Today marks the anniversary of Snowmageddon, one of the Washington area’s all-time great snowstorms.
The blockbuster storm dumped 17.8 inches on Washington on Feb. 5-6, 2010, its fourth-biggest snow event on record. It was later matched by the Jan. 22-23, 2016, blizzard dubbed Snowzilla.
Snowmageddon was Dulles Airport’s greatest snow event on record, depositing 32.4 inches.
The storm had an enormous impact on the region, shutting it down for days. The weight of the snow cut power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses. Stores were wiped clean of basic supplies in the lead-up, and then the government and schools closed for days after the storm.
Five days after it hit, a second blizzard (Snoverkill) crippled the region. Together with a record-setting December snowstorm (Snowpocalypse), these giant snowstorms helped make the winter of 2009-2010 the snowiest on record in Washington with 56.1 inches.
Below are some of my favorite and most significant visuals from Snowmageddon, which help tell its story.
The accumulated snowfall — measured in feet
The storm unloaded 16 to 35 inches or about a foot and a half to three feet of snow across the region — an astronomical amount. The real estate covered by at least 20 to 30 inches is remarkable.
The forecast was good, and the storm earned a fitting name
We predicted a broad swath of 16 to 26 inches, which was a good call, even if a few spots boomed into the 30-inch range. Capital Weather Gang readers were responsible for naming the storm Snowmageddon, a moniker that went viral and was even referenced by then-President Barack Obama.
So much moisture
The national radar the day before the storm arrived showed its massive footprint. Fueled by subtropical moisture from the tropical Pacific (it was an El Niño year) and Gulf of Mexico, it was simply an enormous storm.
The radar was a thing of beauty for snow lovers
Like an Energizer bunny, the snow kept going and going and going, falling for about 30 hours. Dulles International Airport reported heavy snow for every observation from 6 p.m. Feb. 5 until 8 a.m. Feb. 6.
Frosty white from space
From space, satellite imagery showed Washington covered in white. For Mid-Atlantic snow lovers, there was extra satisfaction in the snow cutting off from New York City to the north. Washington got a great storm while Boston was shut out.
A shark of a storm
Longtime Capital Weather Gang reader Walter-in-Falls-Church (Walter Crain) created a masterpiece shark snow sculpture.
The Capitol in snow
The Mall in snow
Buried under two feet in Oakton
A beautiful short film of the storm