Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/18/2010

Photographing D.C. making snow history

By Ian Livingston

The Feb. 5-6 and 9-10, 2010, mid-Atlantic blizzards

* Gradual melting Full Forecast | Next storm threat: SLCB *

Looking over the National Mall from the Capitol Building on Feb. 6, 2010.

We all have moments that draw us to weather and become etched in our memory as "benchmarks." Last Wednesday, I was walking through a hilly area between Cleveland Park and Van Ness when I came across a woman guiding herself, using ski polls to walk between knee-deep and freshly covered snow ruts. She said, "you are catching history." That was sort of when it hit me. The back-to-back blizzards of February 2010 cemented the idea that this winter, now Washington's snowiest, was indeed something special.

Keep reading for more photos from the February 2010 blizzards, AKA Snowmageddon and Snoverkill...

While incredible in itself, the one-two punch from Snowmageddon and Snoverkill came at the tail-end of what had already been a rather snowy period that began at the end of January. Unlike a tyipcal mid-Atlantic snow event, some snow was on the ground as Snowmageddon began.

Snow begins to accumulate at the Marriott Wardman Park on Feb. 5.

No matter how you say it, there's a big storm coming!

Snowmageddon started beautifully, but it was an unusually wet storm and much of the accumulating snowfall in D.C. was heavy and dense. Snow poured down through the night, sticking to everything it could reach. The weight proved too much for many trees and some structures.

Snow piles up early on Feb, 6 in Cleveland Park.

Snow pastes trees in downtown D.C. on Feb. 6.

Some hearty Washingtonians initially attempted to carry on -- after all, it was just a snow day. On Feb. 6, with already around 20" of snow on the ground around the Mall and to the north, people went out to play.

Snow falls on the National Mall midday Feb. 6.

A handful of people enjoy the wintry scene in front of the Capitol Building.

Sledders and skiers hit the slopes at the base of the Capitol Building.

A snowy scene around the Supreme Court of the United States.

After two days of digging out, as the sun set on Feb. 8, the day before the second blizzard was set to begin, it was fairly apparent the city would have difficulty taking another 10"+ of snow. Where would it go?

Cars and driveways blend into the snowy landscape of Washington.

The storm that began late on the 9th really kicked into high gear during the morning of the 10th. While D.C. was placed under Blizzard Warnings during both the Dec. 18-19 and Feb. 5-6 storms, this third blizzard of the winter really meant business in the wind department. Most who ventured out during the previous storm decided to stay inside for this one.

Blizzard Conditions in Cleveland Park on Feb. 10.

Digging in deep D.C. snow.

Cars blend into the snowy landscape of Washington.

Blowing snow near the University of the District of Columbia late on Feb. 10.

One week after the first storm ended, the city still had a fair amount of cleanup to go. Mounds of snow, missing lanes and sidewalks, and giant slush puddles became a temporary (we hope!) way of life.

One week later, snow is piled high on D.C. streets on Feb. 13.

As much trouble as these storms caused, making history is not something we do too often in winter around here. In her 50 years in D.C., the woman I spoke to says she never saw anything like it. I wonder if I will again.

Leaving the previous snowiest season ever (1898-1899) behind...

For a larger collection of photos, and images up to 1000 pixels in width, please see my Flickr set for the February 2010 D.C. blizzards.

By Ian Livingston  | February 18, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Photography, Snowmageddon, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Winter weather threat returns Monday
Next: PM Update: Snow-melting weather persists


Thanks for more great photos of our amazing winter.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 18, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Great photos Ian! I wish I could have been on the Mall during the storm.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

You know, every time I experience a big snow, I take photos, and then afterwards I wish I had taken more. My first such experience with a camera was in Eugene, OR in 1969, when we got 34 inches of snow. You could see the outline of the curbs under all that snow; imagine that! Then, in Boston, we got 22 inches of snow in January of 1978. I took some photos but got some ideas from photos pubished in the paper and tried to go out and take more, but it was too late; the snow had lost its pristine beauty. When it became clear we were going to get another chance I went and bought 6 rolls of 36-exposure Kodachrome, and that was a fine investment, because we got between 27 and 30 inches with fierce winds, and I got some wonderful images. Now I have two digital SLRs with about 24 GB of memory and I'm prepared for anything! But there always is regret I couldn't have been somewhere else. Ian's Mall shots are lovely indeed. Sadly, there was no reasonable way for me to get down there, or even to the C&O Canal, so I had to make do with what I had. And what I had was fine; if I knew how to post here, I'd post one or two of my favorites. For now, I'll enjoy all yours.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 18, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 18, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@doubtingdavid -- nice photos! I especially like the third one.

Posted by: natsncats | February 18, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Agree with natsncats.. nice shots doubtingdavid. That third one reminds me of the famous picture of Georgetown during the original Presidents Day storm (I think that's right?).

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic of photos, but on-topic of snow.

OK, you all know that I'm an irredeemable snowlover. But I am sobered. I have just got to say, take this stuff seriously! BE CAREFUL shoveling snow, if you are not in great shape to begin with, if you are not in the habit of exercising vigorously regularly, take your time digging out or if you can, pay someone else to do it. We hear all the time about how many people have heart attacks raking leaves or shoveling snow every year.

I thought it was late to say that this time. But my best friend just called ... as he was leaving the funeral of a friend who died of a heart attack shoveling snow, he got a phone call telling him that another friend had died of a heart attack, shoveling snow.

So, so sad. If you ARE in shape, if you can, please help any of your neighbors who might still have shoveling to do. Serious stuff.

Posted by: ChickenLady | February 18, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, natsncast and Ian. Yes, that photo, which I believe was from the February 1983 storm, but could have been from the 1979 one, certainly influenced me. But I'd also taken photos like that in Boston; I love the way snow changes the way people behave, and people walking in the middle of a main street are about as dramatic an example as I can think of.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 18, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Those photographs are beautiful, really. However, I have trouble enjoying what I logically know are very beautiful scenes. I'm so sick of snow, and the associated dangerous driving conditions (I can't be the only one who is tired of dodging other drives who have to peek out between snow piles!) that I can hardly stand it.

I think I will appreciate the lovely pictures much more when the melting is done. Post these again in the heat of August!

Posted by: jiji1 | February 18, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

nice photos!

Posted by: madisondc | February 18, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Nice pics, Doubting David and Ian.

I thought the one on Foot's Forecast was pretty neat showing deer up to their necks in snow.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 18, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Doubting David, I loved photo #2 and #3. Loved the way the photo #3 shows life going on despite all the snow.

Posted by: RoseVA | February 18, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Love the photos Ian and DoubtingDavid!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 18, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I also love the photos by Ian and Doubting David. If anyone is interested here is a link to my flicker sight with photos from around the Tidal Basin and other DC Landmarks during both storms.

Posted by: foremank | February 21, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company