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The winter of 2010: Placing 2022 snow in context -- Johnstown had 125.5 inches of snow by February

Tribune-Democrat: “We aren’t going to see green grass until July”

Most of Cambria County is digging out from about a foot of snow today, but context is everything. The winter of 2021-22 has been pretty mild — until now.

However, in an effort to place this in context, a story in the Tribune-Democrat from 2010 reminded me what it was like 12 years ago during the winter of 2010.

Rose Maldet of Johnstown has had it with the record-breaking snow.

“We aren’t going to see green grass until July,” she said. “This is just awful; I don’t think it’s ever going to leave us.”

Maldet isn’t alone in hoping this winter will come to an end.

In fact snowfall totals for Johnstown this winter season have shattered the previous record and spring is still weeks away.

“I’d say this is one of the top three worst winters in the past 75 years for Cambria and Somerset counties,” said Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather.

So far this year, 125.5 inches of snow has fallen in downtown Johnstown, according to records maintained by The Tribune-Democrat.

The old record for downtown Johnstown was 107.5 inches, set in the winter of 1993-94.

Kelly Urban, “ ‘Just awful’: February’s snowfall sets record,”

Tribune-Democrat, February 2022.

One month: 63.5 inches in February

I should remember the winter of 2010, but it just seemed like another year in Western Pa. I was with my brother who was dying at the time. What I distinctly remember was him telling me to “gun-it” in an effort to get into the garage at his rectory in Twin Rocks.

And then calling for a tow-truck.

And I was driving to classes at the college where I taught that winter.

Still, the snow recollection from 2010 eludes me,

Since The Tribune-Democrat began keeping records in 1889, there have been only six times where the snowfall totaled more than 100 inches. The other four were during the winter of 1977-78 when 100.24 inches was recorded; 1975-76, 100.5 inches; 1944-45, 102.1 inches; and 1942-43, 101.4 inches.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that February also shattered the record for that month.

A total of 63.5 inches of snow fell in downtown Johnstown during February. The old record was 50 inches, set in Feburary 1908.

In fact, the 63.5 inches of snow in February was more snow than what was recorded over the course of 95 winter seasons since 1889-90 in Johnstown.

In two years, 1987 and 1996, no snowfall was recorded during February in downtown Johnstown.

Kelly Urban, Tribune-Democrat, February 2010

So remembering the past provides context for the present.

[That photo above is not from 2010, but you get the drift.]

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