The corncob pipe and button nose have barely made it off the shelf this year.
That’s because it’s awfully hard to make Frosty the Snowman with less than a couple of inches of snow.
In Buffalo, 2 inches of snow has fallen in a single day just three times this season – the fourth fewest number of days this century – and none have come since Dec. 6.
The 27.3 inches of total snowfall logged so far at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is more than 10 inches less than average for the city through Jan. 2. It’s also about 10 inches less than the city received last winter by this time.
Spoiler alert: Don’t expect a landscape of white to take over anytime over the next week. Forecasts show temperatures in the mid-40s are expected Friday and Saturday, with another shot at 40 degrees next Tuesday.
The average high temperature in Buffalo for this time of year is 32 degrees.
This season’s snowfall was nearly equally divided between November’s 13.4 inches and December’s 13.8 inches. There was also 0.1 inch logged in October and a trace so far in January, according to weather service data.
About half of this season’s snowfall has come on three days. The most came Dec. 6 when 6.2 inches fell. There was 5.7 inches on Nov. 28 and 2.3 inches on Nov. 27.
Buffalo isn’t the only location having trouble counting snowflakes this season. Despite being below normal for snow totals, the city still ranks fourth among the nation’s cities with at least 100,000 population. Only Anchorage, Alaska, 38 inches; Syracuse, 37.5 inches; and Rochester, 29 inches are more than Buffalo so far this season, according to GoldenSnowGlobe.com.
On average, 94.4 inches of snow falls in Buffalo every winter.
Temperatures certainly play a role.
Last year, the mercury dropped below freezing on Christmas Day and stayed there until Jan. 8. Daytime highs were only in the single digits three times and in the teens eight other days. December 2017 was nearly 5 degrees colder than average.
December 2018 was more than 3 degrees warmer than average. The last day the daily high temperature was below freezing was a 31-degree reading on Dec. 11.
That makes a difference.
It's also kept Lake Erie warmer. Thursday's lake temperature of 39 degrees is tied for the sixth-warmest on record as of Jan. 3.
A year ago, more than 63 percent was already encased in ice by Jan. 5 and ice volcanoes graced the shoreline landscape.
There doesn't appear to be much chance for a major blast of winter through at least mid-January either. Forecasters at the federal Climate Prediction Center show above-average chances for warmer than normal temperatures in Western New York in both the six-to-10-day and eight-to-14-day outlooks.
Things could change drastically by the end of the month, however. The three-to-four-week projection from the Climate Prediction Center shows the eastern half of the United States is likely to be colder than average.
Climate forecasters were also eyeing splits in the polar vortex that could bring frigid air across parts of the northern hemisphere by mid-to-late January.