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Buffalo vs. Syracuse: Competition tightens for this winter's snow champion

Never underestimate the power of a Buffalo January.

The 63.4 inches of snow in January propelled Buffalo past perennial snowfall leader Syracuse to the top of the 2018-19 winter standings, so far, for most snowfall among large U.S. cities.

All but 5 inches fell over the last two weeks of the month during a pair of lake-effect snowstorms and a late-month blizzard.

As of Friday morning, Buffalo clung to the lead by just over 10 inches, despite posting 5.3 inches in a snowstorm on Wednesday, National Weather Service data shows.

Despite the current lead in the snow standings, some of Western New York's most weather hardy folks don't equate this winter with the harshness of previous winters.

"Think back to 1977 and 1978. Those were some big snows," said Dwayne Peacock of the Town of Tonawanda, who on Thursday checked out the hills of Lake Erie ice chunks in Hamburg with his wife, Lynn.

As of this morning, Buffalo's snowfall lead had dwindled to about half of what it was at the start of February.

On Feb. 1, Buffalo led by more than 20 inches, with 91 inches for the season compared with Syracuse's 70.5 inches.

Since then, the Salt City has seen more than 2 feet of snow, including a robust 7.3 inches of snow Wednesday.

Folks in Syracuse are paying attention.

What's more? Syracuse snow lovers point out that they've got a late-season advantage.

Unlike mostly frozen Lake Erie, which limits late-season possibilities for lake-effect snow, the deeper waters of Lake Ontario stay open through the winter.

So, Syracuse snow-backers like their chances of more lake-effect snow eventually putting them ahead.

Polar-orbiting satellite imagery of the Great Lakes confirmed that Thursday:

Lake Erie was about 92 percent covered in ice as of Thursday, federal data showed. Only about 31 percent of Lake Ontario was ice covered. (NOAA)

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