5 Things You May Not Know About Utica Weather
No doubt you've heard the joke about not liking the weather then 'wait 5 minutes and it will change.' One can make that quip about lots of places and Central New York is no exception. There are some things, however, that make weather here unique. Here are 5 things you may not know about Utica weather.
City-Data.com lists Utica as the 23rd most sun-deprived city in the nation. We're on a list with other perpetually cloudy locales like Seattle. At least we have company, Syracuse and Clay have even less sunshine that Utica.
What could go better with lots of clouds than copious amounts of snow every winter? For large cities (50,000+ population) Utica is the 4th snowiest in the country receiving, on average, 108 inches per season. Our neighbors in Syracuse are the snowiest city in the nation with an average of 115 inches of power ever year. Snowfall, thanks to lake effect off of Lake Ontario brings even more of the white stuff to the sparely populated Tug Hill Plateau north of Utica.
We are located far from the Midwest and Tornado Alley. While we get powerful thunderstorms, a twister is a very rare event. One study shows less than 5 major (F3-F5) tornadoes in the last half of the 20th century. A weak tornado that destoryed a barn near Frankfort a year or two ago was a major news story. The most destructive tornado in recent memory was an F3 in Boonville in 1983.
Even if we're spared the destruction from tornadoes, we do see tropical systems despite being more than 200 miles from any coastline. The remnants of hurricanes and tropical storms can bring significant rain and wind damage. In 2011 Hurricane Irene caused washouts and landsides in the Catskills and Adirondacks.
Weather forecasts come from the National Weather Service and are generally done by county. Here in Central New York, we are covered by 3 different NWS branches. Utica and Oneida County are under the jursidiction of the Binghamton office. In neighboring Herkimer County, that's the Albany office of the National Weather Service while our northern neighbor, Lewis County is managed by the Buffalo office. The result? Forecasts, watches and warning can vary greatly.