“I never eat October snowflakes. I always wait until January.”


Taste-testing October snowflakes near Fairfax, Virginia, October 29, 2011. October snowflakes are exceptionally rare in the Washington area and were last available for tasting on October 10, 1979. Photo: Kevin Ambrose

I (Kevin Ambrose) bet Lucy never tasted an October snowflake. The October snowflakes that flew fast-and-furious across the Washington area late Saturday afternoon were plump, juicy, and partially melted by the time they reached the tongue. I found they were much better tasting than any crunchy, hard-frozen January snowflake.

The snow that fell in the immediate Washington area was conversational, good for tasting, but not disruptive. Areas to the north and west of Washington, however, had significant accumulations and wide-spread power outages. Areas to the south and east of Washington experienced a cold, rainy day.

Continue reading for more local snow photos and a video of the steaming Occoquan River.


The National Cathedral with snow, October 29, 2011. Photo Ian Livingston

A playground with snow in Washington, D.C. Photo: Ian Livingston

There was a 30 minute period in Washington that the snow was able to accumulate; however, it melted almost as fast as it fell. I’d say spots ended up with a patchy 1/4” accumulation. Up at the Cathedral, there was a brief period where most of the grass (except under large trees) was snow-covered.


A snow band across Washington, D.C. about 4:15 p.m. on October 29, 2011. Source: wunderground.com

We may have flirted with the freezing mark as Washington National Airport got to 34 degrees during the heavy band but I never noticed any accumulation on streets or sidewalks. For that hour or so, it reminded of December 5, 2009, which featured a whole day of snow here but not a lot of accumulation (1.5-2” in the “hills”) and 0.2” at National Airport.


Minor snow accumulation on cars near the National Cathedral. Photo: Ian Livingston

Slushy snow accumulation on leaves in Oakton, VA. This photo was taken before the last snow band moved through the area. Photo: Kevin Ambrose

Frost crystals on leaves in Oakton, VA during the morning of October 30, 2011. Many locations across the Washington area experienced their first frost, freeze, and snow of the season, occurring within hours of one another. Photo: Kevin Ambrose

The Occoquan River steams during the late morning on October 29, 2011. Video: Kevin Ambrose

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