No one is calling it "Record-gate" yet, but when the 1 p.m. official snow total was published, Philadelphia was an achingly 0.4 inches from the all-time seasonal snow record of 65.5.
An anxious region had to wait in unbearable expectation until the next scheduled official report, at 7 p.m., to learn that officially Philadelphia indeed had established a new record, and then some.
It turns out, however, that somehow the 1 p.m. posting from Philadelphia International Airport/National Park, N.J., 8.8 inches, was off by 1.2 inches, said Gary Szatkowski, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly. Add the 1.2, and the new total would have been 66.3, with plenty of snow to chill the champagne.
It was unclear how it happened that the incorrect figure was posted, and Szatkowski said the error wasn't noticed until hours later. Those folks did have a few other things to do yesterday, with the blizzard warnings and all.
After conferring with Tony Gigi, a Mount Holly meteorologist who was on duty yesterday, Szatkowski said the best estimate is that the record had fallen at high noon.
Szatkowski assured that no one at the Mount Holly office had entered the philly.com contest.