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Weather Images:
The Late Winter Storms of 2005

Weather Image Collections:

Snow plasters the branches of a Catalpa tree on March 12, 2005On February 2nd, numerous groundhogs and other furry critters were alleged to have seen their shadows and declared that winter would last another 6 weeks. As if to underscore the point, a minor snowfall deposited between 2 and 4 inches of snow across most of Suffolk County on February 3rd and 4th, with lesser amounts in Nassau County. However, following that snow, the weather became unusually mild for a couple of weeks while the existing snowpack gradually withered away. While many might have been entertaining dreams of an early spring, long range computer models were consistently cooking up a return to a wintry pattern based on forecasts for the North Atlantic ocean and near the west coast of North America, the two locations where meteorologists look for patterns referred to as the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) and PNA (Pacific/North American), respectively.

The indications that the weather pattern evolving during the middle of February would favor cold weather and storminess were so strong, that some meteorologists hinted that another blockbuster snowstorm along the east coast could be the result. The general idea was correct, but the switch back to the more wintry pattern held off until late February. Rather than producing a blockbuster east coast snowstorm, the pattern supplied plenty of cold air and a series of smaller "Alberta Clipper" storms arcing around the periphery of the cold air entrenched over the northeast. While not an unusual pattern during the winter months, this particular parade of clippers was farther south than usual and resulted in an unusual frequency of coastal storms forming along the mid-Atlantic coast and moving northward.

On Long Island, this resulted in 5 moderate snowstorms in a 20 day period totaling nearly 30 inches of snow along the north shore. This on top of the winter's previous heavy snowfalls has secured the winter of 2004-5 a place among Long Island's snowiest winters. The images that follow are from this series of snowfalls which effected Long Island between February 20 and March 12, 2005. Most were taken in locations around Smithtown, but a few were from elsewhere in the region. Hover the mouse over any of the images to display a description, or click the image to display a higher resolution version. You can then use your browser "back" button to return to this page.

February 20-21, 2005

After a return to colder weather for a couple of days following the extended mild period, the first storm in the series on February 20-21 deposited 5 to 7 inches of snow over just about the entire length of Long Island. The weather following the snowstorm was slightly warmer, but also cloudy and humid, which resulted in considerable fog until cooler air arrived just in time for the following snowstorm on February 24th.

Hill on the 18th fairway at Smithtown Landing golf course, February 21, 2005 View across the Nissequogue River from Smithtown Landing, February 21, 2005 Suburban wood lot, Smithtown, NY, February 21, 2005


February 25-25, 2005

The storm on February 24-25 dropped between 6 and 9 inches of snow over most of Long Island with the highest amounts occurring in Suffolk County. This was a colder and drier snow than during the previous storm and gave the ripening older snowpack a nice facelift. Farther to the west, 6" of snow also fell in New York City.

Smithtown Train Station, February 25, 2005 Smithtown Train Station, February 25, 2005 East 49th Street and 3rd Avenue, New York City, February 25, 2005 East 49th Street and 3rd Avenue, New York City, February 25, 2005
Snow covered steps to a brownstone on the east side of Manhattan, February 25, 2005 Suburban backyard on Long Island, February 25, 2005


February 28 - March 1, 2005

The snowstorm of February 28 - March 1 dropped between 4 and 7 inches of snow across Long Island. In Smithtown 7.2" of new snow fell on top of the remains of the previous storms, establishing a substantial snow cover. Farther to the west, the 7.5" of snow that fell in New York City edged that location closer to a record setting 3rd straight winter with 40 or more inches of snowfall.

The early morning hours on March 1st featured some heavy snowfall rates on the north shore of Long Island, but like the previous storms, this was not a crippling snow fall. With the exception of some delayed openings, most businesses and schools were open as usual. For those that are not fans of winter weather, the third snowstorm in 8 days might have been just a bit trying, with petty annoyances ranging from suburban mailboxes damaged by snowplows to slushy city street corners beginning to take their cumulative effect. However, for many snow lovers the effect on the landscape was a thing of beauty.

Heavy snow falling in Smithtown during the morning of March 1, 2005 Heavy snow falling in Smithtown during the morning of March 1, 2005 Long Island Rail Road station parking lot, Smithtown, NY, March 1, 2005 Town Hall, Smithtown, NY, March 1, 2005
A snowy day, but school is open, March 1, 2005 Snow covered spruces, Smithtown, NY, March 1, 2005 Snow on Long Island, Smithtown, NY, March 1, 2005 Deep snow cover in Smithtown, Long Island, March 1, 2005
Mailbox tragedy on a snowy day, March 1, 2005 Mailbox tragedy on a snowy day, March 1, 2005 Slushy intersection, 3rd Avenue in the 40's, New York City, March 1, 2005 Negotiating a slushy corner, Third Avenue in the 40's, New York City, March 1, 2005

March 8, 2005

Although the 3 to 5 inches of snow that fell on Long Island during the afternoon of March 8 was less than deposited by any of the other storms in the late winter series, in many ways this was second only to the January blizzard as the most severe storm of the winter. Because it occurred on a work day, the traffic impact was greater than in the January blizzard. This was mostly because of the hazardous conditions created when heavy snow combined with high winds and temperatures plummeting well below freezing during the afternoon on March 8. A rapid freeze-up of the roads combined with low visibilities in snow and blowing snow at a time when many businesses dismissed their employees early created a chaotic traffic mess across most of the island. Many found that their commute home took hours longer than normal. Winds gusted over 50 miles an hour and temperatures fell into the teens island-wide. The storm did cover up bare spots that had developed during the previous week as the strong March sun ate away at the existing snow cover and also created deep drifts in many areas.

New snow blown across a driveway in Smithtown on the evening of March 8, 2005 Drifted snow in Smithtown, March 8, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005


March 11-12, 2005

While some light snows of less than an inch occurred ahead of an approaching clipper on Friday March 11, 2005, the main event occurred during the early morning hours of Saturday March 12 as yet another coastal storm formed off of the mid-Atlantic. This was the 5th and last storm of the series, although not the last snowfall of the 2004-5 winter season. Like many times during the winter, the heaviest snowfall was once again over Suffolk County where between 5 and 8 inches of snow fell. Between 2 and 4 inches of snow fell over most of Nassau County, while 1 to 3 inches of snow fell across the New York City area. The 2-day total of 1.5" at Central Park brought the season's total there to 40 inches, marking the first time that New York City has received that much snow in 3 consecutive seasons.

New snow blown across a driveway in Smithtown on the evening of March 8, 2005 Drifted snow in Smithtown, March 8, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005
New snow blown across a driveway in Smithtown on the evening of March 8, 2005 Drifted snow in Smithtown, March 8, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005
New snow blown across a driveway in Smithtown on the evening of March 8, 2005 Drifted snow in Smithtown, March 8, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005 Fresh snowcover in Smithtown, NY on the morning of March 9, 2005