Philadelphia has one of the nation’s deepest archives of weather data, with snow records dating to 1884.
By our count, only in six winters has Philadelphia recorded three snowfalls of 6 inches or better officially.
Given the rather robust start to today’s snow, we have to believe that the winter of 2013-14 is about to become No. 7.
To recap, an official 8.6 inches fell on Dec. 8, and 8.2 on Jan. 2-3, the earliest recorded date for two 6-plus storms in a winter.
Never have three snows of a half-foot or greater fallen before Feb. 1 in Philadelphia, but it looks like that’s about to change.
The old standard was the memorable winter of 1960-61, when the hat trick was accomplished by Feb. 4. This winter already has set a record for the earliest date for two 6-plus storms.
The latest thinking is that this one will top out in the 8 to 12 range, with the worst of it coming later this afternoon and this evening.
The other winters that had three 6-plus snowfalls were 1898-99, 1909-10, 1957-58, 1960-61, 1977-78, and 2009-10.
Philadelphia never has had four 6-plus storms in one winter.