Montrealers awoke to 36 centimetres (about 14 inches) of snow that had fallen overnight. With another five-to-ten centimetres expected during the day, weather reports have been trumpeting this as a “record snowfall”. Well, it is and it isn’t.
By exceeding 35 centimetres in one day Montreal breaks the old record set in 1993. But it’s only the record for February 13! This is not an all-time record snowfall at all; it’s merely a record for this day. Who cares?
I call this a concocted record. Sports announces and their statisticians are notorious for concocted records. “So-and-so has the best record for stealing third base on Sundays when the temperature is above 85F and there are less than two out and the umpiring crew ate a buffet breakfast since Bobby Bunter in 1987.” Big deal.
If you massage the provisos, the conditions attached to the record, then the number of record-breaking feats is a) countless and, b) useless. So all those weather channel hosts and radio weather reporters are touting this most recent snowfall as a record breaker, but what is most important is what record has been broken.
In fact the all-time record for most centimetres of snow falling on Montreal in any 24-hour period is 43 during the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. All other records are concocted for sensational purposes.