Tiny Village Tops Nation’s Snowfall Charts With 21 Feet

COPENHAGEN, N.Y. (AP) -
Heavy snow on Friday covers the village of Copenhagen, N.Y., the snowiest place in America. (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Glenn Coin)
Heavy snow on Friday covers the village of Copenhagen, N.Y., the snowiest place in America. (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Glenn Coin)

The snowiest place in America is Bill Hanchek’s back yard, just outside the tiny northern New York village of Copenhagen.

More than 21 feet has fallen on Hanchek’s measuring station behind his house this season. That’s more than any other spot in the United States as of Friday, including the Rockies and Alaska, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It’s more than usual,” conceded Hanchek, who has been the official federal snow measurer for 23 years. “It’s not unusually large yet, though.”

Hanchek, who became a National Weather Service volunteer spotter after his wife, Kathy, saw a notice at the post office, recorded 358 inches — nearly 30 feet — in the winter of 2008-2009. Last winter, it was 325 inches.

Heavy snow on Friday covers the village of Copenhagen, N.Y., the snowiest place in America. (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Glenn Coin)
Heavy snow on Friday covers the village of Copenhagen, N.Y., the snowiest place in America. (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Glenn Coin)

Copenhagen, with a population of 801, lies in New York’s Tug Hill region, which is perennially the snowiest area east of the Rockies. Tug Hill rises from the eastern end of Lake Ontario, and cold winter winds that whip across the lake pick up moisture and dump aptly named lake-effect snow, sometimes several feet per storm.

Seven of the top ten snowiest places in the country are in New York. That includes Copenhagen’s Tug Hill sister city, Redfield, at 227.7 inches, and several areas near Buffalo that were slammed with a massive-lake effect storm in November.

Copenhagen always gets a lot of snow. This year, though, bitterly cold temperatures have kept that snow from melting. There’s still more than 40 inches on Hanchek’s yard.

Village Mayor Kenneth Clarke said it’s been a challenge keeping streets and sidewalks clear this winter. “It’s been just crazy snow,” he said.