Baltimore / Washington International airport (BWI) has measured 79.9" of snow as of 10-FEB...the most ever observed since record-keeping began in 1883.
How unusual is it for BWI to see this much snow in one winter?
This amount of snow would be considered a statistical outlier...more than four standard deviations (4.322) above the period-of-record mean of 21.9".
It's more snow than 99.994% of all other winters.
Other notable seasons at BWI were 2002/3 (58.1")...1995/6 (62.5")...1963/4 (51.8")... and 1898 (51.1")....all of which were more that two standard deviations above the mean (more snow than 95% of all other winters).
Interesting to note...three of the largest season-total snowfalls have occurred in the last 15 years...during a time when NHEMI areal snowfall has been generally well below average...especially during summer.How rare is this winter/s snowfall?
How often can an extreme season such as this be expected?
Since it/s never happened during the period-of-record...a statistical technique using a Gumbel distribution can be applied to determine the 'return-period' for BWI receiving this amount of snow in one winter. The distribution and return-period are calculated using the 126-year historical season-total snowfall data from LWX.
The 126-year Gumbel distribution for BWI season-total snowfall is shown above.
The calculation...based on the line's slope...intercept...and a crisp double-inverse natural log function...shows the return-period as once every 675 years! The return-period for the runner-up 'Winter of 1995/96' is only 115 years.
Image: Baltimore...MD FEB-1899 (credit: Baltimore Sun)