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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 02/ 8/2010

Next storm puts snowfall record in reach

By Matt Rogers

* Serious snow/wind risk late Tues into Wed | Live chat at 2 p.m. *

* Our Full Forecast thru weekend | Snowmageddon's incredible output *
* Winter Storm Watch Tues.-Wed. for most of metro area (map) *
* Watch out for ice dams | Measuring Snowmageddon's depth *
* Power outage maps for Dominion Electric | Pepco | BG&E *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

Seasonal snowfall over the last two decades. 45" have fallen so far in 2009-2010, the most since 1995-1996.

With the impending storm for tomorrow and Wednesday, we have a legitimate chance for an all-time (since records have been kept in the late 1800s) seasonal snow record.

Our big weekend storm surged Reagan National Airport's seasonal total to 45" with the balance of February and March yet to go. This places our current winter in position number three for the snowiest winters on record, behind 1995-96 (46") and the big one, 1898-99 (54.4"). Of course, that all-time record was set at a more downtown location (M Street), so some may argue the higher elevation and location away from the Potomac was an easier accomplishment. But in my mind, that makes this potential record season all the more notable.

The chart above tracks seasonal totals since the 1990-91 snow season. Just look at that volatility. Get this: our 45" this season is more than the last four winters COMBINED (which was only 35.5").

Keep reading for more on the chances for 2009-2010 to make snowfall history...

The chart also shows that in the past two decades, we have been getting our big seasons every seven years (not the case in the 1980s and 1970s). The big question now is whether we can see enough snow in the next six weeks to reach up to that 1898-99 record. The weather pattern situation with a fading El NiƱo and a continued Arctic blocking pattern should keep snow opportunities in play as late as early March. The next storm will probably bring us close or over the top.

By Matt Rogers  | February 8, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Local Climate, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Alert: Serious snow/wind a risk late Tues into Wed
Next: S'now joke: Another major storm coming



Posted by: OMGPonies | February 8, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't really have anything to say, I just want to block anyone from posting "first!!1!lol"

Posted by: jochpo | February 8, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

An interesting take on the cyclical nature of winter storms.

I think that OPM Director Berry should consult Jason and CWG before making a call for tomorrow!

Posted by: krosseel | February 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse


I must be the only fed at work today....and bored silly.

Posted by: jawz33 | February 8, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jawz33 | February 8, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow, good to know we can hopefully lower our snow contract for the next few years.

Posted by: allisondt | February 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

As an aside:

Enough with the "FIRST!" stuff already, please.

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 8, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think this next storm should be called 'SNOWAY!' This is getting silly.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | February 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse


Come on, have a little fun already! First is fine!

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 8, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in this area nearly all my life, although I went to school for two years in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the International Falls of the east. Even up there, with their lake effect snow, this would have been a very hard winter.

The last decade or so, however, I spent in Orlando, so this winter has been a particularly cruel shock to my system. Indeed, if I never saw another snowflake in my life it would be fine with me, but it seems as if Mother Nature is not prepared to grant me this indulgence.

People are going around saying "only ten inches." We're losing perspective. Most years we never get a storm that comes within four inches of that.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 8, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Bring it on! The snowophiles can move to Florida, where I grew up. The only flakes down there are bipeds.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 8, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I really want to know what's going on with metro. Will buses and above ground lines be operational tomorrow?

It's 2:00- I expected something to have been decided on both fed and metro operating status for tomorrow by now.

Posted by: watchingweather | February 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

In twenty-eighteen
Seven year snow itch will flare
Off to St. Somewhere!

Posted by: HaikuMan | February 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

If the next storm is in the double digits, it needs to be called Alexander Snovechkin, cause it'll complete the hat trick of big storms.

So, in total:
Snopocalypse II: Snomageddon
Snopocalypse III: Alexander Snovechkin

Posted by: cassander | February 8, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I don't know about the "bring it on" bravado. I love big storms as much as anyone, and actually didn't mind shoveling out my car yesterday. But we're quickly getting to the point where, even for someone who enjoys snow, the conditions are getting very dangerous.

