An elusive record that has stood strong for nearly 122 years might have been broken during the monster snowstorm that has pummeled New Jersey during the past three days.
The National Weather Service announced Tuesday night it received a preliminary report of 35.5 inches of snow on the ground in Mount Arlington in Morris County.
If that report is confirmed, it would top the state’s longtime record of 34 inches of snow, which fell during a multi-day blizzard that stretched from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14 in 1899.
However, the weather service is not declaring this a record yet, 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 35.5-inch snow report in Mount Arlington came from a trained weather observer, someone who likely knows the proper way to accurately measure snow. But to be declared a new statewide record, it has to be investigated further.
And it’s not a quick process.
“It’ll go through a lot of scrutiny,” O’Hara said. “It won’t be days, it won’t be weeks. I’ll probably be months.”
On Monday, after some early snowfall reports of 30 inches were received by the National Weather Service, New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson echoed what O’Hara said, saying all snowfall measurements are considered preliminary until they can be confirmed.
Robinson, whose office at Rutgers University oversees state climate data and records dating all the way back to 1895, said any snowfall reports for something as significant as a statewide record would have to undergo a lot of scrutiny under procedures set up by the National Centers for Environmental Information, formerly known as the National Climatic Data Center.
Robinson said the process involves determining the procedure used by the weather observer who reported the snowfall measurement, and making sure the procedure adheres to proper standards in measuring snow.
It’s not something weather and climate experts take lightly, Robinson noted. Which is why the National Weather Service can’t declare the 35.5-inch snowfall report as a record right now.
If the measurement holds up, it would be among several hefty snowfall totals of 30-plus inches that were reported Monday night and Tuesday — the second and third days of this three-day winter storm.
TOP SNOWFALL REPORTS IN N.J.
As of now, these are the highest preliminary snow totals across New Jersey during this monster storm:
- 35.5 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, Warren County
- 31.0 inches reported in Chester, Morris County
- 31.0 inches reported in Oxford, Warren County
- 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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