According to local forecasts, this year’s winter looks to be much stronger than last year’s unusually mild one. Even though the official beginning of winter is still almost two months away, meteorologists are working hard to forecast the upcoming season.

Snow comes from two different sources in Rochester. The primary source is a localized snow squall ? the lake effect snow from Lake Ontario. That accounts for at least 60 percent of the snow that falls on Rochester. The other approximately 40 percent comes from major storm systems that are hundreds of miles across.

The cold temperatures that we have been experiencing over the past few weeks may serve as catalysts for our first snowfall. “We could begin to see snowfall by the end of this month if not by the end of the week,” meteorologist at WOKR-TV 13 Glenn Johnson said.

“I think that we are likely to see snow fall totals slightly above the 30-year average of 93 inches and colder temperatures,” Johnson said. “The unusually warm temperatures of five to seven degrees Fahrenheit above average over the past four months should create more snow. The lakes are warmer, which means that they have stored a lot of potential energy which could likely be released in the form of lake effect snow.”

The way that the jet stream moves will determine how many major storms we get in Rochester outside of the lake effect snow. “Right now, El Nio has a very minor effect on the water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, but there is potential for the waters to warm more,” Johnson said.

“The more pertinent warming is in the Gulf of Alaska and the Atlantic Ocean off of New England’s coast,” he said. The warmer waters explain why many regions have been inundated with rain in recent weeks.

The beginning of November is when Rochester has traditionally been hit the hardest by snow. “In the past, there has been roughly a 50 percent chance of a white Christmas, with a measurable amount of snowfall,” Johnson said.

“The weather pattern is not a done deal. We are still searching for commonality and consistency with the weather map,” Johnson said.

There is always a large margin for error when forecasting weather this far in advance.

Regardless of how much snow will fall on UR, many freshmen are excited about the winter’s potential.

“Since I’m from Florida, I haven’t ever really experienced snow before,” freshman Heather Good said. “I’m looking forward to seeing snow falling, going sledding, making snow angels, snowball fights and making snowmen.”

While freshman Jimmie Marra does anticipate snow, he doubts that Rochester will receive as much as Buffalo did last year.

Overall, freshmen are prepared for the winter ahead. “I bought a big ski jacket and toe socks, anticipating the cold,” Good said.

In addition to warm clothes, the tunnels also provide a safe haven from the biting cold. “Coming from Sue B., the tunnel system is too convenient to pass up, why not stay warm for as long as possible?” Marra said.

“You have to like the snow and cold weather a lot to go to school in Rochester,” freshman Crystal McClain said.

Freshman Matt DiPerri, a Bloomfield resident, is excited about the winter. “Snow is great,” he said. “I like a lot of winter camping ? I’m a tundra dweller.”

While many freshmen are excited, upperclassmen greet the winter with more mixed emotions.

“I hope we get creamed. We never have too much snow in New Jersey,” senior Ben Shogan said. The winters can be long with gray and overcast skies, but, “You get used to it,” he said.

“After last year’s winter, I’m indifferent about the Rochester winter. Coming from Buffalo, it would take a lot of snow to impress me. Snow doesn’t bother me,” sophomore Steve Lega said. “The only negative aspect of the winter here is all of the gray days.”

Keesing can be reached at jkeesing@campustimes.org.



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