A truck treats Route 197 as snow falls in Bowie, Md., on March 21, 2018. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Capital Weather Gang meteorologists and readers agree, along with everyone else it seems: Get the shovels ready.

More than 700 CWG readers entered our snowfall prediction contest for how much snow will fall at Reagan National Airport this winter. The average forecast was for 26 inches (median forecast was 25 inches), a whopping 10 inches more than the 1981 to 2010 average snowfall of 15.4 inches.

Reader snow forecasts were substantially more aggressive than the prediction posted in CWG’s winter outlook for around 18 inches at Reagan National Airport. In fact, more than 80 percent of readers predicted at least that much.


(Capital Weather Gang)

Of the 731 participants in the contest, here is how the predictions were distributed:

  • Less than 8 inches: 1.5 percent
  • 8 to 18 inches: 16 percent
  • 18 to 30 inches: 50 percent
  • 30 to 44 inches: 26.5 percent
  • 44 to 60 inches: 5 percent
  • More than 60 inches: 1 percent

While CWG’s official winter outlook, led by seasonal forecasting specialist Matt Ross, called for 16 to 20 inches at Reagan National Airport, individual predictions among its members vary. Of the 22 CWG contributors I queried, the average forecast was 23.5 inches.

Here are the numbers:

Forecaster Amount (in inches)
Kevin Ambrose 21.5
Matthew Cappucci     18.4
Blaine Friedlander     19.4
Angela Fritz     17
Justin Grieser     29.8
Rick Grow     24.3
Jeff Halverson     42
John Hopewell 17.5
Brian Jackson     27.4
Wes Junker     18.7
Phil Klotzbach     23
Ian  Livingston     15.5
Brian McNoldy     23.1
Bryan Norcross     30
Greg Porter     21.7
Matt Rogers     40
Matt Ross     17.4
Jason Samenow     25.1
Dan Stillman     16.9
David Streit     24.4
Jordan Tessler     16.6
Camden Walker     28.3

In earlier posts, we summarized winter outlooks from other meteorologists from television stations and private companies. For the sake of comparison, here are what their predictions were:

TV stations

  • NBC4: 25 to 35 inches. (Doug Kammerer, NBC4′s chief meteorologist, tweeted his specific number for Reagan National is 31.2 inches.)
  • FOX5: 18 to 28 inches.
  • ABC7: 15 to 20 inches.
  • WUSA9: 20 to 30 inches.

Forecast companies

  • WeatherBell (Joe Bastardi): 25 inches
  • The Weather Company (Todd Crawford): 23 inches
  • Perspecta Weather (Paul Dorian): 25 inches
  • AccuWeather (Paul Pastelok): 30 inches
  • Commodity Weather Group: 23 inches
  • Atmospheric and Environmental Research (Judah Cohen): 21 inches (new addition)

Averaging these forecasts from TV stations and forecast companies, I get 24.3 inches — which is very close to the average from both CWG readers (26 inches) and contributors (23.5 inches)

Note that not a single meteorologist or company that I’ve encountered is predicting below average snowfall in the Washington region. This year, either everyone is going to be correct or this will reveal an epic failure in groupthink.