The Washington Post

Three year anniversary: Snowpocalypse of December 18-19, 2009

Weather map three years ago today showing the Snowpocalypse storm off the East Coast dumping snow on Washington, D.C. and the Northeast. (

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.

Deep snows in Centreville, Va. from December 18-19, 2009 “Snowpocalypse” snowstorm. (Kathryn Prociv)

Centreville, VA (pictured above) picked up a whopping 23”! [You can see more unofficial snow total reports from the Baltimore/Washington NWS here.]

Jason wrote [one year] and [two year] anniversary pieces on this storm, and now I’m taking a crack at remembering the record-breaking storm on its three year anniversary.

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 track of the Snowpocalypse low pressure center (NOAA)

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...


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