Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The (Likely) Final D.C. Area Seasonal Snowfall: Some Pictures, Amounts, and Airport Statistics (UPDATED)

Updated 1:27AM and 8:46AM 3/28/2014: See below.

Henry House Hill, Manassas National Battlefield, Virginia in the late season snow yesterday, March 25, 2014.

Why are there so many Henry's associated with the Colonial and Civil War eras??

The above picture was taken by Kevin Ambrose and posted in this Capital Weather Gang entry that features some really lovely images from yesterday's snow both at the battlefield park and in D.C, with the latter ones  taken by Ian Livingston.

Dupont Circle with its central fountain in the snow yesterday, March 25, 2014. This picture was taken by Ian Livingston and posted in the same CWG entry linked above.

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This is a brief after-work update as I am not taking the computer home tonight (for the second night in a row). I'm not going to the gym (I'll go tomorrow) but instead I'm taking Kristof to dinner at Dupont Italian Kitchen downstairs (where Chris is working). It's Kristof's birthday. I think he's 21 for the 26th time. Right.

My workday was a rather busy both with the Hawaii project (it's almost finished, at least this phase of it) and my compliance case work.

Yes, once again another view from my apartment this season on a snowy day -- this one taken at 9:44MA March 25, 2014. This is probably the last such snowy scene image for the season from my apartment kitchen window. Aren't ya happy??

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As for taking the computer home, it is also too also to tote it around. This winter has really not wanted to give up, although it is supposed to warm up in the next few days with temps around 60F by Friday. It also looks like a wet Friday into Saturday on tap.

Today, preliminarily, it reached only 39F at Reagan National Airport (KDCA) and 36F at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (KBWI) while Washington Dulles Int'l Airport (KIAD) barely broke freezing at 33F. (I think that's a record low max, surpassing the 35F in 1971.) Tonight will be rather cold with lows around 22F.

Updated 8:47AM 3/28/2014: KIAD actually set THREE consecutive days of record low maximum temps including 39F on 3/24 (old record 40F set in 1972 and 1983); 33F on 3/25 (old record 38F in 1974); and 33F again on 3/26 (old record, as noted above, 35F in 1971). It also had a record low of 15F on 3/27 (old record 17F in 2001). End of update.

Actually, the reason I wanted to update this blog was to note yesterday's snowfall totals.

It snowed much of the day, although not a whole lot stuck, in particular on pavement. Cars and grassy areas had a fair amount of snow, especially for so late in the year.

Sterling NWS (LWX) county warning area (CWA) snowfall totals for March 25, 2014, updated at 2:59PM yesterday. Click on map for larger version.

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Area-wide totals ranged from a trace to about 4 inches with more in the immediate D.C. area and points west and south. Baltimore had less. My understanding is that the Delmarva around Rehoboth had upwards of 6 inches (as that area was close enough to the main precipitation shield of the storm in the evening).

Here are the summary snowfall statistics for the three regional climate stations (through midnight). The normal period is presently 1981 - 2010. There was a "trace" of snow at KDCA and KIAD today with some late morning snow flurries.

KDCA

3/25: 1.7 inches (daily record: 1.5 inches in 1906)
March 2014: 12.7 inches
Season-to-date: 32.0 inches
Normal season-to-date: 15.4 inches
Normal season total: 15.4 inches
(Normal-to-date and season are identical since the accumulating snowfall season is over at KDCA.)

Updated rankings of snowiest March events and overall monthly totals for Washington, D.C..

This is now the 5th snowiest March officially on record for Washington, D.C., including all those snowy winters of the late 19th and early 20th Century (long before National Airport official observations started in 1945). The March 2014 total is now 12.7 inches. Normal is just 1.3 inches.

KBWI

3/25: 0.2 inches (daily record: 3.2 inches in 2013 -- yes, just last year).
March 2014: 12.1 inches
Season-to-date: 39.0 inches
Normal season-to-date: 20.0 inches
Normal season total: 20.1 inches


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KIAD
3/25: 3.8 inches (daily record; old record was 3.2 inches set just last year in 2013)
March 2014: 19.8 inches
Season-to-date: 52.8 inches
Normal season-to-date: 21.4 inches
Normal season total: 22.0 inches

A quick perusal of KIAD's snow totals for its entire climate record -- which, admittedly, only goes back to Jan. 1963 -- shows this winter ranks 3rd behind 2009-2010 (73.2 inches) and 1995 - 1996 (61.9 inches). Yesterday's snowfall boosted the seasonal total above the previous third place / now fourth place winter of 2002 - 2003 (50.1 inches). Furthermore, this March is the snowiest one on record at KIAD (previous one was 15.5 inches in 1993).

Of note, there have been places in northern Montgomery County this winter that have had in excess of 70 inches of snow.

Updated 1:27AM 3/28/2014: I just wanted to note that CWG posted this entry on March 27th providing a comprehensive summary of the regional 2013 - 2014 seasonal snowfall statistics including KDCA and KIAD as well as other spots. The site makes a fuss about the 1945 start of observations at National Airport, and while I agree, nevertheless all D.C. records has to be compared to the full history back to 1871 (or 1888 for snow), not 1945.

End of update.

Cherry blossoms (though not the signature Yoshino "Japanese" ones) emerging despite the snow in Washington, D.C., March 25, 2014. This picture was also taken by Ian Livingston (see above link).

As it is, the blossoms -- Yoshino, double-flowering Kwanzan (my favorite), assorted hues of crabapples, Eastern redbud, and whatever other ones you like -- will be coming out in the next couple weeks in their floral splendor, and the city will look just beautiful, even if it is overloaded with tourists. The cold weather has held the blossoms and the tourists at bay.

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OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

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