

December 13-18, 2016 – Another long track cross-country storm that brought another round of ice to the Pacific Northwest, heavy mountain snows, and a continuous swath of shovelable snowfall from coast to coast.  Maximum snowfall was 35.4” at Ketchum ID.

Decima began its wrath in the Pacific Northwest where the Willamette Valley got a second round of icing that produced widespread power outages from Decima.  Portland OR had its second round of icing as well.  In addition to heavy mountain snows, extreme winds gusting as high as 121 mph buffeted the crests of The Sierra. As the system headed out across the Plains double-digit accumulations piled up from South Dakota to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Finally, the Northeast picked up several inches of snow and parts of the Mid-Atlantic saw icing conditions that contributed to a 55-car pileup on I-95 near Baltimore.

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Winter Storm Europa

December 21-26, 2016 – First major Blizzard of the season across the Plains.  Hundreds of miles of Interstate closed in the Dakotas.  Max snowfall of 32” at Mammoth Mt. California.  Tough Christmas Day and night in the Dakotas.

One to two feet of snow occurred across most of the mountainous West including Arizona and New Mexico.  Snowiest Christmas Day on record for Riverton WY (7.8”).  Winds gusted over 50mph for 5 hours straight at Rapid City SD and Bismarck ND on Christmas Evening.  At one point it was snowing at 4”/hour in South Dakota.  Along the Front Range in the Boulder Foothills winds gusted to 100 mph taking down many trees.

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Winter Storm Fortis

December 28-30, 2016 – Rapidly intensifying storm that “bombed out” as it tracked up along the New England Coast.  More than 100,000 people lost power in Maine from the combination of wind and snow.  Max snowfall 29” at Kingfield Maine.

The storm developed along the Carolina Coast then rapidly intensified, with its central pressure dropping an incredible 28 mb in 12 hours, far surpassing the requirement of 24 mb in 24 hours to be considered undergoing “bombogenesis”.  Although Boston stayed mainly rain from this storm, Interior New England saw over a foot of snow and there was a tremendous amount of thundersnow, particularly in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  

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Winter Storm Gregory

January 1-3, 2017 – Heavy mountain snows from the Pacific Northwest and northern Sierra then out across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.  Seattle gets its first significant snowfall and second highest daily snowfall of the season at 3.0”.  Maximum snowfall was reported at Mt Hood OR where 17” was reported.

The storm straddled the Canadian border as it headed east.  An Artic High over western Canada supplied plenty of cold air.  Double digit snowfalls were recorded from Washington and Oregon through Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

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Winter Storm Helena

January 3-7, 2017 – Major snowstorm for the Sierra and Inter-mountain West to start off the New Year,  then Phase II spread a swath of wintry precipitation from the Southern Plains through parts of the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic into coastal New England.  Max snowfall 56” at Boreal in Soda Springs CA.  Near blizzard conditions occurred in parts of Southern Virginia.

A combination of a Low tracking along the Southern Jet stream and an Arctic High locked in place across the Central U.S., led to a long swath of wintry precipitation across areas of the South including places like Mississippi and Alabama where 3” and 2” of snow fell.  These states also saw sleet and freezing rain.  As the Low tracked off the Southeast Coast it brought as much as 12.5” of snow to Williamsburg VA.  Finally as it tracked well east of Cape Cod, it brought 5.1” of snow to New York City and 7.2” to Boston.  Top snowfall in New England however was at East Bridgewater MA where 19.6” piled up.

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Winter Storm Iras

January 3-7, 2017 – Major snow and ice event from the Pacific Northwest through Northern and Central Sierra.  Heavy snow and wind had significant impacts on much of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Maximum snow 48” estimated at Grassy Lake snotel Wyoming.

Iras began its wrath in the Pacific Northwest where up to an inch of ice was reported, 4.5” of snow fell in Eugene OR.  Very heavy snow fell well up in the mountains with the Atlanta Summit snotel in Idaho estimating 44” and Grassy Lake snotel in Wyoming reported a whopping 48”.  Blowing snow and high winds combined to bring Southern Minnesota travel to its knees with “no travel advised” posted for much of the region on January 10th.  As the Low headed to James Bay Canada, strong west winds gusted to 67 mph at Erie PA.  Many downed trees produced power outages from Michigan to Ohio and Western New York .

