Erie, Pa. got five feet of snow. And it’s still snowing

People dig out after the record snowfall in Erie, U.S.
People dig out after the record snowfall in Erie, U.S.
Image: Courtesy of Instagram @DANIELLESOFANCY /via REUTERS
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New Yorkers may remember the Christmas season of 2010 when four feet of snow dropped on the city, it came to a standstill, and then-mayor Michael Bloomberg—who spent the holidays at his home in Bermuda—got slammed for failing to adequately respond to the snowmageddon.

But New York has nothing on Erie, Pennsylvania. A record five feet-plus of snow has fallen on the town since Christmas day, when 34 inches dropped, setting a new record for a one-day snowfall. Erie last recorded a record one-day snowfall on Nov. 22, 1956, when 20 inches fell.

Erie, like other cities close to the Great Lakes in the US, experiences “lake-effect” snow when bands of Arctic air pass over the Great Lakes, pick up moisture, then, when temperatures are below freezing, dump it as snow in the surrounding areas. Lake-effect snow is notoriously hard to predict; some areas can get tons of snow while others just a mile or two away, get none. According to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, lake effect snow will continue to drop today in the snow bands along Lake Erie.

It is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, of course. So snow and bitter temperatures are affecting places like London, where an unusual cold snap has caused flight delays across the region.

In the US state of Minnesota, which also gets its fair share of snow every winter, people apparently think it’s fun to make their own: