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Pittsburgh, PA/Western PA Fall/Winter Discussion 2022-23


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Here is the full station history for Pittsburgh as given in the 1978 annual weather summary for the city office.

image.png.c4fd1384d774bf9a0db8de8e1b3b2903.png

We can see records were taken at various sites downtown until July 1, 1935, at elevations between 731 and 754 feet ASL. The thermometer was sheltered in a windowsill for 1870 and 1871, and then moved to various rooftops at elevations estimated to be between 90 and 353 feet above ground level.  In July 1, 1935, the station moved to the Administration Building at AGC, with an elevation of 1,252 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be mounted on the rooftop at 37 feet above ground level. On September 15, 1952, the station moved to the Terminal Building at PIT, with an elevation of 1,137 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be located on a rooftop about 75 feet above ground level through at least 1979. Not sure when it was moved to the standard 2 meters above the surface. Rooftop measurements can have a significant warm bias but the first 110 years were exclusively rooftop measurements, well except for the first couple years of a thermometer in a window.

This is our "official" temperature thread.

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Interesting stuff. I kind of assumed everything pre-1952 was AGC. I bet the 11.1950 storm was closer to 40” at the current location, but that’s lost to history. 
 

Sticking a ruler in the ground once a day downtown is going to give you a much different total than religiously clearing your snowboard at the airport. This year’s 14.5” probably aligns well with a single digit year pre 1952. Aren’t many that have been leaner when looked in that context. 
 

I *do* think the current location better represents where the population actually is. Of the metro areas ~2M people, I’d say 75% of those live above 1000’. Would pretty severely understate things if someone was out in point state park measuring snow. 

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21 hours ago, north pgh said:

This weekend storm is slowly moving southward putting us on the edge of some accumulating snow. Then next week we have several chances. 

It's truly laughable that as soon as March hits, so comes winter.  So bizarre.  But maybe the cliff jumpers will hold off a little longer, lol.

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2 hours ago, Ahoff said:

It's truly laughable that as soon as March hits, so comes winter.  So bizarre.  But maybe the cliff jumpers will hold off a little longer, lol.

Yes, I got to see some snow and sleet on Friday in New York. I really don't mind snowfalls in March because they will melt of quickly with the warmer temps and the sun. I'm guessing we get a coating or so Friday night Saturday and maybe some Sunday night into Tuesday. Let's go. :snowwindow:

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1 hour ago, north pgh said:

Yes, I got to see some snow and sleet on Friday in New York. I really don't mind snowfalls in March because they will melt of quickly with the warmer temps and the sun. I'm guessing we get a coating or so Friday night Saturday and maybe some Sunday night into Tuesday. Let's go. :snowwindow:

I'm over it by March.  This year is whatever, I've moved on, so it is what it is.  I will not like though if we have an extended wet, cold Spring because the pattern flipped at the worse time.  Hopefully, just a blip and a return to nicer weather.

We can try again next winter.

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2 hours ago, TheClimateChanger said:

This is just a ridiculously bad snowfall season.

nohrsc_seasnow.us_ne.png

So there you have it. The estimate for the airport looks a little low, but this is saying the city has gotten a little over half what the airport has, so even if you scale the airport up from ~9” to the actual amount of 14.5” (an increase of about 60%), that scales the city up to about 8”. Which would make this the worst snow season on record, worse than the 8.8” in 1918-19.

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14 hours ago, TimB said:

So there you have it. The estimate for the airport looks a little low, but this is saying the city has gotten a little over half what the airport has, so even if you scale the airport up from ~9” to the actual amount of 14.5” (an increase of about 60%), that scales the city up to about 8”. Which would make this the worst snow season on record, worse than the 8.8” in 1918-19.

These maps are always different than official obs.  Those seasonal analyses we see every spring are always perplexing.  I'm not buying their totals verbatim.  I definitely saw more than 5" this year.  There really is no doubt about that, sorry to disappoint you.

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2 minutes ago, Ahoff said:

These maps are always different than official obs.  Those seasonal analyses we see every spring are always perplexing.  I'm not buying their totals verbatim.  I definitely saw more than 5" this year.  There really is no doubt about that, sorry to disappoint you.

I acknowledged that in my post. Judging by the area by the airport, snow totals were about 60% higher than this map shows. So the 5” is really more like 8”.

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20 minutes ago, TimB said:

I acknowledged that in my post. Judging by the area by the airport, snow totals were about 60% higher than this map shows. So the 5” is really more like 8”.