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Winter Storm Jupiter

January 11-19, 2017 – One of the longest duration named winter storms in our 5-year history with coast to coast impacts from this 3-Phase system. Phase I hit the Pacific Northwest on January 10-11.  Phase II clobbered parts of the Plains on January 14-15.  Finally Phase III hit the Midwest to Northeast January 16-18.  The 3 phases were all part of the very large scale Upper Level trough that drove several pieces of energy around its base in the form of the 3-phase storm.  The maximum snow total reported was 79” at Soda Springs in The Sierra, however an estimated snow total from the Encampment at Old Battle snotel in Wyoming was an astounding 94.5”.  Finally, the series of 3 storms that ended with Jupiter brought astounding totals to the ski resorts in the Sierra where as much as 12 feet of snow was reported over a 7-day period !!

Phase I hit the West with Portland OR getting its biggest snowstorm in at least 22 years as 15.5” piled up in the metro area.  There were even reports of thundersnow in the Portland Area.  As the energy from Phase I dove south along the West Coast The Sierra were pasted with another round of heavy snow.  The storm put down over 4 feet of snow across parts of 4 western states and the heavy snowfall, on top of an already deep snowpack resulted in serious avalanche dangers.  

Phase II spun up as the system rounded the base of the Upper Level trough and moved northeast through Texas where it encountered colder air.  As moist air rose above the shallow layer of colder air, significant icing resulted from Oklahoma through Missouri to Indiana.  Up to an inch of ice was reported in parts of the High Plains from this phase of the storm causing significant tree damage and leading to widespread power outages.

Finally Phase III of the storm blanketed New England with 5-8” of snow before the system moved out to sea.  The 3 phases of Jupiter are outlined in 3 separate maps below.  

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Winter Storm Kori

January 17-25, 2017 – Another multi-phase storm that hit both coasts with heavy snowfall and significant icing.  Max snow 30” at Mammoth Mt. but as much as 2” of ice at Snowden Washington.   

The main event occurred over the West with an Atmospheric River (AR) of moisture pummeling the Sierra yet again.  Farther north, a shallow layer of cold air ensured a significant icing event  through parts of Oregon and Washington.  

The upper Low crossed the Four Corners Region dumping snow on the higher elevations of the Southwest, including Flagstaff, where they received the highest single day snowfall (12.6”) of the season and a storm total of 24.4”!!  The storm then maintained its identity as it carved a path across the Plains and Tennessee Valley where it turned northeast and bit into some colder air across New England. Here it deepened rapidly and produced a combination of snow, sleet and strong winds from Interior Pennsylvania and New York up through Maine.  

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Winter Storm Leo

January 22-26, 2017 – Right on the heels of Kori, Leo hit the West coast with another burst of higher elevation snow, then crossed through the Great Basin and Central Rockies before turning northeast on a track through the Upper Midwest. As much as 60.5” of snow was reported near Incline Village, Nevada. 60” of snow was also reported at June Mt. Ski Area in The Sierra.

Flagstaff had its second big snow dump within a day of Kori’s 2+ft. of snow.  The 4-day total from Leo was 12.6” bringing the combined snowfall from Kori and Leo to 37.0”. Los Alamos NM had 20”.

As the storm lifted through the Plains, it dumped more snow from Colorado through the Central Plains and Upper Midwest. Coal Band Pass CO saw 25.5”, there was 22” in Merriman Nebraska and 16-18” in parts of South Dakota.  A 100 mile stretch of I-90 in South Dakota was closed at one point in the storm.

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Winter Storm Maya

February 5-7, 2017 – Northern track storm that hammered and area from the Pacific Northwest all the way along the Canadian border to the Northeast.  Maximum snowfall was reported at Glacier Park MT where 62.5” occurred.

Maya’s impacts began in the Pacific Northwest, where antecedent cold conditions set the stage for significant snow even at valley levels including Seattle.  The 2-day total of 7.1” of snow was the most since January 18-19, 2012, knocking  power out to more than 100,000 customers.   

After moving through the Northern Rockies with snow and wind, it then then tracked along the Canadian border producing snow from North Dakota through Michigan.  Finally, it encountered a shallow layer of cold air impacting parts of Upstate New York through New England with enough ice to bring down some trees.  

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Winter Storm Niko

February 7-9, 2017 – Niko was another very strong winter storm that hammered the Northeast including New York City and Boston.  It achieved the level of “bombogenesis” as it’s central pressure dropped 29mb in 24 hours off the Eastern Seaboard.  Maximum snowfall was 24” at Cooper, Maine.  

This storm produced 9.4” at Central Park, NY, the highest daily snowfall of the season for New York City.  At one point snowfall rates were 2 to 3” per hour across the city.  Farther north in Boston, blizzard conditions roared for over 4 hours and in Providence, blizzard conditions lasted for 5 hours.  The 10.9” of snow in Boston was their highest daily snowfall of the winter season.  There was also a tremendous amount of thundersnow with this storm.   Winds were extreme as well with gusts as high as 71 mph at Calverton on Eastern Long Island.    

