As storms approach D.C., a look back at a year of weather

As residents in the D.C. area prepare for what could be severe weather later Thursday, here is a look at a few memorable weather events of the past year.

Derecho | Behind D.C.’s destructive thunderstorm outbreak | June 29, 2012

Between 9:30 and 11 p.m. Friday night, one of the most destructive complexes of thunderstorms in memory swept through the entire D.C. area. Packing wind gusts of 60-80 mph, the storm produced extensive damage, downing hundreds of trees, and leaving more than 1 million area-residents without power. ¶ Racing along at speeds over 60 mph, the bowing line of thunderstorms formed west of Chicago around 11 a.m. and by midnight approached the Atlantic ocean. It left a massive trail of destruction spanning from northern Illinois to the Delmarva Peninsula. The National Weather Service has logged well over 800 reports of damaging winds. . . Derechos are most common in the Midwest and Great Lakes between May and July. The National Weather Service indicates they occur about once every four years in the D.C. area.

Jason Samenow

For more on whether storms this week could form a derecho, continue reading here.

Heat wave | Hottest on record in D.C., hotter than 1930 | June 28-July 8, 2012

The average high from June 28 through July 8, 2012 was an astounding 99.5 degrees, besting 1930’s most brutal 11-day stretch (the first big heat wave was 12 days long with a 95 to start) by 0.5 degrees. ¶ When considering the average temperature (incorporating low temperatures as well as highs) for these segments of both years, 2012’s lead grows due to warmer overnight temperatures. 2012 finished with an average temperature of 88.0 degrees compared to 1930’s 87.0 over the 11 days.

Ian Livingston and Jason Samenow

Hurricane Sandy | Powerful storm devastates New York, New Jersey | October 29, 2012

The devastating storm’s torrential rains and howling winds left behind floodwaters from Lower Manhattan to Atlantic City, N.J., while firefighters continued to battle a still-smoldering fire that consumed scores of homes in a waterfront neighborhood in Queens. ¶ Mighty New York City was largely paralyzed, its pivotal subway system flooded and numerous bridges and tunnels shut down. Wall Street’s financial markets were shuttered for a second day — the longest weather-related closure in 124 years — while authorities warned that it would be days, if not weeks, before the city returned to normal.

Dan Eggen and William Branigin

Late snowfall | Spring snow leads to slick morning commute, closed roads | March 25. 2013

The snow-slicked landscape was more reminiscent of midwinter than early spring, and it caught many residents by surprise after previous predictions of heavy snowfall this winter failed to materialize. But the widespread power outages that accompanied past storms were not a problem in the region Monday, with only scattered outages reported. . . The unseasonable weather was causing problems on roadways. Wet roads combined with low visibility made for a slow, potentially dangerous morning commute, and drivers were urged to use caution.

Maggie Fazeli Fard and Ashley Halsey III

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
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