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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Amazing images of D.C.'s extreme 2010 weather

By Jason Samenow

What a memorable year 2010 was for weather in Washington, D.C. Ian posted a great recap of the year Monday and I followed that up with a piece in Tuesday's print edition. Before the dust of 2010 settles, I thought I'd showcase a series of images that helps tell the story of 2010's incredible weather in Washington.

Let's begin with Snowmageddon...


The map on the left was Capital Weather Gang's accumulation outlook made the day before before the first flakes fell. The image on the right is a screenshot of the poll we conducted to choose a name for the storm.

1 a.m. on February 4, 2010. Radar courtesy: WSI Corporation.

Snowmageddon radar. The radar showing Snowmageddon developing to the west and southwest. Notice the vast area of precipitation over a large chunk of the country. No way it was missing us.


0z NAM February 5 (7 p.m. EST Feb. 4). Image courtesy: NCEP.

Snowmageddon model projection. Snowmageddon 60-hour precipitation projection from the NAM model the evening before the snow began. It indicated two to three inches of melted liquid or the equivalent of 20-30 inches of snow would fall. That was about spot on.


People dig out the three snow plows stuck in Mt. Pleasant. Submitted by robyne13

Snowmageddon aftermath photo:See more.


The Monday, 2/8/10, 12z GFS model simulating snow over the region Wednesday morning and very strong winds (depicted by the closely packed lines of equal pressure or isobars in black).

Snoverkill model simulation:The image to the right shows a GFS model simulation for the Snoverkill storm of February 9-10, which dumped another 6-20" across the region. This particular model projection, from the morning of February 8, very accurately simulated where the heavy snow would set up - from the District and to the northeast.


Evolution of the snow pile outside the BWI Airport hourly parking garage. Photos courtesy Jonathan Dean - BWI Airport

Monstrous BWI snow piles: Towering snow piles in the wake of the Snowmageddon and Snoverkill storms did not melt until early May in some spots.


The top 15 warmest Junes on record since 1871 in Washington, D.C. 2010 set a new record by a significant margin.

Intense June heat: June was the hottest on record by a longshot.


A compilation of July 16, 2010 earthquake reports from the U.S. Geological Survey. Graphic adapted by CWG.

Earthquake!: A tremor registering 3.6 on the Richter scale rattled the area on the morning of July 16.


Radar loop showing the line of storms progressing rapidly across the area late Sunday. Note the heaviest precipitation, with the brightest red colors on this map, went through Loudoun and Montgomery counties and D.C., where much of the heaviest damage was located. Image credit: Weather Underground

July 27 thunderstorms: An intense line of thunderstorms ripped through the region on July 27, causing widespread wind damage in west central Montgomery county.


Thunderstorms tear through the D.C. metro region the morning of August 12, 2010. Radar loop courtesy IMAP.

August 12 thunderstorms: Thunderstorms with damaging winds raked the area on August 5 and again on August 12, shown in the radar loop to the right.


Comparison between astronomical summer and meteorological summer in D.C. Image rotates every 7 seconds.

Hot summer by any definition: It was the hottest meteorological summer on record.


Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Earl this afternoon, as the center gets closer to the Carolina coast. Credit: NASA.

Earl just misses: Hurricane Earl, at one point a Category 4 storm, flirted with the North Carolina outer banks bringing tropical storm force winds. It generated high surf for the MD/DE/VA beaches.


Top 10 list of single-day September rainfall events at Reagan National (DC), BWI (Balt) and Dulles (IAD) airports.

Record late September deluge: A deep feed of tropical moisture, originating from the Caribbean, produced torrential rains to close out the month of September. Baltimore set a new single-day rainfall record for the month of September as a result.


Low level jet stream at low altitudes (about 5,000 feet or 850 mb). Dark red shades indicate winds of at least 50 knots. Source: College of Dupage.

Midnight November thunderstorms: An unusually severe line of thunderstorms so late at night and so late in the fall, fueled by a screaming low level jet stream at 5,000 feet (shown to the right), raged through the region November 17. The storms spawned a tornado in Baltimore.


