Snow -- Savor before shoveling

The morning snow reports are coming in, with totals in the immediate Philadelphia area and just to the south ranging from the ridiculous to the incredible.

As of 8 a.m., 17 inches was measured officially at Philadelphia International Airport, with fat flakes still flying. Elsewhere, from Philadelphia on south, totals ranged from 15 to 20 inches.

You may never see this again in a Philadelphia winter. The airport total is a milestone: Never in the history of official recordkeeping, which began in 1884, has Philadelphia has recorded two mega-snowfalls of 17-plus inches in the same season.

It looks like the bulk of the accumulating snow should end by noon, said Joe Miketta, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, but the storm still has a shot at matching the 23.2 airport total of Dec. 19-20.

As forecast, the snow has run into a dry wall to the north, with only an inch or 2 in North Jersey. Meanwhile Delaware is weighing in with 20-plus totals, with blizzard conditions in some areas, Miketta said. Embedded in the general trend are widespread variations in accumulations from town to town, the result of bands of heavy snow that had a special pick on some places.

Otherwise, it will not be a particularly pleasant day for shoveling. It won't be as heavy, but snow is expected to persist into the afternoon, with temperatures in the 20s and a biting north wind 20 to 25 blow snow back upon the walkway you just cleared.