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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Remembering 2010's Snoverkill

By Jason Samenow

Snoverkill accumulations, February 9-10, 2010. Washington recorded 10.8" of snow, its 25th biggest snow on record. Source: Snowmageddon, the book, by Kevin Ambrose and Ian Livingston

After Snowmageddon buried the metro region with 18-32 historic inches February 5 and 6, who would've thought another 8-20 inches would fall within five days? Enter Snoverkill, the amazing storm that brought not only heavy snow, but winds gusting over 40 mph and temperatures that plummeted into the high teens to near 20. It was a true blizzard.

The Snoverkill began with a quick thump of about 2-5 inches of snow February 9, a Tuesday evening. Then the snow changed to mixed precipitation before a dry slot shut off the precipitation entirely late at night. I remember some of the models at the time backing off on precipitation amounts and the fear shared by snow lovers and forecasters that the storm was going to be a bust. At the Capital Weather Gang, we had predicted 6-16" across the region.

Keep reading for more on the storm, and comment with your memories...

Surface weather map showing low pressure rapidly deepening off the mid-Atlantic coast Wednesday morning, February 10, 2010. Source: NOAA

But early Wednesday morning, the storm started to bomb off the mid-Atlantic coast and a band of heavy snow accompanied by powerful winds set up over the metro region. The snow and wind, which dropped visibilities to near zero, would persist over much of the area well into the afternoon. Around the District and to the northeast, the blizzard didn't subside until the evening.

As the storm was happening, I wrote:

"The conditions outside right now in the metro region are some of the most extreme you will ever see here during winter."

Blizzard Conditions in Cleveland Park on Feb. 10, 2010. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston

I watched in awe as true white out conditions developed outside my home office in northwest Washington where I was blogging the storm. When the storm finally ended that evening and I decided to take a short walk, the depth of the snow outside (I would estimate around three feet) was simply stunning. I experienced a winter landscape in D.C. that I had never seen before and may well never witness again.

At Reagan National Airport, visibility was around one mile or less for nine straight hours between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on February 10, with several readings at 0.1 miles. Winds gusted consistently over 30 mph after 8 a.m. that day and as high as 45 mph. (See the hourly conditions at Reagan National by scrolling down to the bottom of the following links for February 9 and 10, 2010)

The storm's worst impacts occurred north and northeast of the District. In Frederick county, several dozen vehicles became stranded in snow drifts. In Baltimore, 19.5" fell, its 9th biggest snowstorm on record. Remarkably, Baltimore experienced two top-10 snows in five days.

Post your memories of the storm below. Also, you can view our coverage of the Snoverkill storm by reviewing our archives from February 7-13, 2010.

By Jason Samenow  | February 9, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  History, Latest, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Washington D.C. weather in the year 2076, part II
Next: Snowstorm burying eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas


first! sadly this was the low point of my overseas stint when I thought "how the heck could I be missing this?"

Posted by: meteorolinguist | February 9, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I start to feel intense frustration with this winter's lack of snowfall I make myself remember how very generous nature was to us snowlovers last year.
That mind game won't work next winter, unless something huge comes up in these last weeks before the solstice.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 9, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Posting my comment here cause it's the newest thread. Not only is this site slow to load and slow to accept comments ("waiting for voices etc. etc."), but now it seems to keep my browser (Firefox) from closing right away. Takes a couple of seconds to close whether I'm logged in to Wash Post or not. What's going on here??

Posted by: petworthlad | February 9, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse


I haven't noticed issues or gotten other reports. Maybe was just temporary? I'll do some testing and alert IT if problem persists.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 9, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse're not alone.

Apparently there are so many commercial "cookies" on the CWG site that they slow things enormously.

I'm not sure if this is true of other Washington Post sites.

Only Metro with its incessant track work weekends is slower than the CWG site. Apparently they are closing big chunks of the Red and other lines again this weekend.

As for Snoverkill, it was an interesting storm somewhat like the more recent Chicago blizzard. Don't think there was any thundersnow in Snoverkill; there was in the preceding Snowmageddon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 9, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

IMHO, to keep posting about last winter's abundance of snow is bordering on cruelty to snowlovers considering all of the let downs we've suffered this year! Sigh....last year we were the doughnut, this year we're the hole.....may next winter will be jelly filled!!

Posted by: ftwash | February 9, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo. Try Firefox with Ad Block Plus add-on installed; the site will run faster. We shouldn't complain about things we can control...