The potential for downed trees, power lines, roofs and other structures, not to mention power outages, travel disruptions and other unsafe conditions following the coming storm is very real. Yes, it's fun to go sledding and build snowmen, but the ramifications of an additional 8-10" of wet snow, along with sleet, high winds and "blizzard conditions" are very serious. I don't think we should be relishing the prospect of yet another major storm, particularly one on the heels of a storm that was historic in its proportions. But that's just me.

Posted by: ultrapop101 | February 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that's just you, Ultrapop.

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo!! More snow! Love this stuff!!!!

Posted by: DaveB2 | February 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Snowabunga! Here we go again!

Posted by: pgoco | February 8, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Twenty sixth!

I vote we name the next storm "Snowpocalypse Now"

Posted by: wiredog | February 8, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Just read that Food & Friends in DC is in desperate need of volunteers to deliver. If you have the proper vehicle for it (and know how to use it) more information at:

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | February 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that it is, SWester. But thanks for chiming in.

Posted by: ultrapop101 | February 8, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun County schools just announced they are closing for the rest of the week -- see

Posted by: lsbg-ers | February 8, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I've been getting all my news from online print sources and wonder if there has been any direction given to folks to shake snow from the limbs of their trees. There should be. I saw a lot of downed limbs yesterday and am sure most deciduous trees would appreciate being relieved of the burden before the next storm.

Posted by: rwjc | February 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Let us who can remember to dig out those who can't...

Posted by: Zeromeo | February 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"in the past two decades, we have been getting our big seasons every seven years (not the case in the 1980s and 1970s)".
Could you post a graph of annual snow data back to the 60s or 70s? I recall WaPo oldtimer Doug Feaver mentioned the seven year snow cycle back in 1990 or so.

Posted by: jandmva | February 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else see these being used to clear their neighborhood roads:

The county has been using these to clear roads in my Silver Spring neighborhood since Saturday. The roads are clear and cars all dug put (wish I hadn't exerted so much energy yesterday digging my car out)

Posted by: crazer | February 8, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't see how the Fed. Govt can possibly be open tomorrow or Wednesday. Even without the impending precipitation tomorrow, it would be a stretch.

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 8, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ooof. My mother was supposed to fly in tomorrow evening. I'm not seeing it.

Being without power for a day was miserable. I don't want to do that again. I love snow as much as the next person, but I think I'm with ultrapop101: we're not set up for this.

But the weather geek in me is excited about busting right through a record. Impressive periodic wave we have going there on the seven year snowfest -- incredibly regular!

Posted by: BadMommy1 | February 8, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

All Fairfax County public schools will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 9 and Wednesday, Feb. 10

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 8, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think we need a new "official" recording station to replace National Airport. The 17.8" recorded there seems to be the lowest in the entire region! Same with the December 18 storm. We got cheated on the record snow list because of this. I had 20" in December and just under 24" last weekend at my house, between Franconia Road and the Beltway near Van Dorn St.

Posted by: bowmanrand1 | February 8, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Snowamagun! From Snowpocalypse to Snowmageddon, now comes Snowabunga!!

Posted by: pgoco | February 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Bowmanrand1, in order to maintain an apples-to-apples comparison, we need to keep measuring at National Airport. The fact that we are 1" away from the record at that exact site and 10" away from the combined record at a "low" spot like that (pre-modern location was at a snowier spot) just goes to show how amazing this winter has been.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun County just folded for the rest of the week...

Posted by: icecubedownthetoilet | February 8, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I may be late to the party on this one, but NWS just upgraded the Tues/Wed storm to 8-10":

DC metro is on the southern tip of the storm, so who knows what we'll really get here. But given the latest storms' apparent propensity for shifting south...yeah.

