Snow and more snow: 2013-2014 snow season recap

June 19, 2014 - 4:48pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow in Echo Lake Park

A snowy scene from Echo Lake Park in Mountainside from February 2014. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The record book on the winter of 2013-2014 officially closes on June 30. However, given the recent streak of hot weather, and the summer solstice this Saturday, we're confident it's safe to run the calculations on seasonal snow totals a few days early. Indeed, it will be hard for many New Jersey residents to forget this very active, cold, and snowy winter.

From first flake to last, this past season ranked 7th snowiest of the past 120 years (Table 1). The statewide average snowfall was 54.3”, which is 28.4” (or 210%) above average. The most snow fell up north but ranked lowest of the three regions (14th highest) due to its normally higher seasonal average. The south had the least snow but ranked 9th highest (Table 2). This was only the third season on record in which each of the three divisions recorded over 50"; the other two occurred in 1898-99 and 1957-58. All regions shared the snow load similarly through January. Snow was more plentiful in northern and central areas in February. The situation was reversed - exceedingly so - in March, when three accumulating events impacted the south but missed the other two regions.

Rank Season Snowfall
1.) 1995-1996 62.8"
2.) 1898-1899 58.1"
3.) 2009-2010 57.7"
4.) 1966-1967 57.0"
5.) 1957-1958 55.9"
6.) 1960-1961 54.6"
7.) 2013-2014 54.3"
8.) 1904-1905 54.2"
9.) 2002-2003 50.5"
10.) 1977-1978 47.6"

Table 1. Top 10 statewide seasonal snowfall totals (out of 120 seasons since record-keeping began in 1894-95).

Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
NJ 54.3" 7 25.9" 0.0" 0.0" 8.0" 17.2" 22.7" 6.2" 0.1"
North 57.3" 14 34.3" 0.0" 0.1" 10.4" 15.4" 31.2" 0.1" 0.1"
Central 56.4" 6 28.5" 0.0" 0.0" 9.4" 17.4" 29.1" 0.4" 0.2"
South 51.5" 4 19.8" 0.0" 0.0" 6.0" 18.1" 14.9" 12.5" 0.0"

Table 2. Seasonal and monthly snowfall totals and rankings (from the highest total since 1894-95) for New Jersey and its three sub-regions. The northern region includes the counties of Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson, and Essex. The central region has Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Union, and Monmouth. Burlington, Ocean, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May encompass the southern region.

Seasonal snowfall was commonly in the 50”-60” range over much of NJ, the exceptions being lower within about 20 miles of the Atlantic and Delaware Bay coasts (Figure 1). Scattered locations received from 60”-70” with a few higher sweet spots. These were either higher elevation locations up north or areas that were in the crosshairs of heavy snow bands on more than one occasion (witness the Freehold area of Monmouth County). All counties except Cape May and Cumberland (missing a reliable seasonal station total) had one or more reporting station with over 50” for the season (Table 3). Not surprisingly, topping the list for the entire state was the 77.7” total at the High Point Ranger Station, with an elevation of about 1500 feet.

There were 20 snowfall events during the season where one or more locations received 2.0” or more, with six of these having a location(s) receiving 10.0” or more. This is the largest number of such events since the ONJSC began gathering snowfall observations from a large number of stations about 10 years ago. The first event was on December 8 and the last on March 25-26. The largest storm was on February 12-14 (Figure 2). All but coastal areas had more than 8.0”. Other storms had eyes focused on the north (February 3), central (January 21-22), or south (March 16-17).

Seasonal snowfall map

Figure 1. Snowfall totals for the 2013/2014 winter.

County Max. Snowfall Town
Atlantic 54.3" Estell Manor
Bergen 65.6" Tenafly
Burlington 64.7" Mt. Laurel
Camden 61.1" Somerdale
Cape May 44.4" Woodbine
Cumberland missing
Essex 71.0" Cedar Grove
Gloucester 59.9" Pitman
Hudson 62.1" Harrison
Hunterdon 75.3" Bethlehem Twp.
Mercer 60.3" Lawrence Twp.
Middlesex 56.4" New Brunswick
Monmouth 73.4" Freehold
Morris 67.6" Mine HIll
Ocean 51.5" Berkeley Twp.
Passaic 61.1" Little Falls
Salem 64.7" Pittsgrove
Somerset 63.8" Bernards Twp.
Sussex 77.7" High Point
Union 57.9" New Providence
Warren 62.9" White Twp.

Table 3. The largest county seasonal snowfall totals (first to last measurable snow) for the 2013-2014 season.

February 12 to 14 snowfall map

Figure 2. Snowfall during the February 12-14, 2014 storm, NJ’s largest snowstorm of the 2013-2014 season.

Dan Zarrow and Mathieu Gerbush also contributed to this report.