Posted by: ViennaHokie | February 9, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@ViennaHokie--I use Firefox with current versions of Adblock Plus, Beef Taco, and Ghostery, so I'm about as "ad blocked" as I can get, but the Wash Post site still likes to wrap things up before it lets me close Firefox. I'm sure it would be a lot slower without the adblocking software. Watching what's loading before the site comes up makes me think it's related to Twitter, Google, and other things.

@Jason--thanks for looking into it.

Posted by: petworthlad | February 9, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I remember damaged cars and roof leaks. And snow freaks clamoring for more.

Posted by: mhardy1 | February 9, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

ah, yes... and i remember all the whining about cars and roof leaks and snow "freaks"... ;-)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 9, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's not just CWG, it's a lot of the comments sections here on the WaPo.

I know Celebritology loads slow for some & comments post slow. There's lots of double posts over there too. Iit's so slow people think they're comment isn't posting so they hit "Submit" again & double post when they just need to be patient & give it a minute.

I usually post something & go to another tab & surf until my post shows on any of the comments sections here on the the WaPo.

Posted by: wadejg | February 9, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

FTR, my previous post took 45-50 seconds to load & at first it didn't appear that it was loading, no little green bars for at least 30 seconds.

Seems crazy that we're getting freaked out over less than a minute, but that's what I just timed, 45-50 seconds for the post to show up.

Posted by: wadejg | February 9, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I remember standing on an extension ladder, drilling holes in the house eaves in an attempt to drain out water collecting there due to ice dams. The exterior walls are brick and block, and the water was running through the blocks and into the basement!

On the other hand, the six foot+ wall of ice hanging off one end of the gutter was very impressive.

Posted by: magicdomino | February 9, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

My baby boy was born in the most historic winter in Washington DC. His dad is from a tropical place and we did fine (whew!)(especially considering he was late then I had an emergency c-section). We were overjoyed with his birth and probably will continue to tell him the story of the snowiest winter in history for the rest of his life...

Posted by: MeNU2 | February 9, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I should add that it took 45 minutes to get a cab even in Adam's Morgan, and we should have taken a photo of one very pregnant woman trying to walk in the blizzard. Looking back, I'm so glad we made it to the hospital. I think the snow was handled much better last year than this year, when many fewer inches led to total shutdown of the city and gridlock that stopped even the President's motorcade.

Posted by: MeNU2 | February 9, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Who am I kidding, there was nothing good about this storm! You snow lovers can't even tell me you liked getting a foot of snow on top of 2 feet we already had. Is 2 feet of snow not enough for you????

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 9, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

After 32 inches in the weekend storm I finally decided on 13" for this one, but how one could really accurately measure depth I don't know. I'd never seen such dramatic wind driven snow in all my years in this area. For a while during the morning all the doors to the house were completely blocked from the drifting snow. Thankfully we had nowhere to be and just sat back and enjoyed (with power the whole time)

Posted by: MDDem2 | February 9, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

A mindboggling boring video I made about Snoverkill at Route 7 at Tysons. Don't watch if you are prone to narcolepsy

Posted by: agunn3 | February 9, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Getting misty eyed reading this. Last year's winter was genuinely historic. Never in my life living in the DC area have ever seen this type of winter before. And doubt while hopeful will ever see it again. Hail to Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, & Snoverkill. You 3 will always remain in my heart and memories forever.

Posted by: RedCherokee | February 9, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"You snow lovers can't even tell me you liked getting a foot of snow on top of 2 feet we already had. Is 2 feet of snow not enough for you???? "

Hence, "snow freaks." Six or eight inches of snow is great. That should be enough to please anybody.

(That's what she said!)

Posted by: mhardy1 | February 9, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I proposed to my wife during Snoverkill - I figured, if we could deal with being locked in an apartment for a week, we could deal with anything. We've been married for three months, as of this coming Saturday.

Posted by: JP77 | February 9, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The definition in the post's back-link refers to 'Blizzard Warning' criteria... which for unknown reasons are not the same as the definition of a blizzard.

The difference is the visibility criterion.
Warning: 1/4 mile or less
Blizzard: less than 1/4 mile

If you could...pls post the METARs to support your claim this storm was a 'true blizzard.'

Good luck!

Posted by: NEWxSFC | February 9, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it was fun in an Oregon-Trail-pioneers sort of way--at least my place had electricity throughout--but it took me till April to work off all the emergency leave I had to take because Metro couldn't get Shady Grove shoveled out. Sure wish I'd lived then where I live now.

Posted by: angelicat | February 9, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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