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Top Ten Boston Snowstorms -- Plus Extra!

On Monday morning, gnomi noticed that meteorologist Pete Bouchard of WHDH-TV (channel 7; our local NBC affiliate) had presented a chart showing the top ten recorded snowstorms in Boston. Knowing my love of such statistics, Nomi made sure to copy down the chart. I was disappointed that the chart listing for the two tied storms at number 10 only gave the year of those storms, and not the day, so I emailed Mr. Bouchard using the WHDH webpage, and he kindly gave me the information requested.

So, for those who are as interested in this sort of pedantry as I am, here's the list of storms; if there is only one day listed, it's possible that the storm lasted into the next day, but I don't have all that information. Note that the Blizzard of 2005 is at number 5, the tie is at number 10, and the list includes number 11. Also, I don't know where the December 2003 storm falls on the list; it might be at number 12, but it might be lower. However, since I personally experienced it, I wanted to include it.

1. February 17-18, 2003 (Mon-Tues)
27.5 inches

2. February 6, 1978 (The famous Blizzard of 1978)
27.1 inches

3. February 24, 1969
26.3 inches

4. March 31, 1997
25.4 inches

5. January 22-23, 2005 (Sun-Mon)
22.5 inches

6. January 20, 1978 (The forgotten 1978 snowfall that predated the Blizzard)
21.4 inches

7. March 3, 1960
19.8 inches

8. February 16, 1958
19.4 inches

9. February 8, 1994 (The Perfect Storm)
18.7 inches

10. (tie) January 7-8, 1996 & December 20-22, 1975
18.2 inches

11. February 5, 1920
17.3 inches

?. December 7, 2003
17 inches


Where were they measuring the snowfall? Because that's a lot less snow than most reports I've heard for this storm.
These numbers are the "official" numbers as measured at Logan Airport. Meteorologists always acknowledge that the snowfall tends to be higher in other places, and some local communities measure it on their own. But these are the "official" Boston numbers, even though measurements in other area of Boston, such as the Common, are often higher.
22 inches at Logan? But early morning on Sunday they were reporting that there'd been 20 inches of snow at Logan, and I know there was more than 2 inches of snow falling that day. Are they only counting snow in a particular time frame?
Honestly, I don't know. I only know what the graphic reported on Monday morning.

Sometimes they report earlier numbers that are inflated for who knows what reason. But after the storm, they always give an official total.

Read http://www.newxspotters.bizland.com/todd/hotline.htm for more information on how they determine snowfall. Interestingly enough, Logan is no longer where the NWS is located...
I don't recall the exact year (I think '96, definitely in the '93-'96 timeframe), but at one point the Globe decided a good graphic to show the total amount of snowfall for a particular winter was to take a picture of 7' tall Boston Celtics center Robert Parish and cover him in "snow" up to the total amount so far.

That winter happened to set a new record, so by the final storm the graphic consisted of a pile of "snow" with a snorkel sticking out of the top.
I find it interesting how many of these record snowfalls (9 out of 13) have happened in my lifetime, one of them missing me by months, said lifetime being maybe a third of the time they've kept records. No global climate changes my furry foot!
Fascinating... thanks for sharing!
I didn't realize January 7-8, 1996 was so much snow. But then again, I was distract by the fact that my apartment was flooding, burning and being condemned at the time.

December 2016

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