The Top 10 Worst Snowstorms in Syracuse, NY: A Chronicle of Winter Fury

Syracuse, New York, is no stranger to winter’s icy embrace, often finding itself at the mercy of heavy snowfall and bone-chilling temperatures. Over the years, the city has weathered numerous snowstorms, some of which have left an indelible mark on its history. In this exploration, we delve into the top 10 worst snowstorms in Syracuse, unraveling the tales of winter fury that have shaped the resilience of this upstate New York community.

1. The Blizzard of 1993

The Blizzard of 1993 stands as one of the most notorious snowstorms in Syracuse’s history. Striking in March, a month when residents typically begin to anticipate the arrival of spring, this storm defied expectations. With over 40 inches of snowfall in just a few days, the city was paralyzed. The weight of the snow caused roofs to collapse, and transportation ground to a halt. The Blizzard of 1993 left an enduring impression on the collective memory of Syracuse, emphasizing the unpredictability of Mother Nature.

2. The Great Lakes Storm of 1977

In January 1977, the Great Lakes Storm unleashed its fury on Syracuse, burying the city under a staggering amount of snow. The storm was part of a larger system that affected multiple states, earning it the moniker “The Great Lakes Storm.” Syracuse faced severe snowdrifts, reaching heights that made roads impassable and buried houses. The storm left lasting scars, leading to increased preparedness for subsequent winter weather events.

3. The Storm of the Century (1993)

The Storm of the Century, occurring in March 1993, was a colossal weather event that impacted the entire eastern United States. Syracuse, situated in the storm’s path, experienced intense snowfall and blizzard conditions. The storm set records for low temperatures and snow accumulation, creating a winter landscape that challenged the city’s infrastructure and emergency response systems. Residents grappled with the aftermath for weeks, underscoring the importance of resilience in the face of extreme weather.

4. The Snowpocalypse of 2010

The Snowpocalypse of 2010 brought Syracuse to a standstill as the city faced a relentless onslaught of snow. With snowfall rates exceeding two inches per hour, snowplows struggled to keep pace, leading to widespread road closures and transportation disruptions. Schools, businesses, and government offices shut down, emphasizing the severity of the storm and its impact on daily life.

5. The White Juan Storm of 2004

Known as the “White Juan” storm, this weather event in 2004 took its name from the fact that it was the second significant snowstorm to hit the region that year. The storm dumped heavy snow on Syracuse, leading to power outages, transportation chaos, and widespread closures. The consecutive punches from winter storms in such a short span underscored the city’s vulnerability to extreme weather and the need for robust preparation.

6. The November Surprise of 1950

The November Surprise of 1950 caught Syracuse off guard with an unexpected and unusually early snowstorm. The city experienced heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, causing chaos on the roads and disrupting daily life. This early winter onslaught served as a reminder that nature’s timetable is unpredictable, necessitating a year-round readiness for adverse weather conditions.

7. The Valentine’s Day Storm of 2007

In 2007, Syracuse faced a memorable Valentine’s Day Storm that left residents grappling with more than just matters of the heart. Heavy snowfall blanketed the city, creating hazardous conditions and prompting widespread closures. This storm, occurring on a day typically associated with love and warmth, showcased the capricious nature of winter weather in upstate New York.

8. The Big Snow of 1966

The Big Snow of 1966 earned its name by delivering an immense amount of snowfall over a short period. Syracuse found itself buried under over 40 inches of snow, challenging the city’s ability to cope with such extreme conditions. The storm highlighted the importance of continuous improvement in snow removal techniques and emergency response measures.

9. The Winter Storms of 2019

The winter storms of 2019 brought sustained periods of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures to Syracuse. While not a single event, the cumulative impact of multiple storms over the winter months tested the resilience of the city’s infrastructure and its residents. The storms of 2019 served as a modern-day reminder of the ongoing challenges posed by winter weather in the region.

10. The Ice Storm of 2003

While not solely a snowstorm, the Ice Storm of 2003 left an indelible mark on Syracuse, coating the city in a thick layer of ice. The weight of the ice caused widespread power outages and significant damage to trees and infrastructure. The event showcased the diverse nature of winter weather threats faced by Syracuse, with ice storms proving just as disruptive as heavy snowfall.


Syracuse, nestled in the snowbelt region of upstate New York, has weathered a myriad of winter storms throughout its history. From blizzards and snowpocalypses to ice storms and surprises, each event has shaped the city’s ability to confront and overcome the challenges posed by extreme winter weather. These top 10 worst snowstorms in Syracuse stand as a testament to the resilience of its residents, the continuous improvement of its infrastructure, and the unpredictable nature of winter in the heart of the Snowbelt.