January running to snowiest winter on record
The National Weather Service released a news bulletin on Tuesday indicating that the winter of 2014 so far is running an inch-by-inch match with the snowiest winter on record, 1981-82. That winter, 61.1 inches of snow was recorded in Fort Wayne.
"A little more than halfway through the 2013-2014 winter, Fort Wayne Airport has already seen more snow than they would an entire normal winter," said the NWS news release.
The information indicated that through Tuesday, the local airport has recorded 33.2 inches of snow for the winter season, the same amount at this point in 1982. The normal snowfall for an entire winter in this area is 26.2 inches.
So far, the amount of snow recorded to date for this month has been 23.3 inches, just two inches less than the entire month of January, 1978, infamous for the Great Blizzard. The snowiest January occurred in 1982, 29.5 inches, followed by 25.4 inches in 1918 and 25.4 inches in 1978.
It has been 10 years since there was an extremely snowy January. In 2004, 20.3 inches was recorded at the local airport.
And the worst may yet be to come, says National Weather Specialist Rick McCoy.
"The cold air is expected to persist at least into the first week of February, if not longer," said McCoy. "During that period of time, well below normal temperatures are forecast for the area and above normal precipitation, which probably means a lot more snow to come."
In the near future, several Alberta Clippers (disturbances that originate in Alberta during Arctic air outbursts and ride the jet stream into the Midwest) are scheduled to cross the area, especially this weekend, said McCoy.
"Several disturbances are predicted to cross the area this weekend," McCoy said. "Currently, the National Weather Service is currently saying for a three-day period beginning on Friday as, 'snow and blowing snow,' with several inches of snow possible over the long period.
“Wind seems to be a key in the forecast for this weekend,” added McCoy. “The weather service said that each clipper will bring down another burst of Arctic air with it with plenty of wind pushing the snow and cold around.”
In addition, temperatures are predicted to remain extremely cold, mainly in single digits through the middle of next week.
"For those who like the term, 'old-fashioned winter,' we've got one," said McCoy. "And it doesn't appear like the pattern is going to shift very soon."
McCoy recommended that area residents continue to check on elderly that they are aware of and keep their winter supply kit in their cars, as well as their homes.
“It seems like that blizzard-like snowstorm a couple of weeks ago was a wake-up call,” said McCoy. “Area businesses are saying that customers seem to be keeping up with purchasing supplies rather than waiting for a certain crisis to come.”
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