‘Snowmageddon’ buried Pennsylvania, Mid-Atlantic 10 years ago


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Ten years ago, this month was a winter lover’s dream. Two major snowstorms helped produce our snowiest month on record, which still stands today.

It started Feb. 5, 2010, when an area of low pressure moved north and stalled over the Mid-Atlantic. Heavy snow persisted for hours that Friday night. Meteorologist Brett Thackara was tracking it all the following morning.

Around two feet of snow fell across southern Pennsylvania from that storm alone. Harrisburg officially registered 18 inches.

As clean-up began, a second storm was brewing the following Wednesday. This one brought an additional 10 to 20 inches of snow to the Midstate, and the snow wasn’t done there.

By the end of the month, Harrisburg racked up over 42 inches of snow, making it the snowiest month on record.

And it wasn’t just here in the Midstate. Philadelphia got almost 43 inches, which put it as their second snowiest month. On the other side of the state, Pittsburgh saw almost 49 inches of snow, easily making it their snowiest month on record.

So why was that month so active? It has to do with the North Atlantic oscillation, which is a measure of how fast westerly winds blow over the northern Atlantic Ocean.

When this index is negative, westerly winds slow down and cold, stormy weather gets locked in over the northeast. February 2010 was one of the lowest numbers in the last 20 years.

Not surprising, the index has been positive for most of this winter, a warmer and less-snowy signal for the northeastern United States.

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