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Snow: Where do we stand at the end of February?

Matt Ross @ 2:15 PM

Through midnight last night or the end of February, DCA (Reagan National Airport) has recorded 11.7" for the winter so far, IAD (Dulles Airport)-16.1", and BWI-16.6". Even if DCA was to receive no more accumulating snow for the rest of the winter, while it would fall short of the 15.5" 30-year average, it would end up very close to the 30-year median of 12.1".

Because DCA is near sea level and on the Potomac River in a non-residential "heat island", I believe it is already a poor measuring station with respect to being representative of the surrounding area. This is particularly true in "warm" snow seasons such as this one where rain/snow line and "stickability" issues are a big factor. Consequently, most folks inside the beltway have recorded 12"-18" so far this winter.

One element that has hurt our snow potential so far this season is the daytime factor, which was most evident during these last two snowfalls. In fact, in all of our six moderate snow events this year, the snow has fallen mostly during the day. During late season daytime snows, you need very cold air(mid 20's) and/or very heavy snowfall rates in order to combat the sun angle and the warm ground. Temperatures in the low 30's and fluctuating snowfall rates hampered our ability to get better accumulations in both storms. However, we realized much of the potential after the sun set. I believe we will see a couple more snow opportunities over the next few weeks before our wintry pattern breaks for good. If you are a snow lover, you just might want to root for it to snow after dark.

Pictured Above: The snow accumulates nicely after dark in Sterling last night Courtesy of Brett Roberts.

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