Snow, record falling

Philadelphia has one of the nation’s deepest archives of weather data, with snow records dating to 1884.

By our count, only in six winters has Philadelphia recorded three snowfalls of 6 inches or better officially.

Given the rather robust start to today’s snow, we have to believe that the winter of 2013-14 is about to become No. 7.

To recap, an official 8.6 inches fell on Dec. 8, and 8.2 on Jan. 2-3, the earliest recorded date for two 6-plus storms in a winter.

Never have three snows of a half-foot or greater fallen before Feb. 1 in Philadelphia, but it looks like that’s about to change.

The old standard was the memorable winter of 1960-61, when the hat trick was accomplished by Feb. 4. This winter already has set a record for the earliest date for two 6-plus storms.

The latest thinking is that this one will top out in the 8 to 12 range, with the worst of it coming later this afternoon and this evening.

The other winters that had three 6-plus snowfalls were 1898-99, 1909-10, 1957-58, 1960-61, 1977-78, and 2009-10.

Philadelphia never has had four 6-plus storms in one winter.