So far this month, the region has had much more than the average April downpour.

With the addition of the rare spring northern Easter last week in April the area fell much above average rainfall.

A large storm system threw more than 2 inches of rain across the three counties, in local areas more. Together with back-to-back systems earlier this month and strong thunderstorms last week, this resulted in 4.69 inches of rainfall in Potstown.

The average monthly figure is 3.4 inches.

Snow covers blooming tree flowers near Pennsylvania State College, April 18, 2022 (Image Crediting: NWS State College)

However, one thing stood out with this past storm, more than the heavy rain it brought. In northern Pennsylvania, the accumulated snow went on for several hours.

The snow had accumulated as close as Pacanos, and had accumulated more than 4 inches of snow. The highest in Pennsylvania was an impressive 14 inches in Laporte, Sullivan.

On Tuesday, even Potstown joined the action, as the sky fell “Graupel” – or icy snowflakes.

How rarely does this happen in late April?

Technically in Potstown in April an average of 0.2 inches of snow falls. However, to the naked eye it seems that a temperature of 80 degrees is much more likely than snowflakes. In April, of course, we had more than snow days.

Satellite imagery depicting the Northern Easter revolving around the East Coast on April 19, 2022 (Image Crediting: NOAA GOES Image Viewer)

So why is the average not reduced to zero?

This is all due to exceptions. They are living proof that snowstorms in southeastern Pennsylvania are not impossible for this time of year.

This is a look at the craziest April snowfalls in the history of our area.

The worst in history

On April 4-5, 1915, Easter looked as if it had fallen in mid-January. To the shock of everyone in the region, the massive Northern Easter caused heavy snowfall that spread across the Mid-Atlantic.

More than a foot of snow fell in Potstown. 19.4 inches of snow fell in Philadelphia in two days. The extreme storm still remains the seventh largest snowstorm in the area of ​​all time.

The system also dropped 10.2 inches of snow in New York and 15.2 inches in Newark, New Jersey, setting new records in April.

Residents are working to clear the waterfront in Atlantic City on Easter, April 4, 1915, the morning after the northeast coast collapsed the east coast. Atlantic City received 6.0 inches of snow from the storm. (Image: Library of Congress)

Wind gusts of 80 miles per hour were recorded along the New Jersey coast, indicating the intensity of the storm. When it was all over, 3,000 workers had to clear the roads in Philadelphia to continue the Easter celebration the next day.

The possibility of this happening in early April is great. The angle of the sun in spring, not to mention April, makes the accumulation of snow a rare and complex phenomenon. Not only that, but average temperatures are above 50 for this time of year.

What made this storm possible? Perfect composition of factors. The Arctic air mass remained, a storm that was accurately timed, and a needle-threaded storm allowed the cold air to stay strong, while heavy rainfall still killed inland areas. The extremely heavy snow that formed as a result was a strange phenomenon. However, this is not the only case.

Even later in April

Most recently, on April 5-6, 1982, another Nor’easter dropped 3-6 inches in the region of three counties and 6-12 inches in Pacanas. The storm is the only April snowstorm to be included in the list of 66 worst Nor’easters since the start of the record, based on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale.

These storms are not limited to early April. On April 19, 1983 – just a year after the previous storm – about 2 inches of snow fell in Potstown. In northern Pennsylvania, 8 to 20 inches of snow has accumulated, making it easy to set daily records.

An image that compares some of the types of frozen rainfall commonly mentioned in Pennsylvania. On April 19, 2022, Potstown witnessed Graupel acting as small snowballs instead of snowflakes. (Image by NWS Sioux Falls)

The last April date of measurable snowfall in the history of Philadelphia was April 27, 1967, when it fell 0.1 inches. Although this is a small amount, the proximity to May of this phenomenon is unprecedented.

To the modern era

These snowstorms are noticeably late season, but they may not be the craziest. By the time meteorology was studied as a science, attention was drawn to information about extreme weather.

On the morning of April 5, 1852, up to 8 inches deep snow fell in southeastern Pennsylvania. By evening, however, thunder and lightning accompanied the incessant rain, washing away all the snow of the previous hours. As if on a penny, the storm turned into realistic spring expectations.

On April 10, 1894, 2 feet of snow was reported south of Washington and up to 31 inches in Pennsylvania.

One report describes 4 inches of snow in Potstown on May 4, 1774. Another describes snowflakes in June 1842, and another: squalls on July 4, 1859.

A graphical representation showing the amount of snow around the northeastern region after the winter storm at the end of the season on April 6-7, 1982, the NESIS, or Northeastern Snowfall Impact Scale, provides numerical values ​​for ranking northeastern snowstorms. (Image of authorship: NOAA NCEI)

We may never know the authenticity of these messages, but at the moment their understanding is shocking.

This year in Potstown was insane April weather: from snow to heavy rain to 80 ° F. At least we didn’t have snow feet to deal with instead.

A table showing the average last winter snowfall and the last snowfall observed in the season for several cities in the northeast. (Image credit: The Weather Channel)

Will Kano is a senior at Owen J. High School. Roberts, who admires the weather. You can find it any day by reading the weather forecast and events to your peers. Will founded the Meteorological Club at his high school and is currently president. He also received awards at a high school science exhibition from both NASA and the American Meteorological Society for his project on atmospheric aerosols and hurricanes.

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