Snow covers as decorative and bountiful as this one are unusual enough, particularly in March, around here.
On Friday morning, we witnessed one of the most spectacular daybreaks we’ve even seen in the Philadelphia city-state.
And tonight the region will get that rare confluence – a profound snow cover, reasonably clear and vapor-free sky, and a virtually full moon.
As of 1 p.m., officially 4.5 inches of snow had been measured by Philadelphia’s official National Weather Service observer, who actually is in National Park, Gloucester County, as loyal readers well know.
Snow continues to fall heavily, and Joe Miketta, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, says some more heavy-hitter bands could ripple through the region before everything comes to an end late in the day.
Snowfall rates in the immediate Philadelphia area have exceeded an inch an hour, and even though the snow got going a good two hours later than anticipated, it appears likely to come closer to the higher end of the forecast range.
Although the snow took its time getting started, snowfall rates in parts of the region have been astonishing, up to 2 inches an hour, according to the National Weather Service.
So far 6 inches has been reported in Radnor Township, Delaware County, and it didn’t start snowing out that way until just after daybreak.
Right now a band of heavy snow has set up over the region, a shade to the northwest of what was expected, said Jim Bunker at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.
Assuming the forecasts hold, by the end of the workweek Philadelphia will have had measureable snow on more days this season than it did in the record snowy winter of 2009-2010.
Weather-savvy reader Alan Weiss – who keeps a scrupulous database and has never been known to be wrong in these matters -- informs that Sunday marked the 15th day this season of 0.1 inches or more.
That’s rather astonishing given that Philadelphia’s official snow total stands at a mere 15.4 inches, and let’s say you don’t have to know advanced calculus to figure what that comes out to per snow day.
AccuWeather’s seasonal forecast issued in October absolutely nailed the winter of 2014-15 – at least according to AccuWeather.
Granted, it did capture some highlights, but we have reason to believe that nature's secrets remain safe.
We will discuss our issues with some of specific AccuWeather claims momentarily.
The world weather community keeps track of weather records by calendar day and monthly increments, imposing an order about which nature is utterly indifferent.
February is particularly troublesome in that scheme, given that every four years it has an extra day, which is more likely to be warmer than the other 28 days of the month, for an obvious reason.
By the end of February the sun will have gained more power than in any other month between solstices, even though it happens to be the shortest one.
In all 40, records were tied or broken in the East on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
In addition to ones in Scranton, Mount Pocono (-15 Fahrenheit), and Allentown, stations reporting new lows included those at Dulles, Kennedy, and LaGuardia Airports; Islip, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Hartford; Binghamton, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt. (-19 Fahrenheit); Portland, and Concord, N.H. (-21).
As mentioned, officially the low at Philadelphia International Airport was a relatively balmy 7, but for our money, the tenacity of this February cold is far more impressive than any individual record.
Over the years restaurant owners have complained to us that a snow forecast – regardless of what actually happens – is poison to their business.
Fred Kellermann, chef-owner of Elements, in Haddon Heights, might have come up with the antidote.
As we and others reported last week, for every inch of snow Kellermann was offering his Saturday-night customers $2 in certificates for return meals.