Posted by: eliwho | February 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Sure, if I had heat and power at my home, I would not be so concerned about this next storm. I think this Canadian speaks for hundreds of his frozen neighbors when he says "enough already."

Posted by: brutus_was_right | February 8, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Warning 10-20"

Posted by: capsfan5 | February 8, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: shackleton | February 8, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Warning for 10-20" here in Fairfax!

Posted by: rocotten | February 8, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

No, it's not just ultrapop101. It's just that people who are responding to emergency calls, plowing your streets and trying to save the roofs of your office buildings and are too busy to post here.

I love snow, and I wished to have a very snowy winter, but as I am staring down the barrel at very scary potentials for this next storm, I am taking every bit of that wish back.

Whomp Whomp, I know, but there are real concerns associated with this, so let's at least respect the opinion of those who are pointing that out.

That said, thanks to CWG for your informative posts! I have learned a lot about meteorology in the last two weeks and am keeping my boss happy with scientifically based forecasts without having to rely on TV weatherpeople, who I lose confidence in every day. Being able to stay in front of this is making my job easier.

Posted by: klh84 | February 8, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

3:04 PM the NWS issued the Winter Storm Warning and the accumulation estimate is now 10-20".

Better walk over to the market before the mob gets there. I only stocked up thru tomorrow.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | February 8, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

After Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon, what's another 10"? Snow what?!

Posted by: DCNative59 | February 8, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow.....just wow....

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 8, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I have lived up north in Rochester, NY (Which has incredible lake effect snows) and numerous states in New England, and I cannot recall that my forearms ever hurt from shoveling so much snow (Along with the back of course). In fact, I have only seen a snowstorm like this one once, in Tahoe where they have the equipment to deal with it. Blizzard on the way. Wow.

Has anyone else seen the tractor-based snow blowers? Saw one today widening an already plowed road. Bad sign of what's to come, as they seem to be making more room for plows to push snow. I feel so bad for all of the people who still cannot get out of their neighborhoods. My in-laws are some. I usually curse the noise of our road, because it's a secondary county highway, but am celebrating the fact I can get out if I need to. Hang in there everyone. What a winter we are having.

Posted by: dprats21 | February 8, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Day #3 in the bunker.
Took treacherous walk out to main road to check conditions. Subdivision & secondary road really bad; packed ice with deep ruts. Main road has one lane cleared with lots of slush. No parking; no sidewalks. Re-freezing already started with the sun past zenith. There is lots of standing water from today's melt that has nowhere to go.
Preparing for Day #4. Bunker is still well provisioned but coffee is running low.
Having gone thru so much with this storm, we might as well pop the seasonal record.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 8, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1, I think you really mean "snow-o-phobes" should move to Florida, not snowphiles (-philes means "loves"; -phobes means "fears").

Posted by: onthesidelines | February 8, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I just drove to the store and the roads are pretty slushy with a lot of places where there is curb to curb snow still. Even a small amount of snow on top of what is there is going to cause problems.

Posted by: barbnc | February 8, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

10-20", eh? Just checked NWS and that's definitely what they are saying.

I was over at Whole Foods/Glover Park at 10:00 a.m. and there was hardly any fresh fruit or produce left. So if you wanna' get stocked up, now's the time.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Warning for DC - NWS calling for 10 to 20 inches.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

304 PM EST MON FEB 8 2010








Posted by: fleeciewool | February 8, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm going with...


--get it?

Posted by: rickyroge | February 8, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The article mentions that the old records were measured somewhere on M Street. Just curious if anyone knows exactly where, and why on M Street? And where are the official measurement(s) taken now? If at National Airport, it seems to me they always have less snow than other locations in the area.

Posted by: lyungk | February 8, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax City/GMU: We're fairly well buried in here. I've seen many people getting stuck trying to get in/out of the neighborhood. We had a bulldozer and plow team come through, but only to move enough snow as to allow an emergency vehicle into the neighborhood. We were then told not to expect anyone else until Friday.

