Most Read: Local

Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 10/03/2011

D.C.’s weird weather: record cold, mountain snow and rainbows

Snow accumulates at Big Meadows, Va. at Shenandoah National Park Monday morning. (elevation 3500 feet) (National Park Service)
The last 24 hours in Washington, D.C. and mid-Atlantic have been far from the ordinary. The region’s experienced an odd mix of rain, mountain snow, record cold, and even rainbows. A big pool of cold air at high altitudes (or upper level low pressure) has stirred up all kinds of weather havoc.

Temperatures yesterday evening show a cold pool over air over the mid-Atlantic with the Northern Plains toasting. (Unisys Weather)
Amazingly, the cold air over the mid-Atlantic has been some of the coldest in the country. Temperatures in Washington, D.C. yesterday and today are 30+ degrees colder than temperatures in the upper Midwest and northern Plains.

The high of 52 at Reagan National Airport Sunday tied for the coldest maximum temperature on record for the date and Dulles’ 50 and BWI’s 51 both set records for coldest high temperature. These highs were more typical of the very tail of November.

At elevations above 2,000 feet, yes, it has been cold enough to snow as I forecast last Thursday. Many of the nearby ski resorts recorded snow including around 5” at Canaan Valley, and 9” at Snowshoe in WV. Snow also fell at Wisp in western Maryland and even in Frostburg.

Video of snow on Saturday, October 1 in Snowshoe, WV. Nine inches of snow has fallen there since Friday night.

Sometimes, with upper level low pressure systems like the present, you see breaks in the cloud cover in between spokes of energy rotating around them. Sunday morning, we experienced such a break in the District, resulting in some dramatic rainbows, beautifully phototographed by readers below...

Full rainbow over Georgetown and the Potomac Sunday morning. (Mercedes Marx)

Full rainbow over Columbia Heights Sunday morning. (Ken Rub)

By  |  12:51 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Categories:  Latest, Local Climate, Photography

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company