Graph representing days between the last freeze of the previous cold season and first freeze of the following cold season. Measurements were recorded in D.C. from 1872-2010 and at National Airport since the 1940s.

Freeze-free: 2010 featured the 2nd longest freeze-free period on record, spanning 274 days between February 27 and November 29.


East Coast hurricane shield: The 2010 hurricane season (shown in its entirety above) while tied for the 3rd most active on record for the Atlantic, spared the metro region from any direct encounters with tropical storms.



Snow hole: For snow lovers, the pain of just missing the December 26 coastal blizzard still lingers.


Here are some other good recaps of 2010...

* A great collection of the best images nationally from Stu Ostro at
* TBD's take on D.C.'s best images
* NASA's top 2010 Earth science images
* NOAA's top 2010 visualizations for the planet

By Jason Samenow  | January 6, 2011; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Latest, Recaps, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Seasonable today, a few flakes tonight
Next: Tuesday snow threat: On the edge again?


I may be in the minority -- but here's to a vastly less exciting 2011. We need some R&R.

Posted by: random-adam | January 6, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

awesome post! wow, what a year for weather...

Posted by: madisondc | January 6, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting, especially in light of the amount of snow dumped on New England, that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland seem to be relatively snow-free in the wake of the post-Christmas blizzard.

What's going on up there??? Perhaps a warm-air feed from the Greenland Block? These areas are far to the north of us and are supposed to be subject to the cold Labrador Current. Generally these areas get a lot of snow as late as April.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 6, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The hurricane time lapse was cool. Most interesting was Tomas and its extratropical transition in early November.

Is there a similar time-lapse for the entire year?

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 6, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: wiredog | January 6, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Snowmaggedon may be becoming the lingua franca for both Feb. 2010 storms. WJLA showed what appeared to be a Snowoverkill video clip a couple of nights ago during a Snowmaggedon piece.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 6, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Next week's snow event (or not event) is not likely to be our big weather maker for Jan. Have you guys seen the specific intensity of the cold heading our way the following week? Thicknesses below 500 in our area? Surface temps might let you skate on the Tidal Basin....hope not.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 6, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

who cares about the past. I'm just worried about the 12z gfs and how it has recently just crushed our tues/wed hopes.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 6, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

our hopes are crushed OTRO. See earlier post referening On This Run Only...

NYC didnt know they were getting 2-3 feet of snow on 12/26 until 36 hours out or so. Its all good for now. Chances remain for us. Thats all you can ask 5 days out.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 6, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

there should be a rule that whenever someone references a model run they have to post a link to it...

eh...when faced with the inevitable, disquieting wavering of the model runs from hit-to-miss-to-miss, during the "miss" phases i like to console myself with the idea that at this point we'd rather not be in the bull's eye. the idea being that by the time the storm shown in the models 144 hours out actually gets here, the bull's eye will have moved again... this denial/rationalization tactic works for a little while, anyway.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

touche. very true. But at the same time it angers me that Marguisette, our however the heck you spell it, from accuweather is already hyping this storm out of the b hole. I mean have you seen their forecast map for next tues? It already has a heavy snow swath over the entire eastern seaboard. And to add fuel to the fire he keeps absolutely TRASHING the Euro model because it's taking the storm OTS. Then, low and behold, the gfs takes it out to sea on the 12z today.

Accuweather is full of hype mongering clowns that just want your views on their site.

God I hope he knows what he's doing. Can anyone feel the dissonance I'm feeling?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 6, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

haha walter, I have to admit, I dig your style. You just blunted an ulcer on my part.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 6, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

we just saw a CWG post comparing the farmer's almanac's predictions to what actually happened. and CWG is very forthright about doing "postmortems" on their own predictions. i'd sure love to see one (or several) on accuweather/jb/margusity.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"I may be in the minority -- but here's to a vastly less exciting 2011. We need some R&R."

I agree.

The snow sucked, and the earthquake scared the crap out of me.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 6, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Great run-through, Jason. What a year for weather. Thanks!

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | January 6, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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