Andrew Freedman's Column will return next week....
As we approach our 4 year anniversary as a blog-style site (in early February 2008), I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the most memorable weather, commentary and coverage since we got it all started...
Greatest Drought: October, 2007.
Areas of morning rain, then cloudy. High near 50.Tonight:
Partly cloudy, lows near 40.Monday:
Partly sunny and mild. Highs 60-65.
No precipitation fell for a record 34-straight days at Reagan National, ending October 19 this past year. The drought was accompanied by much above average temperatures and the month of October ended as the warmest on record. Throughout the dry spell, CapitalWeather.com featured a drought tracker which documented the rainfall deficit and number of days without rain.Greatest Ice Storm: February 13-14, 2007.
Three to four inches of sleet fell in a storm that was very tricky to forecast. The storm brought record traffic to CapitalWeather.com with more than 30,000 page views on 2/14. A couple thousand comments came in, including about 500 between midnight and 6am on 2/14. CapitalWeather.com forecasters were interviewed on Washington Post Radio and CapitalWeather.com's Lead Meteorologist Dan Stillman hosted a Washingtonpost.com online chat. You can look back at all the coverage and comments using this archive link
.Greatest Controversy: CapitalWeather.com's Andrew Freedman's column on climate change and TV meteorologists, December 2006.
When Sunday "Undercast" columnist Andrew Freedman argued
TV weather broadcasters should be required to read
the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) position paper on climate change (that argued much of it is likely human-caused), he had no idea he was about to ignite a national controversy. The Weather Channel's Climate Expert Heidi Cullen quoted his column and took his argument a step further in a weather.com blog post
. She wrote:
If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval.
This statement provoked the ire of some broadcast meteorologists, climate change skeptics, right-leaning web sites and even some politicians who argued Cullen was attempting to muzzle alternative climate change perspectives and stymie freedom of speech. She responded by saying she welcomed discussion of different ideas about climate change and was simply encouraging greater understanding and awareness. Greatest Flood: June 24-27, 2006.
Reagan National received its second highest daily rainfall total in history on 6/25 when more than 7 inches fell. The airport received over 13 inches rain in the 4-day period and the month ended as the wettest June on record. Mudslides closed parts of the beltway, some metro stations were flooded, and a State of Emergency was declared in Washington, DC. See the archive for the week of 6/25
for CapitalWeather.com's coverage.Greatest Snowstorm: February 11 and 12, 2006.
For snow lovers, the winters since CapitalWeather.com launched in February, 2004 have been pretty lame. Every single winter has received less than average snowfall. The snowiest winter occurred in 05-06, when 13.6" accumulated at Reagan National, still about 2" below the long-term average. But we did get one "big one" that winter, when 6-16" fell across the metro area February 11 and 12. The storm started slow with a mix of light rain and light snow during the day on February 11, but ended with a blast as heavy snow was accompanied by thunder and lightning overnight. The impact of the storm was minimized since it occurred mostly late on a Saturday night, giving road crews all-day Sunday to clean-up in time for the work week and back to school. Relive the storm by visiting our archives for the week of 2/12/06
(scroll to the bottom ) and 2/5/06
(at the top).Worst National Tragedy (or Greatest Government Failure): Katrina, late August 2005.
CapitalWeather.com was one of the early blogs to sound the alarm about Hurricane Katrina when the storm first emerged as a threat to hit New Orleans. Two days before Katrina hit, I wrote
"if New Orleans gets a direct hit from a Category 4 or higher storm (and Katrina may reach these levels), the potential is there for one of the worst weather catastrophes or catastrophes of any sort on U.S. soil in decades." CapitalWeather.com's continuing coverage of Katrina
included in-depth discussions of its impacts (including perspectives from guest experts), the response effort and policy implications.Greatest Photo: Washington Monument Struck By Lightning, July 1, 2005.
Read about how CapitalWeather.com photographer Kevin Ambrose captured this incredible image here
.Greatest Forecast Disappointment: February 28, 2005.
CapitalWeather.com called for 6-10" of snow, and about half that much actually fell
. In areas downtown, most of the snow that did fall didn't stick. When it became clear the storm was going to be a dud, snow lovers started to vent their frustration in the comment area. Some of the comments got so nasty that it triggered an editorial from yours truly: "Emotions run high during storm...my editorial response
" One commenter (alias "Rocker") went so far over the line that his posting privileges were suspended. Just one of his comments: "What I read here was the most alarmist/wishful-thinking b.s. anywhere..." Ouch. Longest Post: This one.
But seriously, I'd couldn't end this post without taking a moment to thank all of our readers and importantly, our regular commenters (Mike from the Blue Ridge, JTF, GV, gfp, Greg, Nadir, Havoc, ~sg, Jim from Blacksburg, Sara in Oakton, and yes "El Bombo" and even chemtrail Ken -- to name just a few off the top of my head), who have truly turned this site into a special community. Most of all, huge thanks are in order to the entire CapitalWeather.com team who have helped make this site what is today for zero pay -- all as dedicated, enthusiastic and exceptionally talented volunteer contributors. When we launched in 2004, I would have had no idea that we'd be where we are now or where we're about to go...