Part of SUNY Oswego alumni’s bragging rights resides in having conquered the (sometimes) inclement weather, particularly the snowy, cold winters, on campus. But the dramatic weather and lakefront campus also make the college the perfect place for students to learn in a world-class meteorology program. Plus, nothing brings a campus together like being snowed in or blown around by the (occasional) stiff wind off the lake. What follows are a few stories about severe weather and the faculty and alumni who forecast and cover them.
Kimberly Newman ’09 is a meteorologist at WTOL 11/FOX in Toledo, Ohio.
“My greatest weather memory from SUNY Oswego was of the waterspouts that used to form over Lake Ontario. My meteorology class of 2009 had access to the roof of Piez Hall, and we would climb the rickety stairs and ladder to get up there at least a few times a day. I learned so much about forecasting for the Great Lakes region from my time spent on that roof—that’s probably why I still work along the lake shores today!”
“Of course I was—and still am—a big fan of lake-effect snows. I can remember one moment in class when a waterspout was spotted out on the lake … nobody asked for permission … we all got up, ran out of the classroom and got onto the roof at Piez Hall. The waterspout was wrapped in ’snow,’ and no one seemed to care that it was 15 degrees, with the wind whipping in February … until about 3 minutes later.”
“My freshman year and senior year there was heavy lake-effect snow for several days with classes cancelled. I was the meteorology club president my senior year when we held the first Lake Effect Conference. We even had all sorts of lake-effect weather (waterspouts, graupel) that weekend. Couldn’t ask for a better place to study the weather!”
“We walked outside (Swiss Village, a collection of cottages rented to students on Route 104), and there was 4 feet of level snow that had happened in the night. We used a broom to poke around and find the car because we were afraid to use a shovel and dent it. It took days to dig our neighbors out; there were no plows coming to the rescue.”
“While the Blizzard of ’93 is memorable along with all the snow events in my time at Oswego, a unique event occurred the following year. In May 1994, there was an annular eclipse of the sun, and it was decided that we should have a picnic/barbecue outside of Piez Hall. The weather was beautiful and sunny. We had a great view of the eclipse and some good food, too.”
“My most memorable weather moment at SUNY Oswego was driving through a lake-effect snow band with my friend one evening during my junior year. The snow started coming down so heavily that we couldn’t see anything. We couldn’t see the road, the shoulder … we had to come to a complete stop in the middle of the road and just sit there and wait for it to end. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, but it also showed me how fast conditions could change during a lake-effect snowstorm.”
“After a stormy night, which included thundersnow (a first for me) I looked out my window of my apartment and saw heaps and heaps of snow and a ‘snow blower truck’ blowing snow out of the back into a dump truck following behind it. So much snow that had fallen the night before that a plow would have just pushed it onto the sidewalks, and so this monster snow blower on a dump truck frame was clearing the streets. I knew after seeing that, Oswego was the school for me.”
Read more about SUNY Oswego’s advanced Meteorology program in Meteorology Program Advances In Step With Technology.