PHOTOS: Lake effect snow in Syracuse – from blue skies to blizzard in 30 minutes

Ah, Syracuse. For those that have never been there, it’s right in the center of New York state, about halfway between Buffalo and Albany on Interstate 90. We’re known especially for Syracuse University and SU’s basketball and lacrosse teams (currently ranked #4 and #1, respectively), but Syracuse is also where the serrated knife, the dental chair, and the 24-second shot clock were invented.

Syracuse is also the snowiest city in the United States, undefeated in the annual race for the Golden Snowball Award. So far this winter we’ve gotten over 100 inches of white stuff already. Why? It gets crazy lake effect snow from its proximity to the Great Lakes, causing the weather to go from blue skies and sunshine to snowmageddon in half an hour. Syracuse can get 3 feet of snow, while a suburb 20 miles away could see nothing.

On Sunday, I drove from Boston to Syracuse. Here’s photos of the crazy weather:

10:57am - A gorgeous day for a Sunday drive by exit 30, outside of Herkimer.

11:12am - Just past Utica, I start to see the clouds coming in.

11:19am - I see a NYS Thruway snow plow in the other lane ahead.

11:21am - Visibility's reducing fast, and flakes are starting to fly.

11:25am - Near the Turning Stone Casino, I start bracing myself for whiteout conditions.

11:29am - Traffic has slowed, and roads are already starting to be covered with snow.

11:35am - I'm on the edge of Syracuse and driving through weather that would shut down any other city.

11:42am - Hello Syracuse! Hello brake lights! Hello snowpocalypse!

11:40am - As I exit I-90 to get on 481, I start wondering if I should pull over and wait out the weather, but the snow never stops in Syracuse!

11:48am - On 481, I can't see much of anything anymore. Maybe I should stop taking pictures...

11:52am - All of a sudden, it was like someone turned off the snow. (Imagine that in a Forrest Gump voice)

11:57am - And boom, getting off the highway, there's blue skies ahead. That's lake effect snow - and that's Syracuse for you.

Syracuse. Got to love it.

In addition to being a Syracuse University alum and a fan of Central New York, I am also an Associate Producer for syracuse.com.

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6 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Lake effect snow in Syracuse – from blue skies to blizzard in 30 minutes

  1. This is GREAT! You tell people about it all the time, but unless someone has actually driven through it, it’s impossible to understand. This is as close as you can get to the real thing. I’m going to bookmark this and forward it on to people for years to come, lol! Glad you were able to get through safely, all while taking these pics!

  2. Geoff I have to say this is really cool put all together like this. Will definitely forward this to my outta’ town friends who “just don’t get it”! :-)
    ~ Nik

  3. Agreed – this is perfect to send out to friends who have never been here. I was driving into Syracuse from Buffalo early that afternoon and luckily just missed this garbage. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you! I don’t have to try to explain it anymore! I can’t wait to hear what some of my Arizona people have to say about these photo’s. They probably still won’t believe it. Shoot. There were times when I didn’t either, and I was in the middle of it!

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