Moderate to Heavy Nor'easter
Sunday-Monday December 14-15, 2003 

The latest volley in what can be described as an all out siege on the Northeast by "Mother Nature" came in the form of the third intense storm of the month.  This one, another coastal Nor'easter with the promise of another round of heavy snow, followed only three days after the December 11th snow melting soaking rain event. 

This latest storm formed from a strong upper air disturbance in the powerful and active southern branch of the jet stream.  The system moved across the southwest on the 12th to a position along the Texas, Louisiana border along the Gulf coast on the 13th.  By the morning of the 14th the system moved to the Appalachians forcing a new surface storm to form immediately along the North Carolina coast.  A powerful jet stream couplet as well as a conveyor belt of moisture came together to cause snow to break out over eastern New York and western New England early in the afternoon of the Sunday, December 14.  Snow quickly became heavy, falling at rates of 1"-2" an hour through the afternoon.  Now, different from the major Nor'easter of the 6th and 7th which moved east of New England, this storm rapidly intensified and tracked closer to the coast.  The rapid strengthening and close coastal proximity allowed the system to spiral a warm layer of air into the region in the mid levels of the atmosphere.  Surface temperatures remained in the 10s and low 20s through the storm, but the warm layer in the mid levels was sufficient to change the snow over to a prolonged period of sleet from the Capital Region on east and south in the region by the late afternoon and early evening.  In fact, enough warm air came into the mid Hudson valley, to cause the sleet to changeover to a period of freezing rain.   Bursts of heavy snow, however, continued to fall in the Mohawk Valley, as well as much of Schenectady and Saratoga counties on north in NY and from northern Bennington county on north in Vermont.   The changeover to sleet reduced snow amounts from the Albany area on east and south.   Had the precipitation remained all snow, totals in the Capital Region would have averaged 15"-20".  As it was, snowfall in the Capital Region averaged 6"-15", with anywhere from 15"-20" reported from Syracuse eastward through the Adirondacks and throughout much of central and northern New England. 

The system accelerated a tad on the 15th moving into the Gulf of Maine.  As colder air returned to the mid levels of the atmosphere, sleet changed back over to snow before quickly ending.  By mid morning all of the accumulating snow in the region had ended.  Winds gusted to between 30 and 40 mph during the afternoon of Monday the 15th as the storm deepened creating blowing and drifting snow.   Scattered flurries and snow showers redeveloped in the upslope areas east of the Hudson River, with no significant additional accumulation. 

Snow accumulation distribution for the December 14-15th, 2003 Nor'easter. 
This distribution graphic was created using data from WeatherNet 6 and National Weather Service Cooperative observers. 

Storm Total Snowfall Observations for the December 14-15th, 2003 Nor'easter

Town Name

County

Snowfall Report

Town Name

County

Snowfall Report

Alford, MA Berkshire 7" Clarksburg, MA Berkshire

8"

Lanesborough, MA Berkshire 7" Dalton, MA Berkshire 5"
Albany Albany 7.2" Colonie Albany 11.2"
East Berne Albany 11.25" Knox Albany 11.75"
South Berne Albany 12" Altamont Albany 7"
Ravena-Selkirk Albany 6" Copake Falls Columbia 5"
Taghkanic Columbia 6" Kinderhook Columbia 6"
Ancramdale Columbia 4.7" Chatham Center Columbia 6"
Margaretville Delaware 4" Rhinebeck Dutchess 7"
Red Hook Dutchess 7" Poughkeepsie Dutchess 5.5"
Pine Plains Dutchess 6" Caroga Lake Fulton 11.75"
Northville Fulton 13" Mayfield Fulton 12.5"
Fish House Fulton 10" Gloversville Fulton 14.25"
Jewett Greene 8" Athens Greene 8.5"
South Cairo Greene 8.75" Ashland Greene 5.5"
Cairo Greene 10" Greenville Greene 8"-9"
Halcott Greene 7.5" Round Top Greene 8.5"
Catskill Greene 7.5" Indian Lake Hamilton 19.5"
Wells Hamilton 11"-14.75" Speculator Hamilton 15"
Amsterdam Montgomery 8"-12" Canajoharie Montgomery 10"
Palatine Bridge Montgomery 8.5" Ames Montgomery 10"
Sprout Brooks Montgomery 9" St. Johnsville Montgomery 9"
Maryland Otsego 8" Oneonta Otsego 8"
Worcester Otsego 5" Castleton Rensselaer 9.2"
Schaghticoke Rensselaer 8"-9" Averill Park Rensselaer 6.5"
Schodack Landing Rensselaer 8.1" Speigletown Rensselaer 8.25"
Nassau Rensselaer 5.5" Melrose Rensselaer 10"
Center Brunswick Rensselaer 7" Hoosick Falls Rensselaer 6.5"
Jonesville Saratoga 10.5" Clifton Park Saratoga 10"
Gansevoort Saratoga 10"-14.4" Corinth Saratoga 14"
Edinburg Saratoga 13.5" Galway Saratoga 11.5"
Saratoga Springs Saratoga 12" Wilton Saratoga 12.25"
Greenfield Center Saratoga 13" Mechanicville Saratoga 11"
Stillwater Saratoga 9" Schenectady Schenectady 11"
Delanson Schenectady 9"-10.5" Duanesburg Schenectady 11"
Scotia Schenectady 11.25" Niskayuna Schenectady 13"
Fulton Schoharie 12" Cobleskill Schoharie 7.6"
Summit Schoharie 9.5" Jefferson Schoharie 8.5"
West Shokan Ulster 6.8" Saugerties Ulster 7"
Kingston Ulster 6.5" Pottersville Warren 19"
Bolton Landing Warren 13" Glens Falls Warren 12"
Warrensburg Warren 13.7" Whitehall Washington 11.5"
Granville Washington 11.5"-15" Cossayuna Washington 7.75"
Hebron Washington 11" Salem Washington 4.5"
Hudson Falls Washington 14" Argyle Washington 12"
Woodford, VT Bennington 17" Bennington, VT Bennington 4.75"-6"
Danby, VT Rutland 14" West Rutland, VT Rutland 12.5"