Spring officially sprung Monday morning in Buffalo – on the calendar.
Outdoors, the weather told a different tale.
Snowflakes and freezing drizzle fell from steel-gray clouds. Temperatures remained cold. And 5 inches of snow clung to the ground.
That snowpack was all that remains of the more than 20 inches of snow that fell in Buffalo as winter’s final week wound down.
Winter Storm Stella boosted the city from 13th place to fifth on the nation’s snowiest cities with populations over 100,000, according to GoldenSnowGlobe.com.
Heading into Monday, 73.8 inches of snow had fallen this season at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, National Weather Service data shows.
“Quite a snowball fight for the Top 5 now,” tweeted GoldenSnowGlobe’s founder Patrick DeCoursey after last week's snowstorm.
— Patrick DeCoursey (@GoldenSnowMan) March 16, 2017
Buffalo trails Syracuse, 133.9 inches; Rochester, 104; Erie, Pa., 78.1; and Worcester, Mass., 73.9.
Coincidentally, Interstate 90 runs through the top five cities on the national snowfall list and seven of the Top 10.
Buffalo, which places fifth in the east, leads I-90’s western cities of Billings, Mont., 70.2 inches, and Spokane, Wash., 61.
Of the Top 10 list, only Buffalo and Erie are averaging less snowfall than normal this season.
Buffalo was 14.2 inches below normal as of Monday.
That’s because it’s been feast-or-famine for snow lovers this year. Famine came during January and February when the months combined for a paltry 16 inches.
A strong Pacific jet moving west-to-east across the country kept mild air in place in February, said weather service meteorologist Jeff Wood.
“It was too warm to snow,” Wood said.
When March roared on to the scene, it feasted on a deep trough of cold Canadian air.
“The global pattern changed,” Wood said. “It became cool.”
The 26.8 inches of March snowfall accounts for 36 percent of the entire season’s total.
It’s the first time since 2001 that more snow fell in Buffalo in March than January and February combined. It’s now the city’s seventh snowiest March on record.
Will the snow totals continue to mount?
“There’s nothing big on the horizon,” Wood said.
He added: “We definitely get into a more spring-like pattern as we go from the weekend into next week.”