Weekend blizzard ranks 4th worst among Northeast snowstorms

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) – Last weekend’s blizzard is officially the fourth most powerful snowstorm to hit the Northeast in more than 60 years.

That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which announced the storm’s ranking on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. The scale calculates inches of snowfall, geographic reach and population affected to see how each snowstorm measures up.

NOAA spokeswoman Maureen O’Leary says this storm affected 102.8 million people and covered about 434,000 square miles in 26 states.

National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Kocin says almost 24 million people saw more than 20 inches of snow as flakes fell from Louisiana to Maine.

Top honors still go to the so-called Storm of the Century in 1993. That storm dropped more than 30 inches in places from Mississippi to Maine.

WHAT WE KNOW:

– The agency gave the storm a rating of 7.66 on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, which makes it a category 4 storm. That means its impacts were “crippling” but not “extreme.”

– The scale is based on inches of snowfall, geographic reach and population affected. It doesn’t include metrics such as death toll, economic impact or power outages. Nor does it rank a storm’s severity in individual metropolitan areas.

– The Jan. 22-24 storm hit from Mississippi to Maine, affecting 102.8 million people in 26 states. Almost 24 million people saw more than 20 inches of snow and 1.5 million got more than 30 inches.

Here are the top 5, according to the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, which ranks storms according to inches of snowfall, geographic reach and population affected.

No. 1 – March 12-14, 1993: score 13.20, category 5, Extreme

No. 2 – January 6-8, 1996: score 11.78, category 5, Extreme

No. 3 – March 2-5, 1960:  score 8.77, category 4, Crippling

No. 4 – January  22-24, 2016: score 7.66, category 4, Crippling

No. 5 – February 15-18, 2003:  score 7.50, category 4, Crippling

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Source: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/snow-and-ice/rsi/nesis

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