Snow: 100 inches in 18 hours, really?
Those reports of record snowfall in Italy are under investigation.
Understandably the report by the Italian weather website Meteoweb that 100.8 inches of snow had descended upon a town about 130 miles west of Rome last week has received tremendous media attention.
If verified – and the capital "I" isn't just because the word begins the sentence – this would be a record for a snowfall in a calendar day, besting the wimpy 90.6 inches on Feb. 14, 1927, in Mount Ibuki, Japan.
Meteoweb points out, however, that unlike Japan and the United States, Italy doesn't have rigorous snow-measuring protocols.
In the United States, the government issues extensive instructions that include a snowboard, measurement intervals, and a diligent differentiation between "snowfall" and "Snow depth."
Meteoweb cautioned against accepting the report at face value, pointing out that snow measurements are notoriously "difficult to verity."
In this case, weather "enthusiasts" did attempt to take the measurements as carefully as possible out in the open and away from the wind just outside the town, which is elevated over 4,500 feet.
To put that in perspective, that would be about two-thirds of the way up Mount Washington.
For its part, the World Meteorological Organization said it would investigate, however it said that right now it doesn't have an official snowfall-extreme category.
From what we know of snowfall reports around here, we would advise WMO and Meteoweb that snowfall is as much art as science.