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5th worst winter on record for Bridgeport

Updated 11:58 pm, Friday, March 8, 2013


  • Nine-year-old Talia Lascari helps out her mom by shoveling their driveway in Ansonia, Conn. Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 as snow falls across the region. Photo: Autumn Driscoll
    Nine-year-old Talia Lascari helps out her mom by shoveling their driveway in Ansonia, Conn. Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 as snow falls across the region. Photo: Autumn Driscoll


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Bridgeport's worst winters on record
The National Weather Service defines Oct. 1 to April 30 as the annual "snowfall season" and Bridgeport has seen several tough ones in the last 10 years.
1) 1995-96 - 75.7
2) 2002-3 - 64
3) 2010-11 - 62.6
4) 1966-67 - 61.6
5) 2012-13 - 61.3
Source: National Weather Service
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By the time the sun showed its face in Bridgeport late Friday, the city had seen its fifth worst winter in recorded history.

The nine inches of sloppy, wet snow that slicked roads throughout the city on Friday bumped total snowfall up to 61.3 inches since Oct. 1.

But shovellers resting yet another sore back can lay the bulk of the blame on the Feb. 8-9 blizzard that buried Bridgeport under 30 inches of snow and left the city crippled.

If not for that storm, the total snowfall for the season would have only been 31.3 inches, 7.8 inches higher than city's normal 23.5 inches, according to data compiled by the National Weather Service.

"Every couple of years here, we get one or two of those storms that produce a good amount of snow," said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with NWS.

But it's not just the storms that have been particularly strong in recent years; in the last decade Bridgeport has now seen three of its worst winters on record.

While the 75.7 inches dropped on the city during the winter of 1995-96 still leads by nearly a foot, the first and second runners-up came in 2002-03 and 2010-11, respectively, and this year's surpassed the snowy season of 2004-05 to take the fifth spot.

The blame for that barrage belongs to the bath water temperatures the Atlantic Ocean has maintained over the last decade or so, said Andy Mussoline, a meteorologist with Accuweather.com.

With the Atlantic warmed by a degree or two, it creates what Mussoline called a "blocking pattern" in the air which stalls storms over the Northeast and lets them linger over the area, spewing snow all the while.

That is why this week's storm spent a few hours languishing off the coast Thursday before coming ashore around 10 p.m.

"Exactly. The storm kind of comes up and is able to just linger across New England," Mussoline said.

Ever the gracious host, the Atlantic also offers winter storms all the snow they might care to spread around. The ocean's warmer temperature pushes more precipitation into the air for a storm to leave frozen in its wake.

"That is a huge source of energy for these storms," Mussoline said.

Friday's storm certainly did not challenge Bridgeport quite like last month's blizzard did, and as of 6 p.m. Mayor Bill Finch lifted the snow emergency initiated Wednesday afternoon.

And there likely won't be another for the next few days, as temperatures rise to upper 40s with no precipitation expected until a chance of rain late Monday.

And the official start of spring is only 11 days away -- at 7:02 a.m. March 20, to be precise.

But Bridgeport has seen snow as late as April, and while there are no definitive forecasts, "there's always a possibility," Nash said.


@domalleyctpost, 203-330-6230