A lake-effect snowstorm hammered Erie, Pennsylvania, Christmas Day into Tuesday, shattering not only city records, but also at least one all-time Pennsylvania snowstorm record.
A stationary lake-effect snowband off Lake Erie dumped an incredible 34 inches of snow at Erie Airport on Christmas Day alone, quadrupling its previous record-snowiest Christmas Day – 8.1 inches in 2002 – as well as smashing its all-time snowiest single day on record by over a foot – 20 inches on Nov. 11, 1956.
That heavy snow continued into Wednesday morning, bringing its storm total since 7 p.m. EST Christmas Eve to an incredible 65.1 inches of snow – more than five feet of snow – in about 60 hours.
That’s not a misprint. Erie picked up more snow in less than 36 hours in this event than its previous 13-day snowstorm record.
Needless to say, the 102.1 inches of snow so far in December, through Wednesday, is the city’s snowiest single month on record, crushing the previous record of 66.9 inches in December 1989. This is also more snow in one month than Erie averages in an entire winter season – 101 inches.
This wasn’t just a snowstorm record for the city, however.
According to the National Weather Service office in Cleveland, Erie also shattered the previous Pennsylvania state two-day snowstorm record of 44 inches set in Morgantown from March 20-21, 1958.
Erie, PA picked up 19″ of new snow from midnight to 6 AM. This brings the storm total to 53″ over the past 30 hours, shattering many records. This is the greatest 2-day total in the entire state of PA (prev. record 44″ in Morgantown, PA 3/20-21/1958).
This northwest Pennsylvania city of just under 100,000 is used to heavy lake-effect snow and is one of America’s snowiest cities, averaging 101 inches of snow a year.
However, picking up roughly the average December and January snowfall – 57.1 inches – in just over a day is something long-time residents have never seen before.
Put another way, Erie picked up more snow in this event than the yearly average snowfall in the following cities:
“The crews are out, but quite simply they can’t keep up with the amount of snow that’s falling,” said Matt Exley, Director of Emergency Management, Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania, in a Tuesday morning Facebook live post. Millcreek Township immediately surrounds the city of Erie. “Most of the side roads have either not been touched or are one lane,” Exley told the Erie News. “These guys have been working their tails off just trying to keep main routes as passable as possible.”
Needless to say, residents in Erie County were asked to avoid all travel until roads could be cleared.