Experts weigh in on Erie’s drastic snow measurement variance

Local News

Many are still upset over the report claiming Erie did not get nearly as much snow as we originally thought.  

When snow falls, Laurie Santos wakes up at 5am and heads outside.  As one of the National Weather Service of Cleveland’s official snow observers, she measures the snowfall twice a day, every day through the winter; Laurie saying the process is simple.  

All you need is a measuring stick, a flat piece of wood about half an inch thick, and a flat area away from trees or buildings.  She says it’s important to be detail oriented, but usually, you just have to give your best estimate.

The recent news that a special committee cut Erie’s snowfall totals by more than 32″ was shocking to her.  “What evidence they had to support that there might have been an error… but even if there was an error, to have an error to that degree seems like a lot to me.”

Area snow observers aren’t the only ones surprised by this new report, Millcreek Township employees are saying they remember working around the clock, days on end, trying to keep the roads clear and safe.  

The township releasing a disaster declaration and an official snow emergency, in place for 36 hours, restricting anyone without snow tires or chains from driving on the roads. 

Matt Exley, Director of Emergency Management for Millcreek Township, says, “The snow was just coming down so fast, at that point in time, we reached out to the county and notified them that the ambulances were stuck and what not, we needed the National Guard. Which was the first time in my career we ever had to do that.”

Employees were working 12-hour shifts non-stop, Exley calling it one of the most historic snowstorms we’ve ever had and saying he’s concerned that the new measurements came from a now observer located three miles from the Erie International Airport.  “During that storm, and we saw it out in the field, the gradience that we saw… over in this area had two feet of snow, then over in this area had four feet of snow.”

Exley says regardless of what the records say, everyone who lived through this past winter will always remember what it was really like.

Laurie also added that she feels bad that the snow observers at the airport were not contacted by anyone about the situation and that there’s often a lack of communication between the volunteer snow observers and the National Weather Service.

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