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Area cities compete for 'The Golden Snowball Award'

Each year the city of Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany compete for the coveted “Golden Snowball Award”.

It is the dubious honor awarded to the city measuring the most snow over a winter season. The award was originally the result of a competition between local National Weather Service offices in Upstate New York.

A National Weather Service meteorologist in Rochester named Pete Chaston came up with the cleaver idea, and it is believed to have originated after the Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977. Unfortunately, the competition faded from public view after the Rochester and Syracuse NWS offices closed in the mid-1900's.

The actual award went missing for several years, but it now resides at the Syracuse City Hall.

Most winter seasons the city of Syracuse wins by a wide margin. This happens because Syracuse is in a favorable position to garner both lake effect snow and large scale storms. Since 2000, Syracuse has won the award 13 out of 15 seasons. The 2011-12 season was the last time Rochester won the award with a measurement of only 59.9 inches. It should be noted the snowiest season was in Buffalo during 1976-77 with a whopping 199.4 inches of fluff.

This season, the race is close with two cities. Rochester now stands at 45.2 inches and Syracuse is at 62.6 inches. Buffalo is in a distant third with 31 inches and Albany stands at fourth place with 14.5 inches. Considering we still have close to 3 months left to the snow season we expect plenty of changes in the snow totals.

The question for many folks, is this a contest we really want to win? Winter enthusiasts of course will always say, ‘Yes!’

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