Whiteout Christmas: Erie, Pennsylvania shatters snowfall record with 53 inches in 2 days

ERIE, Pa. — There’s White Christmas. And then there’s Whiteout Christmas.

Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced the second one Monday when a total of 34 inches of snow fell on Christmas Day, blanketing the city and shattering the city’s previous records for snowfall in a single day.

The snowfall total was more than four times the city’s previous all-time Christmas record of 8.1 inches, and it also broke the record for most snowfall in one day in the city’s history, which was 20 inches on Nov. 22, 1956.

The snow didn’t stop overnight, either.

Erie picked up another 19 inches of snow on Tuesday morning, making for a total ongoing snowfall total of 53 inches. That is the highest two-day snowfall total in the entire state of Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

The huge snowfall total is a consequence of lake-effect snow, a weather phenomenon where cold air combines with lake water to create narrow bands of powerful snow. The lake effect snow is expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Kara Murphy has lived in Millcreek Township, a suburb of Erie, for 15 years and told CNN she’s never seen snow like this. She said they cleared the snow off of her in-laws’ car Monday night, but it’s already covered in snow again.

She took this photo of the snowfall covering trees and the in-laws’ car at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“We had a plow come down our street overnight, but it’s impassable again,” she said.

CNN affiliate WICU shared this photo on its Facebook page from meteorologist David Wolter showing vehicles smothered by the snow.

“We are buried here at Erie News Now!” the news station wrote.

Vince Dragone, who lives just outside Erie, posted video of Oakley, his two-year-old German Shepherd, venturing out into the piles of snow. Oakley typically likes the snow, Dragone said, but it took him a while to get the confidence in snow this heavy.

“He did finally do his business after digging out a clearing,” Dragone said.

Dragone said he is still shoveling his driveway and hasn’t gotten out yet.

“Luckily, I’m off today,” he said.