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Winter Storm Orson

February 10-13, 2017 – Although this storm began in the Central Rockies, it evolved into became yet another Northeast snowstorm that achieved “bombogenesis” as its central pressure dropped 24 mb in only 15 hours.  Maximum snowfall was an impressive 40” in Hudson, Bradford and Glenburn Maine.  

This was another strong New England snowstorm that produced significant snowfall including as much as 29” in New Hampshire, 21 “ in Vermont 19” in northern New York and 16” in western Massachusetts.  The storm not only produced significant snowfall for Upstate New York through Northern New England, it was accompanied by very strong, damaging winds in its wake.  White Plains NY gusted to 72 mph, but farther south even Raegan National airport had a 66mph gust and Andrews Air Force Base gusted to 72 mph.  As a result there was widespread damage over a large portion of the Northeast from the winds of Orson.

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Winter Storm Pluto

February 15-16, 2017 – Quick hitting snowstorm for Northern New England, 3rd major storm in 10 days for Maine where some areas saw over 3 ft. of snow from those storms.  Once again the highest snowfall came from Maine where 19” accumulated in Corina.

Pluto may not have lasted long, but for storm weary residents of Maine, this system just added to their misery.   New Hampshire reported as much as 12.5”, New York 16.5” and Vermont 20.5”.

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Winter Storm Quid

February 22-24, 2017 – After 3 straight Northeast snowstorms, Quid laid down a swath of heavy snowfall from the Great Basin through Central Rockies, parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest.  The maximum snowfall was near Lander Wyoming where 34” was reported.  Parts of I-80 in Wyoming were shut down for a time.  

As the system moved out across the Plains, parts of Nebraska reported as much as 22” of snow.  Blizzard conditions developed across parts of Iowa where as much as a foot of snow was reported.  Finally, Quid dumped over a foot of snow on both Minnesota (16”) and Wisconsin (12.7”) before heading into Ontario Canada.

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Winter Storm Reggie

March 9-10, 2017 – Reggie ‘s bark was a little worse than its bite.  A fast moving, short-lived storm, Reggie produced as much as 9.5” of snow in Yostville PA.

This system developed over Indiana and moved quickly east off the Mid-Atlantic Coast.  To the north of its track it dumped moderate snowfall amounts of 5-8” across much of Pennsylvania and Southern New England.  It snowed heavily for a brief period of time in New York City leading to ground stops at the major airport hubs.  Behind Reggie, some of the coldest air of the season settled over the eastern U.S.

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Winter Storm Stella

March 11-15, 2017 – Stella was arguably the most impactful winter storm of the season for the U.S.  This was a major snowstorm that garnered a rating of a Category 3 (Major) storm on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS).  An amazing 58” of snow was recorded in Bolton Valley Vermont from this storm.

This was a whopper of a storm, dumping 3 to 5 feet of snow on parts of Upstate New York and New England.  It was a classic set-up for a major Northeast snowstorm.  In Phase I, energy in the northern jet stream slid south from the northern Rockies through the Midwest.  To the north of the track, moderate snows  occurred from the Northern Plains through Midwest.  Lake-enhancement brought snow totals above 20” in parts of Wisconsin, and much of the rest of the are received anywhere from 10-15” of snow.

Phase II cranked up as a secondary Low developed along the Southeast Coast and tracked northward, bringing copious moisture with it.  As this Low encountered the energy from Phase I off the Carolina Coast, it rapidly intensified into a major Nor’easter.  Snowfall rates reached an incredible 7”/hour at Ilion, NY.  And Burlington VT reported 5” in one hour.  Blizzard conditions occurred in Worcester MA.  

Stella was the second-heaviest snowstorm in 117 years of records in Burlington, and a record for the month of March, with 30.4 inches of snow. Only the Jan. 2-3, 2010 snowstorm (33.1 inches) was heavier, there.  Stella also became the heaviest snowstorm on record in Binghamton, New York, surpassing Winter Storm Argos in November. From March 14-15, 35.3 inches of snow had been measured at Binghamton Regional Airport, pushing this winter to the snowiest on record in this south-central New York City with 131.7 inches.

At Bradley International Airport near Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Stella’s 15.8 inches of snow on March 14 was the snowiest calendar day in any spring month (March through May) in records dating to 1905. It was also the third-heaviest March snowstorm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, topped only by the 1993 Superstorm (20.4 inches) and a late March 1891 storm (18 inches).  There were 16 states that recorded at least 12” of snow from this storm.  

