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.