Boston’s snow record: Enough yet?

Here’s an update for my dear readers. You know how I said no adversity builds character like snow adversity? (Well, something like that.) Well, Boston has now officially busted the record. Although the snowfall in the metro area this past Sunday was uneven, apparently what counts is that Logan Airport logged in 2.9 inches, giving the city an inch beyond the previous record set in 1995-96, the year when it seemed that half the people on my block in Cambridge went out (once they could get out their front doors) and bought Subarus so they could drive out of drifts in the future. I was one of them.

By pure happenstance, and no doubt because I’m a glutton for punishment, I was back in Boston over the past weekend, so I was present when the city set a new record for “seasonal snowfall” (July to June). 108.6 inches, folks!

There are so many ways to break records. By the end of February, Boston had already broken the previous record for “winter snowfall” (December through February) by nearly 8 inches, and the previous record for total monthly snowfall: 64.9 inches this February, compared to 43.3 inches in January 2005. And February of course is three days shorter. This was the February that was: an average of over 2.3 inches of snow per day.

Being both character-pumped and just a tad nuts, Bostonians are actually proud of all this—not that they had anything to do with it, really, except for helping to put too much CO2 into the atmosphere along with the rest of the country.

If you want an animated comparison of the seasonal snowfalls in Boston, you can find it on USA Today. We won’t drag in other places; there are parts of the world that can chalk up a lot more, almost any old year, than this. But this is Boston’s personal best, if I may take a liberty with that phrase. There are a few in Boston still gleeful about the possibility that more may come down (remember the April Fool’s Day blizzard in 1997, Bostonians?). But I think, until the last of those huge snowpiles dwindle into mud and a few crocuses pop up, the snow enthusiasts may keep their hopes a little quiet.

And next winter, look out Florida, Arizona, and points south! Can’t tell you how many people I’ve overheard planning winter migrations for next year.

And a happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone—with congratulations to the city of Boston for a more inclusive St. Paddy’s Day Parade!

For more information:
Want to know how global warming could cause colder winters and heavier snowfalls? Try these sources:Union of Concerned Scientists, “It’s Cold and My Car is Buried in Snow. Is Global Warming Really Happening?”; Joe Romm, “The Climate Science behind New England’s Historic Blizzard.”
Did you know that the National Weather Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the federal government) relies on a network of volunteers to get accurate measurements of snowfall, and of other precipitation? You can look at the official instructions for making snowfall measurements, or some basic practical guidelines. And then, if you’re interested, you can volunteer to become a precipitation spotter.

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