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Watertown tallies third-highest seasonal snowfall on record

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With a foot of snow falling on the city Wednesday into Thursday morning, Watertown has now seen its third-highest seasonal snowfall on record.

According to figures compiled at the city’s filtration plant on Water Street, 12 inches of snow fell from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday. That brought the total amount that has fallen in 2013-14 to 189.05 inches, moving the season’s amount past 1900-01, when 184.3 inches were recorded.

The snowiest winter ever recorded at the plant was 1899-1900, when 225.3 inches fell. The second-snowiest was 1976-77, which included the infamous Blizzard of ’77, when 224 inches fell.

Having lived through the Blizzard of ’77 as a child, Richard J. Beaman Jr., Watertown, is blase about the amount of snow the city has received.

“It’s the north country; you’ve got to expect bad weather,” Mr. Beaman said. “Winter is like the stock market: You can’t expect it to be too warm or too cold.”

Mariella C. Collingsworth has a point of reference when it comes to dealing with snow and cold, having moved with the military to the town of LeRay two years ago from Fairbanks, Alaska.

“Definitely, the snow is worse than what we got in Fairbanks. The snow here is heavy and wet. Up in Fairbanks, it’s dry,” she said. “As far as the temperature is concerned, I’ve dealt with worse. That still doesn’t make it any better, though.”

Samaria E. Fagan has lived in Watertown for six years and said she has not experienced a winter like this one, with ice, low temperatures and frequent school closures.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “January was the worst. Last January, last winter, was never like this.”

A man walking down Washington Street on Thursday blurted out to a stranger, “Is this winter ever going to stop?”

According to National Weather Service meteorologist David R. Thomas, there is no way to tell whether the north country will experience another large-scale snowstorm this year.

“Good news, no superstorms on the horizon for the next seven days,” Mr. Thomas said. After that, the National Weather Service can only make broad climate predictions. He said the center can make predictions about the next seven days and look at climate and temperature predictions through September.

“Hopefully by April we’ll be out of the snow season and into the rain season,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, Mr. Thomas said, the largest snow accumulation was 33 inches in Boonville, with 21 inches in Lowville.

He said he wouldn’t advise anyone to put away their snow shovels and boots until tax day, April 15, at the earliest.

National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan M. Buchanan said that looking ahead, there is a 60 percent chance Watertown will have below-average temperatures through March, and from April through September there is an equal chance temperatures could be above or below normal.

Mr. Thomas said normal March temperatures are in the high 40s, and the temperatures experienced so far in Watertown are closer to average January temperatures.

The shift in weather patterns is being experienced not just in the north country but across the country.

Mr. Thomas said high pressure and warmer weather on the West Coast have caused the jet stream moving east across the country to lower the temperatures.

Mr. Thomas said because of the southerly wind flow coming from Canada, the Watertown area has received more snow than in past years.

“Usually Tug hill gets hammered with snow,” Mr. Thomas said. “Because of the low temperatures there has been more lake-effect snowstorms than in prior years.”

He said there is a 30 percent chance of light snow mixed with rain this morning, and though temperatures are expected to be as high as 47 degrees today and Saturday, he predicts light snow and temperatures in the upper 30s. For the rest of the winter season, Mr. Thomas said, all bets are off.

Times staff writer Jacob Pucci contributed to this report.

SNOWFALL TOTALS
This year’s winter ranks the third-snowiest in Watertown history, according to totals recorded at the city water filtration plant.
1899-1900 winter225.30
1976-77 winter224.00
2013-14 winter189.05
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