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THURSDAY JANUARY 11 - REMEMBERING THE BLIZZARD OF '96: PART 2
Last night I looked back at the Blizzard of January 1996. Tonight I'd like
to "clean up" one other detail about that storm.
Officially, that storm dumped 30.7 inches of snow on Philadelphia, but even
that number is controversial because of the way the snow was measured. It wasn't
done in the standard way, which is basically just going out with a yardstick every
six hours. But during the Blizzard of '96, it was so windy and the snow was being
blown around so much that the observers at the Philadelphia airport used an alternate
procedure - they collected the falling snow, melted it, and then used a table to
estimate the snowfall based on the amount of meltwater and the temperature. And
they did this every hour, instead of every six hours. This procedure would tend
to overestimate the snowfall.
But having said that, other nearby observers who measured the snow in the standard
way came up with fairly similar numbers. For example, here at The Franklin
Institute we measured 28 inches. So 30.7 inches was probably "in the ballpark," and
the controversy about the exact amount of snow shouldn't at all diminish the historic
stature of that storm.