The snowstorm of February 11-12, 2006
It's been five years since the snowstorm of February 11-12, 2006 dumped 8 to 32" of snow across a heavily populated swath from Northern Virginia through eastern Massachusetts. In the immediate Washington area, snowfall depths ranged from 8 to 17", with increased amounts to our north and much less snow in central Virginia and southern Maryland. Near Columbia, Maryland, 21" of snow was reported.
The storm achieved blizzard status in New York and New England as it rapidly intensified (bombed) to our east and moved up the East Coast. The low pressure became so deep that an eye formed and became visible on satellite images.
Read below to see the snowfall plot from the storm, the satellite image showing the storm's eye, and our local radar loop -- plus more snow photos.
Our blog, known as CapitalWeather.com in 2006, gave close coverage to the impending snowstorm. Here's an excerpt of the forecast from a post at 12am on February 11, from Jason Samenow:
Confidence is high that snow will gradually overspread the DC metro area today and accumulate at least 5 inches by the time the storm is over Sunday morning. A Heavy Snow Warning is in effect for the entire area. This storm will likely produce the heaviest snowfall since February of 2003.
Later in the morning, at 11am, the forecast was updated:
CapitalWeather.com is upgrading metro area accumulations very slightly to 6-9" due to the likelihood of heavy snow during the overnight hours. Snowfall rates exceeding 1"/hour are possible after dark, and could persist through the early morning hours, particularly east of town. Isolated thundersnow is possible.
What are other forecasters saying? Most forecasters are in the same ballpark forecasting this storm, although there is range of 3-14" among all forecasts.
During the morning of February 11, scattered rain and wet snow showers fell across the area and the radar looked exceptionally void of heavy precipitation. A few comments on our Capital Weather blog declared a busted forecast. Computer models, however, continued to show heavy snow developing across the area during the nighttime hours and most meteorologists held to their original forecasts. By late afternoon, the radar began to blossom with precipitation echos and moderate snow began to fall in the western suburbs. By nightfall, about 2-to-3 inches of wet snow accumulated west of Washington.
During the late evening hours, moderate-to-heavy snowfall expanded over the entire Washington area and thundersnow was reported in the heavier snow bands. Capital Weather updated its forecast at 12am on February 12:
Bands of snow will continue overnight, some heavy and with thunder. The forecast remains for total accumulations to be in the range of 6-9" by morning, but more likely towards the lower end of that range (or a bit less) in downtown DC and near the Potomac River on the south side of town.
By the morning of February 12, a heavy blanket of snow covered the Washington area. Dan Stillman, of Capital Weather, posted the following in the wake of storm that afternoon:
Yesterday was a day of nonaccumulating snow, skeptical naysayers and waffling predictions from some forecast outlets (we won't name names -- in this post, at least). But as darkness fell, the action was just getting started. Those who went to bed thinking the first winter storm of 2006 had underperformed woke up this morning to the biggest snowfall since the Blizzard of 2003.
(See also Jason's post-storm assessment)
The heaviest snow was to the northeast of Washington, with New York City setting their all-time snowfall record of 26.9" at Central Park, breaking the previous record of 26.4" that fell on December 26, 1947. The storm was confined close to the I-95 corridor, with far western areas missing the brunt of the storm. In Albany, New York, only an inch of snow fell during the storm. As a result, the 2005-06 winter season ended with New York City receiving more snow than Albany in a given winter for the first time since records began. At Reagan National Airport, 8.8" of snow fell during the storm and 13.6" of snow fell during the entire 2005-06 season, which is slightly lower than their seasonal average of 15.6".
As the storm occurred over a Saturday night, its impact on commuting, schools, and businesses was minimized.
Do you have any stories or memories from the Snowstorm of 2006?
Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 14, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Langway4Eva | February 14, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bbirnbau | February 14, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 14, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bbirnbau | February 14, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AdmiralX | February 14, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hokie_Ryan | February 14, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: RedCherokee | February 14, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dcgrossman | February 14, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 14, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nixonin08 | February 14, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: theblackdog | February 14, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 14, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jaybird926 | February 14, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 14, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ThinkWarm | February 14, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 14, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 14, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DOG3521 | February 14, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.