D.C.'s wild weather ride in 2010
Year in review
2010 was a year of extremes throughout the Washington, D.C. metro region. On the heels of the snowiest December on record to close 2009, it didn't take long for the monumental, historic snows of February 2010 to arrive. February's cold and snow was followed by a very mild spring before blistering heat arrived in June. Then came the region's hottest summer on record, and the warmth persisted into fall. But as December rolled around, another flip occurred. This time to serious cold, and the month proved among our most wicked of recent Decembers.
It's been a bit of a ride! Let's take a closer look at what 2010 brought us when it comes to records and weather conditions season to season.
Following Snowpocalypse in Dec. 2009, Jan. "averaged" rather normal temperature wise. However, it was cold early, mild near the end, then cold and snowy at the very end. Jan. 2010 was the first Jan. in 10 years with above average snowfall, thanks in large part to the storm on the 30th that dropped 6.4" of snow in D.C. -- the third most snow for the date. When it was over, the Dec.-Jan. period ranked as the 6th snowiest ever at D.C.
The area's unparalleled stretch of snow that began on Jan. 30 continued unabated for the first third of Feb., capped off by Snowmageddon and Snoverkill over a several day period. This one-two-punch of double-digit snowfall was the first occurrence in recorded history, and the 28.6" of snow that fell from Feb. 5-10 was the most snow on record for a 7-day period, besting 28.0" in 1922.
The 32.1" of snow -- 31.9" from Feb 2-10 -- that fell at National during Feb. was the second greatest monthly total on record for D.C., only falling behind Feb. 1899 which saw 35.2" in the city. Though the final snowfall of the year occurred in Feb., the massive accumulation in the month pushed Washington to its snowiest winter on record with 56.1" total. The previous record holder was 1898-99 with 54.4" of snow.
While National's 56.1" barely broke D.C.'s previous record, Dulles and Baltimore crushed theirs. At Dulles the 73.2" easily surpassed the old 61.9" record from 1995-95. Baltimore's records dating back to the 1800s were also topped in a huge way, with 77.0" compared to the #2 62.5" in 1995-96. In the broader region, numerous 80-90"+ reports were recorded for a winter tally. Truly once in a lifetime D.C. area snow! Who knew what was lurking?
Mar. and Apr. are transitional months, but in 2010 they flipped warm and never looked back. No freezes were recorded in D.C. during Mar. for the first time ever, making the Feb. 27 freeze the earliest final freeze on record. Mar. eventually finished 8th warmest on record. Apr. sang the same tune, starting warmer than any other Apr., and finishing the 5th warmest on average. By the end of Apr., a bit of a dry spell became apparent as well.
May kept the above normal temperature streak alive. Meteorological spring, or Mar. through May, finished as the second warmest on record with an average temperature of 60.5, slightly behind 60.7 in 1977. And while meteorologists generally don't keep the books by astronomical seasons, astronomical spring finished as the warmest on record. Precipitation remained below normal for the second month in a row.
If you were here, you know it was down right hot. D.C. saw its warmest ever June at 80.6 degrees. If that wasn't sufficient, along came the hottest (tied) ever July (or calendar month all-time) with a reading of 83.1. After a big start, it was an easy "win" for warmest meteorological summer (June-Aug.) ever.
June 2010 tied for the most 90+ days in June all time with 18. July featured lots of heat and some big heat, including back-to-back 100+ days on July 6 and 7. July 6 scorched D.C. to the bone. Washington's 7 consecutive hours of 100+ tied (1930) for the most hours in a row 100+ and the noon reading of 100+ was the earliest in the day that mark has been reached.
There were 67 days with highs of 90 degrees or greater in D.C. during 2010. This mark tied with the previous #1 spot held by 1980. There is little doubt that 2010's heat at least matched the intensity of 1980, and more than likely topped it in all but a few categories. For example, 90+ days started early and stayed late. The 99 recorded on Sept. 24 was the latest 99 or higher in D.C., the previous latest occurring on Sept. 8, 1939 at 100. The Sept. 24 reading was also the hottest reading ever for astronomical fall.
By and large, summer was dry 'til the end. All the sunshine meant little rain, and June continued the below-average rainfall streak started during the spring. July saw enough to break the spell, yet Aug. became the fourth out of five months in a row with less rain than typical. Drought conditions progressed across the area at times, but proved short-lived, at least in the Metro area.
