16-17 December 2020 – nor’easter

I was distracted and didn’t pay too much attention to the recent nor’easter that affected the eastern United States as they do from time to time during the winter months. Here’s a plotted 18 UTC chart for Thursday with a grid of observations for Albany in New York state which reported 53 cm of snow that day. As you can see the snow there started after midnight so that 53 cm fell in around 15 hours. The SYNOP coverage is not particularly dense across the United States they much prefer METAR observations and a lot of stations don’t report snow depths at all, even if they do seem to have a fascination in measuring and recording just how many inches each new fall has brought each city. Everytime I see reports like this about snow depths that occur during blizzards: how can they possibly measure a true and accurate snow depth when drifting is going on let alone to the nearest tenth of an inch? Perhaps they have a some kind of elaborate heated rain gauge they use to calculate a snow depth with – who knows.

Courtesy Twitter
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