What did Washington D.C. look like three years ago? For the most part, it looked much the same as today except for one small matter: D.C. was buried under 16 to 24 inches of freshly fallen snow.
Today marks the three year anniversary of the historic “Snowpocalypse”, Washington, D.C.’s largest December snowstorm on record.
Reagan National received 16.4 inches and Dulles International 18 inches.
Centreville, VA (pictured above) picked up a whopping 23”! [You can see more unofficial snow total reports from the Baltimore/Washington NWS here.]
Rewinding to a few days before the actual storm hit I was amidst finals week at Virginia Tech. In between exams, I monitored the evolution of this storm in the models and knew something big was on the horizon.
I alerted friends early in the week that the earlier they could get out of Blacksburg the better because if the models were right, traveling home, especially on the high-traffic interstates like I-81 or I-64, would be a nightmare.
While many students, including myself, got out of Blacksburg in time, one kink in the chain prevented many others from leaving: fall commencement scheduled for that Friday, the 18th. Needless to say there were a lot of stranded Hokies in Blacksburg that weekend, which received 14.4” of snow.
Luckily I made it up to northern Virginia just in time to experience “Snowpocalypse” for myself.
The storm was remarkable as all of the ingredients for a big snowstorm in the region came together. The jet stream dipped far enough south to provide cold arctic air to support snow rather than rain, and the strong low pressure system took a classic Miller A track; this is a fancy way of saying the low pressure system that originated in the Gulf of Mexico stormed up the East Coast tapping juicy Gulf and Atlantic moisture along the way while passing far enough to the south and east for cold air to remain entrenched over the region
When the moisture-loaded system collided with the cold arctic air the result was 16-24” of fresh white snow, and what remains the most impressive December snowstorm on record for the Washington D.C. area.
Share your memories of the storm below...