By now, this winter has established its identity. It has been cold, windy and icy, and it has been cloudy, gloomy and persistently gray.
Grayness often symbolizes the dull and undramatic. But this winter, in the constancy of their daily presence, Washington’s gray skies have achieved a degree of distinction.
This emerges from the records of the National Weather Service, which tracks, among other things, the amount of daily cloud cover.
Saturday’s skies scored an eight out of 10 for cloud cover. Sunday did even better in the gray area, coming in at nine out of 10.
Fairness requires a footnote here. For about four hours late Saturday and early Sunday, the Weather Service reported that Washington’s skies were clear--and fair. But they soon were clouded over again, remaining overcast almost without interruption from well before sunrise into the early evening.
This seemed unsurprising. All but one of the days this month have been considerably more cloudy than clear. The exception was Friday, which the Weather Service scored as a draw, giving it a 5, as half-cloudy and half-clear.
February has followed January in its tilt toward the cloudy. The Weather Service rated the skies on only five of January’s 31 days as being fair. It termed 14 days partly cloudy and the remaining 12 as just plain cloudy.
In addition to their enduringly gray coloration, Washington’s skies produced some drama on both weekend days. Snowflakes whirled across the area on both days. A trace of snow was recorded at Reagan National Airport on Saturday, and as on Sunday, the snow amounted to one tenth of an inch, the smallest quantity on the snow scale. .
However, observers in the area sent the Weather Service reports of as much as a third of an inch in the District. Last month, the snowfall amounted to 6.6 inches, which is above normal. The total amount of snow that has fallen in February was the tenth of an inch that fell on Sunday.
However, a record amount of rain fell Feb. 3. A high temperature of 50 degrees helped keep the day’s precipitation from falling as snow. Otherwise, the 1.48 inches of rain could have fallen as more than a foot of snow, adding to this season’s wintry distinctiveness.