The Washington Post

The miserable state of affairs for D.C. snow lovers in one chart


(Ian Livingston)

On balance, the last 30 winters in Washington, D.C. have not been kind to snow lovers. Sure, we had the epic Snowmageddon winter of 2009-2010, the blizzard of 1996, the President’s Day storm of 2003, and back-to-back major snows in 1987. But setting aside those four “outlier” winters (and the modestly productive winter of 1987-1988), “pathetic” best sums up D.C.’s snow output.

For snow lovers, three of the five “worst” winters (all with less than 4″ of snow)  in the last 30 have occurred in the last six. And yes, each and every day we extend D.C.’s longest drought without a 2″ snowstorm on record (dating back to the late 1800s).

The average snowfall over the last 30 years has been 14″, but that is heavily skewed by the four big outlier winters. The median snowfall is a better indicator of what’s been the norm, and that’s a lowly 10 inches.

The last 30 years mark somewhat of a snow depression for the area. Interestingly, if you examine D.C.’s 125 years of snowfall records, dating back to 1889, the long-term average is 18″, with a median of 15″.

Related: D.C. long-term snowfall still in decline

And, our outlook for the coming winter makes it known we don’t expect this year to be one to break us out of the funk.

Related: Contest: How much snow will fall this winter in Washington, D.C.?

Addendum:

If you live northwest of the District, the snow situation is only somewhat less woeful…

Here’s the chart for Dulles Airport:


(Ian Livingston)
Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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At a Glance

Sat.

partlycloudyday
-- /24°
Drop 60%

Sun.

partlycloudyday
11° /24°

Mon.

sleet_rain
19° /31°
Drop 90%

Tue.

snow
32° /48°
Drop 70%

Wed.

partlycloudyday
32° /46°

Thu.

sunny_clear
27° /39°
National Airport
Dulles
BWI

Right Now

Washington, D.C., Snow Tracker

Current Snow Total
18.8"
Record Most Snow
(2009-10)
56.1"
Record Least Snow
(1997-98, 1972-73)
0.1"
Last Winter's Snow Total
18.3"

D.C. Area Almanac

 
National
Dulles
BWI
Avg. High
 
Avg. Low
 
Rec. High
 
Rec. Low
 
Sunrise
 
Sunset
°F
 
 
°C

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