Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary Thundersnowstorm!

It wasn't long ago that we were cracking backs, popping out shoulders, and digging ourselves out from large dumpings of snow.  Our last big snowstorm in Philadelphia occurred a year ago today, bringing 15.1" of thumping to Philadelphia, with as much as 17" in some sections of the city.

Thunder, lightning, and a boatload of snow accompanied this storm system as it moved through in two waves...the first during the morning rush hour on Wednesday morning, bringing a rather nasty commute in many places and sending some school buses back home with kids as a few districts changed their minds on school while the snow blitzed through.   Wave number two, moving in during the evening hours, brought the majority of snow in a six hour thump and was accompanied by the thunder and lightning show as the storm system rolled through.  This low had originated in Texas, pushed east to Tennessee before a secondary low developed near Cape Hatteras.  That second low lifted northeast and became the dominant low pressure system in rapid fashion.  That explosive development helped fuel the large dumping the snow but also the instability needed to generate thunder.

Snowfall totals (see them above, with a full list here) reached over a foot in many spots in the Philly metro, immediate South Jersey, Wilmington, and into Southeast Pennsylvania...with our region generally in a bullseye swath of ten to twenty inches that extended back into Maryland and northeast into Southern New England.

That snowstorm was the second in a five week window that hit the Philly area, with the Boxing Day storm the front-end storm system for the region.   Between the two storms, over 27" of snow fell in a winter that totaled 44", bringing Philadelphia its second back-to-back winter of 40" or more of snow.