I'll still push back, I really believe I received at least 10" this year.  I can remember a few snows that were at least 2" over the season.

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2 minutes ago, Ahoff said:

I'll still push back, I really believe I received at least 10" this year.  I can remember a few snows that were at least 2" over the season.

I guess it’s really not even a point worth debating, it’s the difference between a terrible winter (one of the worst on record) or literally the worst one on record. I’m still hoping, though that hope is starting to fade, that we get something, anything, out of this pattern we’re in now to render this debate moot.

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Just now, TimB said:

I guess it’s really not even a point worth debating, it’s the difference between a terrible winter (one of the worst on record) or literally the worst one on record. I’m still hoping, though that hope is starting to fade, that we get something, anything, out of this pattern we’re in now to render this debate moot.

Well it's also moot because we have no records for the airport area from the time of the record, so we can't ever say that this year is the worst ever definitively.  We just have to accept that it will not go down as the worst ever.  Why is that such a sticking point?

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1 minute ago, Ahoff said:

Well it's also moot because we have no records for the airport area from the time of the record, so we can't ever say that this year is the worst ever definitively.  We just have to accept that it will not go down as the worst ever.  Why is that such a sticking point?

That’s essentially what I’m saying. Worst in over 90 years is notable enough. We each can decide on our own if we trust the old records. It might not be indicative of any long term trend in snow totals, let’s hope not anyway, but it’s honestly surreal to go through a winter like this. It plays with your perception of time. It doesn’t feel like March because we haven’t had winter yet. It doesn’t feel like we’ll be turning the clocks forward tomorrow night. It doesn’t feel like the next major snowfall is at least 9-10 months away. I’m never a big fan of the flip from winter to spring, but it doesn’t even feel real this year.

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24 minutes ago, TimB said:

That’s essentially what I’m saying. Worst in over 90 years is notable enough. We each can decide on our own if we trust the old records. It might not be indicative of any long term trend in snow totals, let’s hope not anyway, but it’s honestly surreal to go through a winter like this. It plays with your perception of time. It doesn’t feel like March because we haven’t had winter yet. It doesn’t feel like we’ll be turning the clocks forward tomorrow night. It doesn’t feel like the next major snowfall is at least 9-10 months away. I’m never a big fan of the flip from winter to spring, but it doesn’t even feel real this year.

While this has been a horrible winter.  It hasn't really bothered me like it would have in the past.  Not sure, guess I'm just not as concerned with these kinds of things.  Of course I want tons of snow and cold, but realizing there's nothing I can do and focusing on what I can control over the last year or so has given me a new perspective I guess.  It just isn't going to ruin my mood, I have enough other things that can do that, lol.

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On 3/6/2023 at 9:31 AM, TheClimateChanger said:

Here is the full station history for Pittsburgh as given in the 1978 annual weather summary for the city office.

image.png.c4fd1384d774bf9a0db8de8e1b3b2903.png

We can see records were taken at various sites downtown until July 1, 1935, at elevations between 731 and 754 feet ASL. The thermometer was sheltered in a windowsill for 1870 and 1871, and then moved to various rooftops at elevations estimated to be between 90 and 353 feet above ground level.  In July 1, 1935, the station moved to the Administration Building at AGC, with an elevation of 1,252 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be mounted on the rooftop at 37 feet above ground level. On September 15, 1952, the station moved to the Terminal Building at PIT, with an elevation of 1,137 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be located on a rooftop about 75 feet above ground level through at least 1979. Not sure when it was moved to the standard 2 meters above the surface. Rooftop measurements can have a significant warm bias but the first 110 years were exclusively rooftop measurements, well except for the first couple years of a thermometer in a window.

This is our "official" temperature thread.

I hit this Pittsburgh forum by mistake instead of my Central PA one. But I am glad I did. This was so interesting and I still love Pittsburgh after four years there for school and two years after. Would love to get back there someday.

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On 3/6/2023 at 9:31 AM, TheClimateChanger said:

Here is the full station history for Pittsburgh as given in the 1978 annual weather summary for the city office.

image.png.c4fd1384d774bf9a0db8de8e1b3b2903.png

We can see records were taken at various sites downtown until July 1, 1935, at elevations between 731 and 754 feet ASL. The thermometer was sheltered in a windowsill for 1870 and 1871, and then moved to various rooftops at elevations estimated to be between 90 and 353 feet above ground level.  In July 1, 1935, the station moved to the Administration Building at AGC, with an elevation of 1,252 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be mounted on the rooftop at 37 feet above ground level. On September 15, 1952, the station moved to the Terminal Building at PIT, with an elevation of 1,137 feet ASL. The thermometer continued to be located on a rooftop about 75 feet above ground level through at least 1979. Not sure when it was moved to the standard 2 meters above the surface. Rooftop measurements can have a significant warm bias but the first 110 years were exclusively rooftop measurements, well except for the first couple years of a thermometer in a window.

