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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 03/16/2010

The death of a snowpack

By Kevin Ambrose

* Return of the sun: Full Forecast | DST: Time changes, not weather *

A yardstick lays flat on the ground in Oakton, VA after having been supported upright for almost a month by a deep snowpack, March 11, 2010.

Snowpack is defined as layers of snow that accumulate on the ground from multiple snowfalls. We had four accumulating snowfalls during late January and early February that created a snowpack of two feet or more across much the Washington area. BWI recorded a snow depth of 34" on February 11 and Dulles Airport recorded a snow depth of 26" on February 10. Our area's snow depth rivaled, and in some cases surpassed, the snowpack from the historic winter of February 1899. At my house near Oakton, VA, the snowpack peaked close to 28".

I decided to record the changing snowpack with periodic photos taken of a yard stick that I placed in my backyard. I wasn't sure if the snowpack would grow, melt slowly, or get washed away quickly by a heavy rain storm. Ultimately, it was a slow, month-long snow melt, something that is almost as rare in our area as a 30" snowpack.

Keep reading to see the photo results.









By Kevin Ambrose  | March 16, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Photography  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Daylight Saving changes time, not weather
Next: PM Update: Clear skies and growing warmth


Kind of reminds me of Frosty the Snowman...

Posted by: Beachboy4ever | March 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Still a few piles left, however.

Posted by: wiredog | March 16, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, still some snow mounds in the public parking lots in Bethesda.

Posted by: Langway4Eva | March 16, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

My current candidate for taking the duration prize is the pile of snow against the north end of the parking garage for the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. The peak was still almost to the base of the third level as of Saturday evening.

Posted by: kevinwparker | March 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic photo documentation, thanks Kevin. I want to remember this winter for a very long time. Part of me is still in disbelief that we had the conditions and snowpack you describe. But it is now recorded, thanks to you. Although, this sunny warm streak of weather is much needed... glad to see the snow melt, but don't tell anyone haha.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 16, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I think the snow pile at the back of the parking lot where I work is going to take the cake, sorry to say. The snow wasn't just plowed into a pile... the cat machines scaled the side of the snow pile to drop more on top. The pile actually has a shallow incline so they could drive the cat machines to the top. It's still about 20ft high and probably 300ft across (it started at about 30, so it's already lost about 10ft). I'll let everybody know when it completely melts. I'm guessing sometime in mid-April.

Posted by: B-Kraemer | March 16, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I said goodbye tonight to my last remaining snowpile where it was piled up from me shoveling the deck.

Posted by: spgass1 | March 16, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

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