January snow storm now called all-time biggest

- It really was a record.  The National Weather Service says the snow fall during January's blizzard was actually higher than first reported and 27.5 inches actually fell in Central Park, making it the all-time snowfall record for New York City.

The agency back to review of preliminary snow measurements from the Jan. 22-23 East Coast blizzard.

A “snow team” reviewed reported snow observations due to the historic nature of the event and concerns over some of the preliminary measurements.

The team reviewed snow totals, including preliminary snow totals and an evaluation of whether the observers followed standard procedures to measure snowfall.

“Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable, a problem compounded by strong winds and compaction during a long duration event,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of the National Weather Service. “Still, it’s important that we scrutinize questionable measurements and reject those that scientists deem invalid to ensure the public’s continued confidence in the U.S. climate record.”

The team determined that the preliminary Central Park measurement needed be adjusted upward to 27.5 inches because a communication error between the weather forecast office in Upton, New York, and the Central Park Conservancy, which volunteers to take official snow measurements in Central Park, led to an inaccurate preliminary total of 26.8 inches. The snow team found the mistake when reviewing the Conservancy’s logbook.

All snowfall measurements and any reported records are considered preliminary until they are certified for the historical record and deemed official by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This happens many days to weeks after a weather event.

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