The Washington Post

Great Falls: What a difference a week makes

From frosty falls to flooded falls in a little over a week’s time. The top photo was taken January 24, 2013 and the bottom photo was taken February 2, 2013. A larger version of the photo comparison can be viewed here. A video comparison is included below. (Kevin Ambrose)

My car’s thermometer read 16 degrees when I pulled into the lower parking lot at Great Falls early on Saturday morning. The main parking lot was blocked by a large, fallen tree from the recent wind storm.

From the lower parking lot, I could hear the roar of the falls. The deluge that occurred on January 30 had transformed Great Falls from a scenic, snow-coated waterfall into a muddy, torrent of water.

Read below for a video comparison of Great Falls.

The Potomac River appears to steam at Great Falls. Recent heavy rain had flooded the river and many area streams. This video was taken on February 2, 2013. (Kevin Ambrose)

As I approached one of the overlooks to Great Falls, I noticed that the river appeared to steam. Water vapor from the rushing Potomac River condensed into small clouds that rose above the river’s surface then quickly dissipated in the dry, morning air.

As I photographed, the sun rose brightly in the eastern sky which produced good light on the falls. I shot a few still photos and several videos of the flooded falls, then I departed.

The temperature on my car’s thermometer was still16 degrees when I drove away from the park. I noticed high-level clouds increasing in the western sky in advance of the next clipper storm system. Great Falls would soon be frosted by light snow again, but this time, the snow would occur with slowly receding flood waters.

Stray snowflakes and bright sunshine occur at Great Falls on January 24, 2013. (Kevin Ambrose)

The tree that fell during the windstorm last week which blocked the road to the Great Falls’ main parking lot and vistors center. (Kevin Ambrose)


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