I just heard an Emergency Alert System program break in for the next storm. I don't remember ever actually hearing a real alert before.

Posted by: figgy_va | February 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Can you provide a time estimate of the storm's arrival? Have a 3:15 pm flight out of Dulles that showing as confirmed and showing as still being on time. Fingers are crossed. We're trying to get ourselves out of here and to the *ahem* Caribbean!

Posted by: Hanz1 | February 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Just want to echo what others have said: If you haven't stocked up for the next few days on food, do it now.

Grocery stores are getting pretty empty, and the NWS just bumped the estimate for Tuesday-Wednesday's snowfall to between 10 and 20 inches.

Get your groceries now.

Posted by: DrewinAlexandria | February 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

To keep with the bilbical/Revelation theme ... Shall we call this the "AntiSpring?". Or "Snowvelation?" Or just "The Beast?"

Posted by: bikerjohn | February 8, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Maybe my building will be closed this time and I won't have to come in on Wednesday for work.

Posted by: voltron88x | February 8, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This time the TV stations need to bring streaming updates from Structural Engineers!

Posted by: rocotten | February 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

NWS latest @ 3:04pm is calling for 10-20" now. Good Grief!!

Posted by: jawz33 | February 8, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

New post is up.

Posted by: schrute | February 8, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

In DC we're so used to saying "what if this were all snow?" What should we say now? What if this were all cocaine?

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 8, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@ bikerjohn

haha, how bout Snowmeggido?

Posted by: voltron88x | February 8, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@onthesidelines, yes, I meant snowophobes. nice alliteration!

Meanwhile, for Snowtacular Savings, the Ken Cen is offering $20 off of Sleeping Beauty tickets (Mariinsky Ballet).

We're getting snowblown by all the "snow-" terminology, but I do like Snovechkin, posted above.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 8, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Forgive my newbieness, but if the NWS is publishing warnings in the 10-20 inch range, why are other weather people only siting 5-10"...I realize some areas are posting higher snowfall for the outlying areas, but it would appear the NWS doesn't think we'll get LESS than 10 inches. Am I missing something?

Posted by: Annetastic | February 8, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

CWG, I've become a big fan of your blog this winter. You are awesome! Thank you. Your seasonal snowfall chart is a great indicator of how this winter's snowiness compares to previous winters. Wow.

But there's maybe another way to measure "snowiness" beyond total accumulation -- I feel that some winters in previous years have been "snowier" than this one because it snowed more frequently, albeit with less accumulation overall. Can any of you dear weather geeks point me to a chart comparing frequency of snowfall/number of times it snowed (with some accumulation)over the years, if one exists?

Posted by: aea02000 | February 8, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

lead item in the The Post's Afternoon Buzz news summary email:

Capital Weather Gang: Making history: Snowfall record in reach
With expected totals for Tuesday and Wednesday inching upward, this winter could set a historic record.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 8, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

One of the things I'm wondering is, when will I get my Post again? The way we keep getting clobbered with all this snow, it could be days!

Posted by: PGpostreader | February 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What have we done to anger the snow gods? Enough is enough. Hope this brings us a reall gorgous spring.

Posted by: ashcat | February 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse


Then Marion Barry would be saying, "Mother Nature ser me up!"

Posted by: Kechara | February 8, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

To all of you who think this is great, I guess you are living in apartments or on campus. Some of the people around here will be without power until Friday, some people no longer can live in their homes because trees fell on them or they caught fire when the electricity was finally turned on. I use to enjoy snow, like when I was 9 or 10 but now it is not fun. To the person who has not received the post, tell your carrier that they need to get in gear. I have not missed a paper delivery.

Posted by: rufref1 | February 8, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Take your snow chart back about another 7 years or so (1986/7) and you'll see heavy snow that year as well.

