Saturday, December 20, 2014

Snow: Another 'storm'

Amazing run of "penny" snows continues.

Snow: Another 'storm'

Abdullah Bamajboor, 18, a Saudi exchange student, takes his first photos of snow at Temple.
Abdullah Bamajboor, 18, a Saudi exchange student, takes his first photos of snow at Temple.

At the halfway point of February, snow has been observed officially in Philadelphia on 10 of the 14 calendar days.

Yet not one February snow has been able to topple the reigning snow champion of the winter of 2012-13 -- the 1.5 inches measured at Philadelphia International Airport/National Park on Jan. 25.

And that one was almost a freak of nature, squeezed out of a paltry amount of precipitation.

Once again this moring, Jan. 25 has emerged as the leader. The official total at the airport for the latest round was 0.2 inches.

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Up to 2.5 was reported in the suburban counties, and 3 at Fort Dix, but snow had a hard time sticking to roads after daytime temperatures shot into the 40s and could not get back to freezing during the snowfall.

As of today, the seasonal total in Philadelphia stands at an even 7 inches. Thus the total for the last two winters is still an inch shy of a foot.

This comes after two winters in which over 10 feet of snow was measured in Philadelphia.

But if you've been around here long enough, you know those winters more anomalous, perhaps not to be repeated in the lifetimes of anyone reading this.

The Big Ones are the exceptions in the period of record. As we've noted, from Feb. 7, 1967 until Jan. 20, 1978, not a single Philadelphia snowfall measured more than 7 inches.

Winters in which the seasonal total didn't crack double-digits aren't all that unusual.

In the period of snow record in Philadelphia, dating to the winter of 1884-85, 17 such winters have occurred - about 13 percent of the total.

The sheer quantity of snowfalls this season has been impressive, given the total accumulation. We've counted 23 days in which at least a "trace" was observed at the airport.

The record for such futility, however, may never be equaled. In the winter of 1972-73, snow was observed on 21 days.

Not a bit of it was measureable, making it the only winter on record without at least 0.1 inches of snow.

Never have so many contributed so little.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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