Does “The Winter of 2015” Go Down as The Worst of All-Time?

Winter2014-15.jpgThe numbers are infamous and serve as a moniker that are evoked during squabbles in taverns all over Western New York. They are the years of terrible storms or just a particularly harsh winter of record, but make no doubt, they serve as badges of pride to any Western New Yorker that has endured that numbered year.

This past winter has been one of the worst in my time, that being the post ’77 years. I was born in 1979 and spared the worst storm in Buffalo history, to hear my mother speak of it, still evokes the legend of it as if it were yesterday. I have been through a few of some of Buffalo’s larger storms.

Jimmy always liked a beer - Photo via

Jimmy always liked a beer – Photo via

  • The October surprise in 2006, which crippled the whole region with an ice storm that brought down power lines all over WNY.
  • ’85 when then Mayor Jimmy Griffin famously remarked that Buffalo residents “go home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football game”
  • December of 2001 when 25.2 inches of snow fell in one 24 hour period,
  • November of 2000 when half the city decided to drive home in the middle of white-out conditions, leaving motorists stranded for days in some instances.
  • December of 2010 eerily similar to this past years storm, it pummeled the Southtowns while leaving the Northern parts of WNY with a dusting.
  • January & March of 2014 which produced two blizzards for the first time ever in one 12 month span.
That's a lot of snow!

That’s a lot of snow!

That said, all of these storms pale in comparison to ’77 which blew snow off of frozen Lake Erie and ended up shutting Buffalo down for over ten days. The snow drifts in some cases reached the tops of two-three story buildings, street signs, traffic lights and other objects that aren’t meant to be reached without ladders.

But a Blizzard does not make for the worst winter ever. This past year we’ve had the following events;

  • The storm in November which left up to ten feet of snow in some areas South of the city.
  • Lake Erie had completely frozen over by mid-January.
  • Snow totals for this past winter:
    • The Buffalo Airport reported over 100 inches of snow.
    • Areas south of the city; Elma Center, East Aurora, Boston, and Colden all recorded snowfall totals of over 160 inches, with Colden having 209 inches total!
    • In only the month of November, the town of Hamburg recorded over 89 inches of snow!
  • On February 16th the low dropped to -10 degrees which broke the previous record that had stood for 111 years!
  • That said temperatures in February never broke the freezing mark of 32 degrees, and was the coldest February on record.

Stay the same

These events are enough for me to say that this was the worst winter of my 35 years in Western New York, hands down. It’s tough for someone not alive before ’77 to make the claim that it was the worst in the history of Buffalo, but I will take a chance and say it was. The amount of snowfall, bitter cold, and frequency of snow leads me to this conclusion. After a few years of pleasant and downright mild winters, it seems things may be changing in the area. These past few years have been enough to earn those numbers their own place in Buffalo’s folklore.

Thank god it’s Spring!


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2 Comments on “Does “The Winter of 2015” Go Down as The Worst of All-Time?”

  1. Ankit Karwa March 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    Reblogged this on A student's diary.

  2. Mary Bealer March 26, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Last year was the worst for me because our heater/boiler broke a week before the flood & then the COLD weather. We heated entire house with wood for over a month until I could buy new boiler. I lost 12lbs lugging wood inside every day. We went from 40’s to 10 over and over again last year. And remember – we had 2 blizzards in same year – 1st time in history for Western New York.

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