ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Golden Snowball Contest is an annual challenge between five New York cities on who can receive the most snowfall throughout the winter season. The cities that participate are Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton and Albany. As of the first week of March, Binghamton leads the pack with nearly one hundred inches of snow that has been accumulated this winter with a current total of 98.9″. Buffalo trails in second with 71.8″. Syracuse is in third with 65.7″. And Rochester and Albany sit in fourth and fifth with 64.6″ and 54.1″ respectively.
Here in New York there are two driving forces that lead to heavy snowfall accumulations: lake effect snow and nor’easters. This year we have received our fair share of both. All five cities are impacted by lake effect snow but the main ones are Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse thanks to their close proximity just downwind of Lakes Ontario and Erie. During the wintertime our winds are commonly out of the northwest or west which allows for this wind originating in Canada to cross the Great Lakes and form lake effect snow bands just downwind. This is where the majority of the snow that has fallen in these three cities have stemmed from.
In contrast, Albany and Binghamton, in the eastern part of the state, have been in prime position this year for heavy snows to fall from storms moving up the coasts known as Nor’easter’s. The tracks most of these storms have taken this year have been close to the East Coast which has put Binghamton and Albany in jackpot zones with a couple storms dropping two to three feet in these locations.
Binghamton has been in a special spot this year as it has received heavy snows from storms as well as lake effect snow as it sits just downwind of the Finger Lakes. It is the city that has been impacted heavily by both phenomenon’s which has allowed their total to make a run for one hundred inches and take over first place as we inch closer to the end of winter.