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Snow: The Great Equinox Storm

The 1958 nor’easter left a reported 50 inches of snow nearby..

If we can believe the forecasts, the vernal equinox on Friday will feel a whole lot more like the winter solstice, with snow, perhaps even a few inches in parts of the region.

Spring snows certainly aren't all that unusual, and snow has been measured in Philadelphia as late as April 24.

But the nor'easter that battered the area with heavy wet snow starting on March 19, 1958, a Wednesday, and continuing into the 21st , the first day of spring, was a hall of famer.

It ripped down power lines, and the storm remains in the top 10 for PECO outages, even though its service territory obviously was far less populated back then.

Heavy snow began on that Wednesday afternoon, but the bulk of it evidently came in the early-morning hours, and that created problems.

The temperature never got below 32 during the storm, but the fact that the heaviest fell during darkness allowed the snow to pile up on streets.

Officially, Philadelphia recorded 11.4 inches, almost 10 of that on Thursday. Rain mixed in with the snow that day, and it all ended as snow on Friday.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, Morgantown set a daily record on the 20th with 38 inches of snow. The station also reported 6 inches on the 19th and 21st for a storm total of 50 inches.

The climate center said the measurements were taken at a station elevated 591 feet, which would have made a difference. Higher is colder, and snow has less opportunity to change to rain before reaching a surface.

We must express a reservation about the measurement, however. The precipitation total at Morgantown was 3.15 inches, and the snow-to-liquid ratio would look a tad higher than the temperatures would suggest.

That said, yes, that was one mighty snowfall.