From the ABC 7 Weather team

Remembering the blizzard of 1983

February 12, 2011 - 09:44 AM
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Who can forget the major back-to-back blizzards that struck the nation's capital a year ago, when we were up to our eyeballs with a total of 37 inches of snow from both storms (Feb 5 to 6 and 9 to 10). But you have to dig farther back into your memory to recall the Blizzard of 1983.

The two-day storm ended on this day 28 years ago with the second greatest snowfall ever for Washington, D.C. A total of 17 inches fell at Reagan National Airport, 22.8 inches blanketed Baltimore while northern Virginia recorded 30 inches of snow and Hagerstown, Md., with 25 inches. This storm produced 16.4 inches on Feb. 11 at Reagan National, ranking it as the second greatest 24-hour snowfall ever. The 22.5 inches that blanketed Dulles International on Feb. 11 made it the most snow ever for a 24-hour period.

Making matters worse, gusty winds caused mega drifts of up to five feet of snow in spots. It cost Virginia $9 million to clear roads afterward.

The storm set records outside of D.C., too. Lynchburg, Va., had 14.6 inches in 24 hours, setting its one-day snowfall record. Richmond was crippled with 18.6 inches. It went up the I-95 corridor, producing 20 to 30 inches in Philadelphia and New York City's western suburbs. Farther north, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and Boston got 10 to 20 inches of snow.

The storm had such a large impact on the mid-Atlantic and Northeast major cities that it was ranked tenth on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS). Specifically, it was given a NESIS value of 6.25 on a scale of 1 to 10, which is considered a "crippling" snow.

This year, our winter started out cold and snowy, but there's now a transition to above-average temperatures taking place. Highs in the 40s today will warm into the 50s Sunday and Monday. A brief cool shot will follow Tuesday before a notable break from cabin fever occurs by the middle and latter part of next week when temperature skyrocket into the lower 60s.

Have a great weekend and stay safe!

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