Wednesday, February 10, 2016

POSTED: Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 11:49 AM
Icicles along Lake Michigan; bitter cold heading this way. (KIICHIRO SATO / AP)

As we’ve posted, if you like snow but don’t particularly like the cold, this has been your winter to date. Ironically, in the end it will rank among the warmest and among the snowier, a rare combination.

And while Tuesday's snow falls at the rate of about an inch a month, and we wait for whatever else is coming while the weathermen sweat bullets, we will speculate on another potential irony:

During one of the warmest winters on record, Philadelphia could end its prolonged zero-less  streak. Single digits are looking like a sure thing.

POSTED: Friday, February 5, 2016, 11:17 AM
Shoveling in Kensington after mega-storm; temperatures are up, so are snow totals. ((ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer))

If you like snow, but aren't a fan of cold, this is your dream winter.

Even if temperatures for the rest of February average near normal – and the extended outlooks indicate they’ll finish above for the month – the Dec. 1-March 1 period will end up among the top 5 warmest in Philadelphia.

Yet with 1.2 inches reported Friday at the National Park/Philadelphia International Airport station – some places had up to 4 -- the official seasonal snow total bumped to 24.1.

POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 4:16 PM
Most likely snowfall overnight. (National Weather Service)

Computer models have been waffling on this all week, but now it appears that some snow is going to fall overnight.

The National Weather Service has just posted a "winter weather advisory" for the entire region for 1 to 3 inches of snow.

It says the precipitation might start as rain but change to snow overnight and continue until about daybreak.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 11:32 AM
Traffic crosses the Arlington Street bridge over the Truckee River in downtown Reno, Nev., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, as the waters reached their highest level since December 2012 following another weekend storm brought more than a foot of snow to Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts. The river was down to a trickle in spots last summer due to lingering drought. ((AP Photo / Scott Sonner))

The official temperature at Philadelphia International Airport has reached 62, matching the record for a Feb. 3, set a decade ago -- so what is this talk about snow?

Gary Szatkowski, the boss at the Mount Holly National Weather Service office, tweeted out a “worst case” snow map that paints 3 inches of snow along the I-95 corridor, and 4 at the Shore, Thursday night into Friday.

Don’t take that too seriously, at least just yet. If you scroll down the Mount Holly office’s fine “winter weather” page, you’ll see that that chances of any flake-sights are 50-50, and just 7 percent for anything greater than 2 inches.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 3:45 PM
Michael and Donna West of Downingtown pass off their cell phone after photographing winter storm damage to the beach in North Wildwood Sunday, January 24, 2016. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

After shutting down one of the nation’s densest population corridors with record snowfalls, one might infer from the recent long-range forecasts that winter is feeling a bit winded.

The landscape is about to revert to its pre-Jan. 22 state with the vanishing of the snowpack remnants.

Philadelphia temperatures will make a run at the record Wednesday -- 62, set 10 years ago -- and rather than winter-storm warnings, the National Weather Service says heavy rains and melting snow likely will set off at least some minor flooding.

POSTED: Monday, February 1, 2016, 12:45 PM
Coming soon to a stream near you; melting snow poses flood threat.

During the weekend we were surprised to see grass reappearing in Rittenhouse Square, a sure indicator that the Great Melt has accelerated.

Still, away from the Center City heat island, the snowpack has some life left, with generally 6 to 10 inches of it hanging tough north and west of the city as of Monday morning, according to the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center.

Of more significance, that snow was holding from 1.2 to 1.9 inches of water, and the National Weather Service advises that it could all liquefy in a hurry at midweek, setting off some  “minor” and perhaps “moderate” flooding.

POSTED: Thursday, January 28, 2016, 5:42 PM
Snow-buried cemetery in Arlington, Va., from weekend storm; feds confirm, it was big. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

By any measure, placing a rank on a winter storm is an imprecise exercise, but the government does take a crack at it.

And by the government’s metrics, last weekend’s storm ranked as a “Category 4” on a scale of 5, in terms of snow amounts and total population affected.

A “4” qualifies as “crippling,” and Philadelphia had not been affected by one of those since January 2005. Yes, we know, bigger snows had occurred since, but we’ll get to that.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 11:44 AM
George Washington defies snow in New York after storm; blizzard business picking up. ((AP Photo / Richard Drew))

Blizzards around here are rare events, and the National Weather Service still is trying to figure out if the weekend storm met the requirements – at least three consecutive hours of 35 m.p.h. winds and quarter-mile visibilities.

Around here, the region hasn’t had an official blizzard since Jan. 7, 1996, and that one didn’t meet the criteria at Philadelphia International Airport but won the title upon further review.

Elsewhere, however, the blizzard business has been booming around the country in the last two decades, according to a study by Jill Coleman, a meteorology professor at Ball State University, and co-author Robert Schwartz at the University of Akron.

About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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