How bad is it for Washington-area snow lovers this winter? It’s now been an entire year since one measly inch of snow fell. The prospects for more snowfall this winter aren’t great, although March may offer the season’s best chance for a bit of accumulation before spring takes over for good.
It was last year on Feb. 20 when Reagan National Airport — Washington’s official weather observation location — last recorded at least an inch of snow. It was 2.6 inches that fell that morning, actually, pushing the season’s snowfall over 16 inches, slightly above the average of 15.4 inches. Since then, just 0.9 inches of snow has fallen: 0.3 inches in March and 0.6 inches this entire winter to date.
This year’s paltry snowfall output is about 12.5 inches below the normal season-to-date and ranks as the fifth least on record.
Numerous locations well south of Washington have received more snow, including Huntsville, Ala.; El Paso; Nashville; Greenville, S.C., and Richmond. Thanks to the storm passing to Washington’s south Thursday, we will probably be able to add most of North Carolina and southeast Virginia to this growing list.
No snow has fallen this month, and if none falls over the next nine days, it will mark only the second snowless February on record in Washington. The other was in 1977.
The lack of even a trace of snow since Jan. 19 is unprecedented in both Washington’s and Baltimore’s weather records.
If no more snow falls this winter, the total of 0.6 inches would stand as third least on record, trailing only the winters of 1972-1973 and 1997-1998, when just 0.1 inches fell.
What comes next?
During the next week, snow prospects are slim to none. Temperatures are expected to average above normal, and the storm system coming through early next week is likely to be a rainmaker.
However, toward the end of February and early March, the weather pattern is predicted to become slightly cooler than normal. This might increase the potential for some snowfall in the first half of March.
“It looks like the first half of March could occasionally run colder than normal, so there could be some [snow] chances in the first half,” said Matt Rogers, Capital Weather Gang’s long-range forecasting specialist. “We’ve got maybe three more weeks to sneak something in.”
Rogers said the weather pattern by the second half of March will probably turn more hostile to snow chances.
Washington averages 1.3 inches of snow in March, and five of the past eight years have seen above-normal amounts that month, so history does offer some hope for snow enthusiasts.
The National Weather Service notes that since the late 1800s, March has been the snowiest month of the winter in Washington during 25 of those years.
Ian Livingston contributed to this report.