Friday, December 16, 2011

Weather History: 1948 NFL Championship Snowfall

63 years ago on Monday, the NFL Championship Game was played in Philadelphia at Connie Mack Stadium (then known as Shibe Park) between the Eagles and the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals.   Former Governor Ed Rendell would likely approve of the conditions on the field as 7.4" of snow fell in Philadelphia during the day in one of the larger December snowfalls in the city's history and the largest snowfall to occur for an NFL Championship.

The above video, from YouTube, is some pretty cool footage of the prep going into the game and of the snow-strewn game itself.   There wasn't much action during the game -- only one touchdown was scored in the NFL Championship game that year and it was by Eagles' Running Back Steve Van Buren -- in what amounted to a 7-0 victory for the Birds over the Cardinals.  Offensively, the game was brutal...from a fan standpoint, it was arguably a nasty day in the stands as temperatures hovered around 30 degrees for much of the game with winds sustained in at around 15 miles per hour.   However, the game was not postponed despite the less-than-ideal weather.   In fact, Van Buren was almost late to the game because he thought the game was going to be canceled.    36,309 fans showed up despite the difficult travel to the game as promises of admission if you helped shovel the stadium (yep, free football) helped spike attendance.

Meteorologically, the storm organized from low pressure off of the Carolinas that developed from energy that transferred from a dying Midwestern low pressure system.  This Carolina low worked up the coast and spread snow across the Mid-Atlantic and into Philadelphia during the morning hours on the 19th.   Snow reached Philadelphia by 7 AM, picking up in intensity through the day before ending late in the evening.  Snowfall totals reached over a foot in parts of Connecticut from this storm and reached 16 inches at Central Park.   The "Blizzard Bowl"  storm used to hold the daily record for snowfall for Philadelphia on December 19th but another storm came along in 2009 and wiped this storm off the map.