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Buffalo tumbles in snow rankings following East Coast storm

Last week’s East Coast blizzard shook up the standings up like a snow globe.

When everything settled and the storm moved out to sea, Buffalo was knocked out of its usual perch among the nation’s Top Ten snowiest cities.

Other usual suspects remain: Erie, Pa., ranks second, with Syracuse in third.

But places like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Allentown, Pa., and Newark, N.J., have had more snow so far this winter than Buffalo.

So have South Bend, Ind.; Spokane, Wash.; and Flint, Mich.

Buffalo, meanwhile, sits in 16th place – on the anniversary of the epic Blizzard of ’77.

After back-to-back winters of above-average snowfall that saw Buffalo finish among the nation’s top four snowiest cities twice – fourth-place last year with 112.9 inches and third-place the year before with 129.9 inches – Buffalo has recorded only 26 inches of snow as of Thursday afternoon.

Forecasters expect an inch or two of snow across the region that could gently add to the totals by Friday.

Even with that, Buffalo’s still nearly 3 feet below normal by this time of year.

Last year, some 56.2 inches had fallen in Buffalo by Jan. 29. That includes the November 2014 storm that paralyzed the Southtowns and attracted worldwide attention.

Two years ago, 80.9 inches had already fallen by this date.

It only took one massive East Coast storm to push Buffalo down on the national list.

But Syracuse and Erie missed the big blizzard, too, so why do they remain near the top?

“We have had a couple of northwest flow events,” said Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “Syracuse gets it off Lake Ontario and Erie gets it off (Lake) Erie,” Mitchell said. “That’s the difference.”

The least amount of the snow recorded in Buffalo since measurements started being kept at Buffalo Niagara International Airport around World War II occurred four years ago, over the 2011-12 winter, weather service statistics show.

That year, only 36.7 inches fell in Buffalo the entire winter.

Buffalo is less than 2 inches off that pace this year. On Jan. 29, 2012, 24.4 inches had already fallen.

Although snowshowers are in the forecast over the next few days, forecasters do not expect anything significant, Mitchell said.

Starting Sunday, the region warms up with a high flirting with 50 degrees expected.

Temperatures through the middle of next week will largely remain above freezing with daily highs forecast in the 40s, reducing any further threat for snow.

Forecasters will keep their eyes on an approaching storm system next Tuesday. It could bring high winds and mixed precipitation, but temperatures look to warm up into the upper 40s again Wednesday.

“It’s kind of too early to tell,” Mitchell said. “It’s really going to be critical on the way the storm tracks.”

Behind that system, expect a return to colder, more normal February weather later next week.

But even that probably won’t last long.

Extended outlooks by the weather service predict above-average temperatures in February for the northern tier of the nation, including the Great Lakes and Northeast.

email: tpignataro@buffnews.com