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Last updated: Thu. Feb. 03, 2011 - 09:29 am EDT

How the snow stacks up

While not as severe as 1978, this week's storm can indeed be termed a blizzard

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• Fort Wayne, Allen County and New Haven have lowered Wednesday afternoon's Level 2 snow emergency to Level 4 – “A condition may develop that limits or hinders travel or activities in isolated areas.”

• Drivers are not to park along snow emergency routes during any level snow emergency or the vehicle might be towed.

• Fort Wayne and Allen County government offices reopened today.

• City trash and recycling pickups were resuming today on a one-day delay schedule.

• Allen County's public school districts were closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Southwest and Northwest Allen County Schools were closed today. With some of them already having or going to use up their snow makeup days, it means tacking on school time at the end of the calendar.

SCHOOL MAKEUP DAY

SCHEDULES, PAGE 4A

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So, was Tuesday's snow event, by strictest definition, a blizzard?

Rest easy, those who wonder about the weather. There's no need to parse words, wondering if a weather snob's going to chastise you with a fact or two about “sustained wind speeds of 35 mph” or “reduced visibility of a quarter-mile or less for at least three hours.”

Nope, feel free to use the phrase “Blizzard of 2011.” If someone asks, tell 'em meteorologist Patrick Murphy and the National Weather Service's northern Indiana office said so.

“Yes, it was, quite easily (a blizzard),” Murphy said Tuesday afternoon from the weather service's office in Syracuse. “Especially in the open areas of the county. People can certainly still remember January of 1978, the great blizzard. These were blizzard conditions, as well, especially with all the blowing snow in some of the outlying areas.”

Murphy said the weather service tracked sustained winds of 40 mph in Allen County on Tuesday evening, with a 54 mph gust at 9:15 p.m. About 7 inches of snow and sleet fell at Fort Wayne International Airport between 1 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the weather service, adding to 3 inches already on the ground that fell in what some called “Round 1” of the weather event that has gripped the Midwest for the last few days.

Murphy also provided perspective on this winter season: While Tuesday was treacherous and there has been consistent snowfall up to this point in the season, residents shouldn't plan to tell the grandkids about how rough Allen County had it in 2011. However, if this kind of consistent accumulation continues, considering there's still months of winter left to go, this season could be an all-timer.

“Where we are now, with 32 inches of snow ... that's not even in the top 40, as far as this goes,” Murphy said. “Just to get in the top 10, you need 44.4 inches. Now, of course, if you get 3 or 4 inches in four more events, then you're talking about something different.”

Murphy noted the two biggest years for snowfall in the county were in 1981-82, when 81.2 inches of snow led to flooding significant enough to bring President Reagan to the Summit City, and in the 1977-78 season, which dropped 60.6 inches of snow on the county.

Fort Wayne International's two-day total of 7.8 inches of snowfall, falls short of the two-day record of 14.3 inches set March 10-11, 1964. Tonight's forecast of 0 degrees, while bitterly cold when wind chill is factored in, means the record -12 for this date recorded in 1902 and 1985 also should remain intact. Earlier forecasts had called for temperatures below zero.


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Wednesday
Wednesday
High 83 °F
Low 66 °F
66 °F
Fog/Mist
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