This is our "official" temperature thread.

Good info, I never really put much thought into the accuracy of past records, but this really makes you take some of those with a grain of salt. Thermometer outside of a window or roof mounted, varying degrees of elevation, location changes,  and probably less than standard snow measuring techniques all paint the picture that snow totals where probably a bit higher in some cases, and temperatures were probably colder but basing current observations on those somewhat flawed recordings smooths over some the overall changes towards warmer for our region.

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On 3/10/2023 at 8:59 AM, Ahoff said:

While this has been a horrible winter.  It hasn't really bothered me like it would have in the past.  Not sure, guess I'm just not as concerned with these kinds of things.  Of course I want tons of snow and cold, but realizing there's nothing I can do and focusing on what I can control over the last year or so has given me a new perspective I guess.  It just isn't going to ruin my mood, I have enough other things that can do that, lol.

It has been pretty horrid. March is shaping up to be essentially what I really didn't want to happen. If only we could have swapped Feb and March patterns probably would have had a decent Feb, then we could jump right into a nice warm spring. Instead March is colder than Feb, but not quite cold enough for meaningful snow, just more dreary / damp / cool weather.

I mentally accepted this wasn't going to be a good year half way through January and checked out, did what I could outdoors with relatively nicer weather, especially those 60s and 70s in Feb. Only checked models every couple days except for those couple teases we had. If I were younger probably would have struggled more. I doubt this will be our winters going forward, but expect these types of seasons may become more common. Winter 2022-2023 will probably be best summarized / dealt with as the quote frequently repeated from Gandalf in Lord of the Rings:

I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” :lol:

 

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16 minutes ago, RitualOfTheTrout said:

It has been pretty horrid. March is shaping up to be essentially what I really didn't want to happen. If only we could have swapped Feb and March patterns probably would have had a decent Feb, then we could jump right into a nice warm spring. Instead March is colder than Feb, but not quite cold enough for meaningful snow, just more dreary / damp / cool weather.

I mentally accepted this wasn't going to be a good year half way through January and checked out, did what I could outdoors with relatively nicer weather, especially those 60s and 70s in Feb. Only checked models every couple days except for those couple teases we had. If I were younger probably would have struggled more. I doubt this will be our winters going forward, but expect these types of seasons may become more common. Winter 2022-2023 will probably be best summarized / dealt with as the quote frequently repeated from Gandalf in Lord of the Rings:

I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” :lol:

 

I really thought there would be a period at some point in Feb/March where we ran into 8”-10” over the course of 2 weeks.  And some people here would actually be more irritated because it padded the stats without a big storm.

Crazy that it doesn’t look like we will even get that. 

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41 minutes ago, RitualOfTheTrout said:

It has been pretty horrid. March is shaping up to be essentially what I really didn't want to happen. If only we could have swapped Feb and March patterns probably would have had a decent Feb, then we could jump right into a nice warm spring. Instead March is colder than Feb, but not quite cold enough for meaningful snow, just more dreary / damp / cool weather.

I mentally accepted this wasn't going to be a good year half way through January and checked out, did what I could outdoors with relatively nicer weather, especially those 60s and 70s in Feb. Only checked models every couple days except for those couple teases we had. If I were younger probably would have struggled more. I doubt this will be our winters going forward, but expect these types of seasons may become more common. Winter 2022-2023 will probably be best summarized / dealt with as the quote frequently repeated from Gandalf in Lord of the Rings:

I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” :lol:

 

Yeah, my thoughts on all of it exactly.  Knew March would be crappy, just because that's exactly what always happens.  Just hope it's not lingering too deep into April and May.

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29 minutes ago, TimB said:

Looks like the NWS obs was 2.2”, which would put us at 16.8” for the season and leaving no doubt that this will not be a snow futility season, as we have passed 1973-74.

Likely to tack on a little more today too with the snow bands. Looks and feels pretty wintry out there, not quite the same feel as when it happens in mid winter, but take what you can get especially after Feb. Quickly looking through the models potential is there for more snow. I count at least 1-2 more storms that might affect somewhere in the east. Climo will be rapidly fading soon though so anything lighter would have to be at night or get a paste bomb during the day. 

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