Posted by: Apostrophe | February 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

No mas, SnoMas
(With apologies to Roberto Duran)

Posted by: Paladin7b | February 8, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

You know, all this reminds me of the first CWG article I saw, about a year ago, showing a graph of DC's snowfall and claiming (wrongly) that it was trending downward. It was wrong because if they had looked at 1920 through 2009, they'd have seen the trend was flat. 1870-1919 was a snowier period than 1920 to 2009, and also flat. We were in two different regimes. It will be interesting to look at that plot through 2010.

As for wanting it to snow or not, well, it's going to do what it's going to do. I hope we all stay safe, I really do.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see charts of historic trends - the charts seem less random and more like the waves come every 6-7 years, which makes sense with El Nino. Can CWG comment? Thanks!

Posted by: clarekelley | February 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The only lapse in this graph, is the storm of 1993. I don't know if DCA simply didn't receive much, but out here in Western Fairfax we had well over 20" of snow that Winter.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 8, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Edit: By "Winter", I mean from a single storm, not the entire season. Either way though, it's still above the amount represented in the above DCA graph.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 8, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@ rufref1, I think this is great, and I live on a 1/3 acre of property in a nearly 200 home neighborhood, with woods in my backyard, and my house is actually in a gully from the surrounding homes (So leaves, snow, etc. always drift our direction). Yet, I still love this beyond anything imaginable. I agree, being without power would really bite, and I feel bad for those people, but it will not take away from my joy of this occasion.

As for fallen trees, and being stuck in driveways and so forth, those are issues which can be resolved by neighbors simply helping eachother out. The family from across the street helped my family dig out our driveway from the immense plow drifts, and they even cleared the area in front of our mailbox for us, so that we could still get mail. The night before, my mother and I spent four hours outside in the middle of the storm shoveling and throwing snow as well.

On Saturday morning it was discovered that a massive pine tree had collapsed and blocked the entire top of her street from the main road. One of our gungho neighbors went straight up there, and spent an hour chainsawing it into firewood pieces for his fireplace. He cleared the street.

Our washing machine broke on the first night of snowfall (Friday), and it hasn't worked since. As a result of this, we are handwashing, which is how my parents actually grew-up cleaning their clothes. It's hard, it's a bummer, but it's doable. Our other next-door neighbor however, now having learned about this through a casual discussion, has insisted that we use their washing machine as need be.

You see, this is how we manage to get through sticky situations, and in fact, this is how sticky situations actually help to build bonds and commune between neighbors and such. Neighbors that are normally so busy that they only manage a fleeting "Hello" before rushing into their homes after coming back from work, are all out and about assisting eachother, and it is because of that more than anything else, that major snowstorms like this can be such a great experience.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 8, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@PGpostreader: On Monday, I got my Post for Saturday through Monday. I hope you got your recent copies, too.

Posted by: John_Locke77 | February 9, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered two scary things?

1) Our weather would seem to make for good terrorist opportunities.

2) FOUR major storms, and for each, the storm paths are identical and ground zero is the nation's capital; are the Chinese messin' with our weather?

Posted by: kinkysr | February 10, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered two scary things?

1) Our weather would seem to make for good terrorist opportunities.

2) FOUR major storms, and for each, the storm paths are identical and ground zero is the nation's capital; are the Chinese messin' with our weather?

Posted by: kinkysr | February 10, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

To: JerryFloyd1: Being an English teacher, I can't let your comment go, so here goes: A "Snowophile" would be someone who loves the snow, like a "Francophile" is someone who loves France. I think you meant "Snowophobe" - someone who is afraid of snow.
from your friendly neighborhood English teacher. (Sorry - I'm just as bored as the next guy, but I get my kicks this way!)

Posted by: citizen15 | February 10, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I have lived here all my life. It is interesting how we have gone from blizzard weather every four years to every seven years in the past two decades. My birthday is mid February and I have been literally snowed in seven times in my life. Let's hope the snow ends soon and starts melting down for good.

Posted by: TVDIVA | February 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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