NJ Weather: 35-inch snowfall report could break long-standing state record

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An elusive record that has held firm for nearly 122 years may have been broken in the monstrous snowstorm that hit New Jersey for the past three days.

The National Meteorological Service announced Tuesday night that it had received a preliminary report of 35.1 inches of snow on the ground at Mount Arlington in Morris County.

If this report is confirmed, it will surpass the state’s long-standing record of 34 inches of snowfall, which fell in a multi-day blizzard that extended from February 11 to 14 in 1899.

However, the meteorological service is yet to declare the record, agency meteorologist Patrick O’Hara said. Even though the agency has no reason to doubt the veracity of the snowfall report, it still has to go through a strict process to confirm it.

O’Hara said the 35-inch snow report at Mount Arlington came from a trained weather observer, someone who likely knows the right way to accurately measure snow. But to be declared a new statewide record, it needs to be investigated further.

And it’s not a quick process.

“It’s going to be the subject of a lot of scrutiny,” O’Hara said. “It won’t be days, it won’t be weeks. I will probably be for months.

On Monday, after some early reports of 30-inch snowfall were received by the National Weather Service, New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson echoed O’Hara’s comments, saying all snowfall measurements are considered preliminary until they can be confirmed.

Robinson, whose Rutgers University office oversees state climate data and records dating back to 1895, said any snowfall report for something as large as a scale record the state should be subject to scrutiny in accordance with procedures put in place by the National Centers for Environmental Information, formerly known as the National Climate Data Center.

Robinson said the process involves determining the procedure used by the weather observer who reported the snowfall measurement and ensuring that the procedure meets the appropriate snow measurement standards.

It’s not something weather and climate experts take lightly, Robinson noted. This is why the National Weather Service cannot declare the 35-inch snowfall report as a record at the moment.

If the measure holds up, it would be among several significant snowfall totals over 30 inches that were reported Monday evening and Tuesday – the second and third days of the three-day winter storm.

This map shows the amount of snow that fell in New Jersey and neighboring states as of Tuesday morning February 2.National Meteorological Service

THE BEST SNOW REPORTS IN THE NJ

(UPDATE: The National Weather Service said the preliminary snowfall total for Mount Arlington was initially reported at 35.5 inches, but the person who took the measurement subsequently corrected the total to 35.1 inches.)

So far, here are the highest preliminary snow totals across New Jersey during this epic storm:

  • 35.1 inches reported in Mount Arlington, Morris County
  • 33.2 inches reported in Montague, Sussex County
  • 32.0 inches reported in Andover, Sussex County
  • 31.3 inches reported in Hope, County Warren
  • 31.0 inches reported in Chester, Morris County
  • 31.0 inches reported in Oxford, County Warren
  • 31.0 inches in Stanhope, Sussex County
  • 30.4 inches reported in Chatham, Morris County
  • 30.3 inches reported in Sparta, Sussex County
  • 30.0 inches reported in Mendham, Morris County
  • 30.0 inches reported in Sandyston, Sussex County

Current weather radar

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Len Melisurgo can be contacted at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.


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