Amidst the dry spell, several episodes of severe weather -- fueled by intense heat -- burst through the area, with the most notable on July 25, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12. While Sept. started dry, it finished well above normal rainfall, buttressed by a daily record -- and #3 biggest total for the month -- 4.66 inches of rain on Sept. 30. Baltimore's daily record 6.02" for the day also set a record for the most rain on one day in Sept.
Record highs were broken on 6 occasions during the summer. The 4 100-degree days ranked #5 all time at D.C., and Baltimore's 7 such days tied the all time record highest with 1988 and 1930. There were eight heat waves (3 or more consecutive days 90+) during the warm season. Record high minimums were set on 7 different days. The 4 lows 80+, all record highs, represented the first time in history Washington has seen that many in any year.
Oct. lengthened the above average temperature streak at D.C. to eight months, and Nov. to nine. In addition to the record high minimums in the typical "summer" period, Oct. brought two more. One came on the 26th (63-tied) and the other on the 27th (68). The first recorded freeze of the 2010-11 winter was the 11th latest ever. Perhaps more interestingly, it was the finale of a 274-day streak with no freezing temperatures. This ranked #2 for such a mark, behind 1980 which had a 275 day stretch.
Several additional episodes of severe weather impacted D.C. and the broader area during what is the usual "off season" for that activity around here. The most intense aerial assault came around midnight on Nov. 17. Storms caused numerous wind damage reports as well as a confirmed tornado near Baltimore.
Warmth persisted into the first hours of Dec. and briefly returned to ring in 2011. Most of the month was cold and windy. Though only the 30th coldest December on record in Washington, with an average temperature of 34.6, apparent readings were sent lower by persistent winds that included 4 days with gusts past 40 mph and 14 with gusts past 30 mph. It was the coldest Dec. since 2000, when the average temperature was 31.8. Despite missing a blizzard, the 2.1" of snowfall was slightly above the 1971-2000 average of 1.5".
Rainfall total (Jan.-Dec.): 34.78" (1971-2000 avg. 39.35")
Snowfall total (Jan.-Dec.): 41.6"
Days with no rain: 215 (58.9%)
Days with more than 1" of rain: 6
High temperatures, max / min: 102 (Jul. 6 & 7) / 23 (Jan. 30)
Low temperatures, max / min: 81 (Jul. 24) / 16 (Jan. 3 & 31, Feb. 7)
Days 98+ high temperature: 11 (tied 4th - record 1930, 15)
Days 95+ high temperature: 27 (tied 2nd - record 1980, 28)
Days 90+ high temperature: 67 (tied 1st - 2nd, 5 years most recent 1991, 59)
Days 80+ high temperature: 135 (tied 3rd - record 1970/2000, 136)
Days 70+ low temperature: 82 (1st - 2nd 1980, 74)
Days 32 or below high temperature: 11 (record 1904, 35)
Days 32 or below low temperature: 72 (record 1904, 118)
Days with measurable snow: 13 (record 1935, 21)
Days with 1"+ snow: 9 (record 1893/1899/1935, 12)
Days with 1"+ of snow on ground: 24 (record 1904, 46)
 Apr., 2; May, 3; June, 18 (tied for record); July, 21; Aug., 13; Sept. 10.
 June 24 (100), June 27 (99), July 7 (102), July 24 (101), Aug. 10 (98), Sept. 24 (99).
 June 12-14, June 19-29, July 4-9, July 14-25, Aug. 4-6, Aug. 8-11, Aug. 29-Sept. 3, and Sept. 22-25
 June 21 (78), June 24 (75), July 7 (80), July 8 (80), July 24 (81), Aug. 11 (80), Sept. 25 (74)
Special thanks to National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington for compiling monthly reports on weather of note. These reports are available on their climate page under "Monthly Weather Summary (CLM)."
| January 3, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: Latest, Local Climate, Recaps
Save & Share: Previous: Forecast: Seasonably cold first week of 2011
Next: Top weather story in 2010: Record snow or heat?
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 3, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 3, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: eric654 | January 3, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kathyb39 | January 3, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | January 3, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 3, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 3, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Gooddogs | January 3, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 3, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: df540148 | January 4, 2011 6:17 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.