OSWEGO, NY – For several years, the Port City wore the title “Snow King” like a crown. But, in recent years, that is a designation that has relentlessly melted.
While areas further north and east of Lake Ontario have been bombarded by mountains of snowfall this winter, Oswego hadn’t even received 45 inches by New Year’s Eve. As of Jan. 13 the season’s total is just 56.9 inches, according to Bill Gregway, local observer for the National Weather Service.
The decline in Oswego’s snowfall was recently documented by the NWS, which records 30-year averages for snowfall. Previously, Oswego was at 150.8 inches per winter.
According to the new figures released by the NWS, Oswego’s average has dwindled nearly 10 inches to 141.0 inches.
There have been 61 times (66, actually – there were five ties) when Oswego’s snowfall came in at 100 inches or less for the winter.
In 1935-36 it was exactly 100 inches. And, three others came very close. In 1900-01 the total was 99.8 inches; in 1994-95 it was 99.5 inches; and in 1959-60 it was exactly 99 inches.
At the lower end of the spectrum, there are four winters whose snowfalls were in the 40-something inches range.
The least snowiest winter on record for the Port City is 1885-86. That winter received just 29.4 inches of snow.
“I’m not sure why the totals were so low back then,” Gregway said. “They took readings at different times and different locations; I can’t really explain it. In the mid-1800s, readings were taken by the Army at the fort – right on the lake shore.”
The area has been in a two-year drought – “a mild drought, but nonetheless, the precip figures, especially snowfall haven’t been anything to brag about by Oswego standards,” added. “Looks like we have a mild week ahead. We’re coming into a January thaw. It’s going to be dry and mild.”
Snowfall totals less than 100 inches haven’t been that uncommon in recent years.
We have missed the century mark in 1999-2000 (76.6), 2001-2002 (70.6), 2011-2012 (70.8) and 2015-2016 (80.3).
A look back at recent winters (as of Jan. 13) shows:
• On Jan. 13, 2012, there was 13.2 inches of snow and 22.7 inches for the winter. The winter ended with 70.8 inches.
• On Jan. 13, 2013, there was 5.5 inches of snow and 40.4 inches for the winter. The winter ended with 140.3 inches.
• On Jan. 13, 2014, there was 23.6 inches of snow and 62.9 inches for the winter. The winter ended with 154.5 inches.
• On Jan. 13, 2015, there was 23.0 inches of snow and 65.3 inches for the winter. The winter ended with 144.0 inches.
• On Jan. 13, 2016, there was 13.0 inches of snow and 23.6 inches for the winter. The winter ended with 80.3 inches.
With just more than two months left in this winter, it’s anyone’s guess how much more snow will fall. But it’s not looking good for reaching 100 inches.