Some people thought the forecast for Stella was a “Bust”.  The storm literally followed a perfect path along I-95 with rain to the east of the major artery and snow to the west.  Ironically that created a tremendous snowfall difference over just a few miles across arguably the most heavily populated area of the nation.  

In addition, wind gusts topped 50 to 60 mph across coastal areas from Delaware to Massachusetts.  Maximum gusts included 79 mph at Wellfleet MA, 68mph at Orient NY, and 65 mph at Seaside Heights NJ.  The strong winds led to coastal flooding.

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Snow totals for Phase I of Stella

Illinois: 14.3 inches near Waukegan, 12 inches near Gurnee, 7.7 inches at Chicago O’Hare Airport
Indiana: 12 inches in Hammond
Iowa: 13 inches in Ringsted, 10.6 inches in Waterloo
Michigan: 15 inches near Wurtsmith Airfield, 5.3 inches at Detroit Metro Airport
Minnesota: 13 inches in Duluth, 6.5 inches in Rochester, 3.7 inches at Minneapolis/St. Paul Int’l Airport
North Dakota: 4 inches in New Town and Williston
Ohio: 12 inches near Geneva, 5.9 inches in Akron, 2.6 inches at Cleveland-Hopkins Int’l Airport
South Dakota: 10 inches near Watertown, 9 inches in Aberdeen
Wisconsin: 21.5 inches in Elmwood Park, 11.2 inches at Milwaukee-Mitchell Int’l Airport

Snow totals for Phase II of Stella

Connecticut: Middletown (21 inches), Windsor Locks-Bradley Int’l Airport (15.8 inches), Bridgeport (7.1 inches)
Delaware: Pike Creek (4.4 inches), Newark (3.6 inches), Wilmington (1.8 inches)
Maine: Lisbon Falls (22 inches), Portland (16.4 inches), Bangor (14.5 inches), Caribou (14.1 inches)
Maryland: Bittinger (12 inches), Frederick (10 inches), Baltimore (2.2 inches)
Massachusetts: Granville (21.5 inches), Lowell (15 inches), Worcester (14.4 inches), Boston (6.6 inches)
New Hampshire: Stratham (23.6 inches), Concord (15.6 inches), Manchester (11.7 inches)
New Jersey: Vernon (20.3 inches), Newark (7 inches)
New York: Hartwick (48.4 inches), Lake Placid (42 inches), Near Utica (36 inches), Binghamton (35.3 inches), Rochester (26.5 inches), Syracuse (24.4 inches), Buffalo (19.6 inches), Albany (17.0 inches), NYC-Central Park (7.6 inches)
Pennsylvania: Oakland (34.5 inches), Susquehanna (32.3 inches), Honesdale (31 inches), Scranton (23.9 inches), Harrisburg (17.2 inches) Philadelphia Int’l Airport (6 inches)
Rhode Island: Burrillville (13 inches), Providence (3.3 inches)
Vermont: Bolton Valley Ski (58 inches), South Burlington/NWS office (30.4 inches)
Virginia: Winchester (8.1 inches), Washington-Dulles Airport (5.6 inches), Washington-Reagan Airport (0.9 inches)
West Virginia: Eglon (16 inches), Elkins (6.5 inches), Beckley (4.2 inches)

Winter Storm Theseus

March 31 – April 2, 2017 –  This was a fast moving, quick hitting storm for the Northeast. Maximum snowfall was 19” at Washington, New Hampshire.

Some referred to Theseus as a cruel April Fool’s joke but April snowstorms are no stranger to the Northeast.  Snowfall totals included 13.4” in Maine, 15.8” in Vermont and around 8” in Massachusetts and New York.  Nearly a half inch of ice was also reported across parts of Southern New England.  Finally, the storm was wrapped up tight enough to produce winds of 65 mph at Nantucket and 62 mph at Falmouth.

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Winter Storm Ursa

April 29 – May 2, 2017 – Our final named winter storm of the 2016-17 season, Ursa was a classic “Oklahoma Hooker”, tracking from eastern Oklahoma to the Great Lakes.  Maximum snowfall was 39” at San Isabel, Colorado.

This system formed from an upper level Low that came off the Rockies.  There was enough cold air to the north and west of the track of Ursa to produce a narrow swath of significant snowfall.  I-40 in New Mexico was closed for a time.

Unfortunately, this was a perfect set of circumstances with a combination of wind and heavy snowfall created blizzard conditions across much of western Kansas and southeastern Colorado.  This led to hundreds of livestock getting trapped in the heavy snowfall and perishing due to hypothermia.  Some ranchers referred to Ursa as the most devastating impact on livestock they had seen.  

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