From Buffalo to Albany, the October weather can be summed up with one word: diverse. As we get to the cooler weather, the rain can change to snow in a hurry. But what could an inch or two of rain mean in terms of snow?

It seems that people who live in places like Western New York and areas near Lake Ontario or Lake Erie know this better than most. In fact, it was 17 years ago that the Buffalo area was hit by the October Surprise Storm. The cooler air is here and so is the rain.

There are some forecasts that were calling for the Great Lakes region to start dropping moisture on the surrounding areas. Some in Western New York were predicted to receive as much as 2 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday. If the temperatures dipped, as they did 17 years ago, it would be equivalent to lots of snow!

What does
20 inches of rain mean

On average, thirteen inches of snow equals one inch of rain in the US, although this ratio can vary from two inches for sleet to nearly fifty inches for very dry, powdery snow under certain conditions. What is a nor'easter?


Raise your hand if you remember the "October Surprise" storm from a few years back. Those of us who live in Western New York certainly recall the way the heavy, wet snow blasted us and caused mayhem.


But did you know that they gave that storm a name? I guess I only knew it as the October Surprise. However, it was given a name from the National Weather Service.

It was called Lake Storm Aphid by the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, in accordance with their naming scheme for lake-effect snowstorms for that year, which related to insects, though locals never used that terminology and have simply referred to it as the October Surprise



As we approach the 17th anniversary of that storm, we are sitting under the sunshine here in Buffalo with a high temperature expected near 85 degrees!



We know what happens next. The warm air will move out and the winds will start to pick up. If you are not getting ready now, there is no doubt you will get caught off guard. The best plan of action would be to put the snow brush in the car or truck and start thinking about snow tires and shovels. It can't hurt to be prepared.

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

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