Snow record in jeopardy

Some ripening natives may recall the snowy, cold winters of 1977-78 and '78-'79, which set a snow-total standard unmatched in the 123-year period of record.

Bulked up by a succession of powerful coastal storms, the '77-'78 snows measured an official 54.9 inches at Philadelphia International Airport.

The additional 40.2 inches the following winter upped the two-season total to 95.1, the most ever for two successive winters.

You may have read that last winter's snows in Philadelphia were historic. The official single-season total, 78.7 inches, was more than had fallen during any two consecutive winters with the lone exception of those '70s over-performers.

In December, 12.7 inches was measured at the National Park/airport official tandem. (Of course, 12.4 came in the post-Christmas storm, but the 0.3 that fell on Dec. 16 may have been more memorable for anyone who tried to drive home that evening.)

The two-season figure now stands at 91.4, or a mere 3.7 inches from the record.

Rounding out the top 5 two-year snow totals were 1916-17 and 1917-1918, 78.5 inches, evenly distributed; '95-96 and '96-'97, 78.1, all but 12.8 of that in the first winter, and 1960-61 and '61-62, 77.9, 49.1 of that in '60-'61.

Snow is still a possibility this weekend, but the models continue to disagree, a leitmotif of this winter. We'll keep you apprised.

Continue Reading