Well the storm’s all done, and it’s officially the 5th largest snow fall in Boston since they started keeping records.
Snowstorms are a really interesting test of how people perceive data. For example, the blizzard of ’78 is absolutely legendary in these parts. And yet, it’s not the biggest snow storm on record. Here’s the list:
1. Feb. 17-18, 2003 27.6 inches
2. Feb. 6-7, 1978 27.1 inches
3. Feb. 24-27, 1969 26.3 inches
4. March 31- April 1, 1997 25.4 inches
5. Jan. 22-23, 2005 22.5 inches
6. Jan. 20-21, 1978 21.4 inches
7. March 3-5, 1960 19.8 inches
8. Feb. 16-17, 1958 19.4 inches
9. Feb. 8-10, 1994 18.7 inches
10. Dec. 26-27, 2010 18.2 inches
That first one was my senior year in college. It was a Monday, but the Monday was a holiday. We had a lot of warning, and things weren’t that bad. The blizzard of ’78 was also a Monday, but not a holiday. The snow fell faster during the ’78 storm, and the city had less warning. There had also been another record setting storm (#6 on the list) just a few weeks earlier.
These are the things that data hides. Only half an inch of difference, but the impact was much different.
Another storm that doesn’t make the list was in the winter of ’08 when everyone got let out of work early because of snow, at which point it promptly worsened. People still cringe when they talk about that day. It took people up to 9 hours to get home. Luckily for me I worked night shift at the time and slept through the whole thing.
Anyway, I survived yet another storm on the top ten list, and I can even open my door without it running in to a snow bank. That’s good bcause I was about to have to put the dog out through the window.