Saturday, August 1, 2015

Winter: Inching toward record?

It's beginning to look a lot like last winter.

Winter: Inching toward record?


Those who shoveled through the historic winter of 2009-10 may be under the impression that this winter seems like a repeat.

Actually, so far this winter has been significantly snowier. Through yesterday, the official Philadelphia seasonal total stood at 37.8 inches.

That's better than a foot -- 12.7 inches -- more than last year at this time. Last year, of course, February famously crowned the region with 44 inches in five days.

Perhaps in this winter January will end up being the high-snow mark, although computer models continue to show a storm threat to coincide with February's arrival.

Last winter's total, 78.7 in Philadelphia, was far and away a record. At least one meteorologist, Henry Margusity at Accu-Weather Inc.,  thinks that record isn't out of reach.

A couple of factors lend weight to that thinking.

In terms of average snowfall, by Jan. 29 Philadelphia typically has had just over a third of its seasonal allotment of around 22 inches.

The chilly, storm-active pattern shows no indication of relenting and is showing signs of bestowing favoritism on the Philadelphia region.

The La Nina event in the tropical Pacific in which waters are cooler than normal over millions of square miles of sea surface remains unusually strong. That anomaly clearly is having some impact on the winter along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastal plain.

Still, an additional 40-plus inches for the rest of the winter would be a stretch. Margusity says don't rule it out.

For now, Philadelphia has set a two-season snow record -- 116.5 inches -- by plenty. 

That total could nudge up to 117 the next two days as a couple of weak clipper systems pass by. Given the current snow cover, you may hardly notice.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
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

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
Also on
letter icon Newsletter