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Veteran's Day Update

Jason Samenow @ 10:29 AM

Happy Veteran's Day. Weather looks good today. While it will be on the cloudy side, expect mild temps this afternoon--with the high nearing 60. Tomorrow, expect a chilly rain, as a frontal wave moves through. The high will be around 50, with about an inch of rain falling between late tonight and tomorrow evening.

Today is the 17-year anniversary of the Veteran's Day snowstorm (1987). This record setting storm helped cement my interest in meteorology. The National Weather Service was calling for light snow changing to rain, with up to one inch of accumulation on grassy surfaces. Of course, the snow never changed to rain and nearly a foot of snow fell at National Airport (although only 3" fell at Dulles--one of those rare storms where less snow fell in the western suburbs). I was 11 at the time and I vividly remember the thunder, lightning and snowfall rates of 3"/hour in Falls Church. In fact, my school bus broke down on the way home and I recall having to walk the rest of the way in the deep drifts. Here's a description of the storm from the National Weather Service, Sterling's DC Winter page:
The Veteran's Day Storm will not be forgotten by many Washington travelers. Almost a foot (11.5 inches) fell at National Airport. Prince Georges County, MD was hard hit with up to 13 inches of snow falling in a short amount of time. It caught motorists off guard and stranded cars on the Capitol Beltway. There were so many cars that snow plows could not get through to open the clogged arteries. Cars littered the roadway for more than 24 hours. The event precipitated the development of the Washington Metropolitan Area Snow Plan to facilitate preparedness and response to future storms.

This storm struck before the days of lightning detection networks and Doppler weather radar. When thunderstorms began dumping heavy snow over the Fredericksburg VA, forecasters had no idea. The storm moved northeast across the southern Metropolitan area (Prince Georges County). It was not until the fast accumulating snow hit Camp Springs, where at the time the Weather Forecast Office was located, did forecasters realize what was happening.
See also's post about the storm.

In tomorrow's post, I'll include the full weekend outlook along with sports and event forecasts.

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